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February 7, 2007

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Headline News of February 7, 2007

Palestinian talks
Leaders of rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas begin talks in Mecca in a last-ditch effort to avert civil war.

Jakarta's flood-hit residents begin to return home, despite much of the city still being under water.
Austria uncovers a child pornography network involving more than 2,360 suspects in 77 countries, authorities say.


BBC news transcript with photos
Transcript in the news of February 7, 2007 

... file. Rival Palestinian groups hold crisis talks in Mecca.  Greener rules to make cars more environmentally friendly but at a cost. Emergency talks in Mexico after seven people are dead. Also in the program, the biggest sex discrimination case in American history possibly. Giant Wal-mart prepares for battle. The world's media abort the largest passenger plane. Can airbus change the a-380's image. 45C9CDA2.JPG

>> After months of in-fighting, the message is clear enough. Round-table talks in Mecca between Palestinian leaders will lead in agreement. Failure, they say, simply not an option. 

>> In the Saudi holy city of Mecca, the leaders of the rival Palestinian factions have gathered. President Mahmoud Abbas described the bloodshed of recent days as a serious setback an s reach agreement. His Fatah movement, once dominant within Palestinian politics, is now locked in a bitter power struggle with Hamas, the party of the Prime Minister, but since then there's been a stalemate, not least because Hamas and its supreme leader refuse to recognize the right of the state of Israel to exist. The leader sound determined to find a deal. 45C9CDE9.JPG

>> ( Translated ): I assure the Palestinian people that we will not leave holy Mecca until an agreement is reached. There is no other alternative. Hamas and Fatah partnership. We achieve our Palestinian goals. We must form a national unity government.

>> The violent clashes that have erupted in Gaza have at times been ferocious. Last week alone more than 20 people died in fighting, and around 100 have been killed since December. All these of fresh talks to restart a peace process that has been going nowhere. Prime minister Ehud Olmert says he will meet President Abbas and the U.S. Secretary of state, Condoleezza rice, in two weeks. But the Palestinians must first make peace among themselves before any significant progress can be made with Israel. Dominic Hughes, bbc news. 45C9CE20.JPG

>> We're going to pick up the very latest on what has taken place in those talks from our Gaza correspondent in just a few minutes' time. A round-up of other stories. The officer of two American pilots who mistakenly killed a British soldier has described the incident as a horrible accident. Matty Hull was killed. The head of the Idaho air national guard expressed sympathy but said an investigation cleared his pilots of wrongdoing. Indonesia's been plagued by floods in recent days. They are beginning to recede as you can see from pictures here, but a huge amount of filthy water still there with the threat of disease coming with it. Possibly also more rain to come, as well, and we understand now at least 50 people have died in the course of that flooding. The Brazilian President has said that rich countries should stop trying to tell Brazil how to manage its Amazon rainforest and they should start reducing their own greenhouse gas emissions. Luizinacio Lula da Silva said rich countries had already destroyed their own forests. Brazil has rejected proposals for any international control of the rainforest. This is the world's largest source of fresh water and of biodiversity. The cost of motoring across Europe could go up if proposals to tackle global warming get the green light. From 2012 there could be stricter rules on carbon dioxide emissions for all new cars. 45C9CE81.JPGThis is the European commission's request, but car manufacturers say the price of vehicles could rise. They want the proposals to be watered down.

>> Europe makes half of the world's new car fleet and is in a leading position to affect vehicle emissions, so the European commission's plan sends a powerful message, forcing carmakers to produce vehicles emitting less than 130 grams per kilometer of co2 with a target of going further.

>> We need a new fleet of cars in the European Union which will be cleaner, which will be competitive, which will be better for the European citizens.

>> Cars like the Toyota Prius would comply. They're designed with a fossil fuel engine supported by an electric motor. And new biofuels made from organic material also allow vehicles to go further. 45C9CEC2.JPG

>> Jobs will be lost. That is estimated by the commission. The cost is prohibitive. The commission's own consultant, external consultant says it will be up to $4,000 per car.

>> Manufacturers would struggle to make the luxury cars we see now. Others are going further. In California governor Schwarzenegger is forcing carmakers to cut emissions by a quarter within two years. Now it's up to the E.U. country's leaders to vote on the new proposals. A dell -- delicate balance between the environment and the economy.

>> We're investigating the effects of climate change across and around the globe. We'd love to hear from you as we do that. If you want to share your experiences with us or find out more about the stories we're looking at and programs coming up, go to, as you can see there, and we'd much appreciate your participation. Police in South Wales say a woman has been injured bir a letter bomb explosion, the thirdd incident of its kind in as many days. Nearby residents in the city of swansea have been evacuated as a precaution. Three other people were injured in attacks on monday and Tuesday in offices in or near London. The motive behind the attacks is not known. The Mexican president, Felipe Calderon, has summoned an emergency meeting of his cabinet after attacks on government 45C9CF24.JPGoffice in acapulco left several people dead. Multiple attacks were launched. This violence after president Calderon ordered 8,000 soldiers to the region to tackle drug-related crime. Duncan Kennedy reports from Mexico city.

>> Nowhere seems safe in parts of Mexico now. Even the police stations are under attack. Here in Acapulco, around eight gunmen wearing army-style clothing burst in and started shooting. Three people were killed here, two police officers and a secretary. Support units arrived later to a scene of bloodshed. The bodies of the victims taken away. At the same time, more armed gunmen were attacking a second police station near the city. Another four people were killed, this time three police officers. In both attacks the gunmen filmed their work. Seven people were shot dead in total, and the forces of law and order reeling like never before. 45C9CF64.JPG

>> We're still investigating what happened and we'll be taking all necessary precautions without hindering the investigation, of course, which is paramoment. We won't be evacuating police stations, but they'll need extra backup to enable them to carry out their duties.

>> In a third incident, yet another officer, this time a police chief, was shot dead. His vehicle sprayed with at least 100 shots. Here, as in act poe coarks members from drug cartels are suspected of carrying out the attack. Mexico's President, Felipe Calderon, has already sent nearly 8,000 army and federal police to the Acapulco area to try to break the cartel's hold. He sent more forces to other lawless regions. But in January of this year alone, there are 190 drug/gang related deaths in Mexico, a massive destruction of life aimed at controling the flow of narcotics to the united states and a government seemingly running out of answers to subdue the carnage. Duncan Kennedy, bbc news in Mexico city. 45C9CFA9.JPG

>> Now, Austrian authorities say they have cracked a major international child pornography ring involving, they say, more than 2,360 suspects from 77 countries. Really a global network here. Police called the case unprecedented in Austrian criminal history, and the interior minister said the F.B.I. was investigating about 600 suspects in the united states and that German authorities also were following leads on another 400 people. He said at least 23 of the suspects were Austrians. Well, our correspondent is on the line from Vienna. This sounds like a huge operation.

>> It seems to be enormous. The Austrian authorities say they've seized a number of computers and thousands of DVDs and disks. They say the short of child pornography material they've seized is the equivalent to four million pieces of A4 paper, so a really very large eight. We've heard from the interior minister saying that this material includes what he called the worst kind of child sexual abuse. 45C9CFEC.JPG

>> We're talking about suspects here. Any word on arrests or any further developments there?

>> There has been a number of things followed up here in Austria, but what the Austrian authorities have done is to pass on information to the authorities in other countries, including the F.B.I., As you mentioned. Now, all of this came about because last July an Austrian internet provider noticed that around eight unauthorized video files that were linked to a web site in Russia had been downloaded onto its server from London. Now, this firm then informed the Austrian authorities. They began keeping a watch on the site, and within 24 hours they recorded more than 8,000 hits on the site from computers around the world. That has led to these 2,360 suspects being investigated. 45C9D020.JPG

>> Bethany, for now, thanks very much indeed. I'm sure there will be more on that to come. Okay. Tanya is here now to tell us about the financial implication of Wal-mart's possible legal dispute here.

>> Yeah. We won't want to guess the outcomes, but I guess it could be fairly expensive, upwards of 1.5 million workers for the world's largest private employer are set to face off in court. The U.S. Retail giant wal-mart could pay billions of dollars in compensation the employees after a legal ruling in America allowed them to bring a class action lawsuit. They're accusing Wal-mart of discrimination as an employer.

>> These women are at the heart of America's biggest employment lawsuit. They claim Wal-mart discriminated against them when it came to promotions and pay. Now a san Francisco court has ruled they can proceed as a group in a class action lawsuit against the giant retailer. 45C9D05D.JPG

>> I am absolutely overjoyed. Our words are true. We are not falsely accusing wall mart we are stating the facts as they have occurred.

>> I was making half what the men made, and, you know, I was over the same men training them on their jobs.

>> For its part, Wal-mart says the claims of the six named plaintiffs simply aren't representative of the experiences of women working at Wal-mart, and it says it will seek a rehearing of the case. Legal experts say the retail giant has little choice but to fight this ruling.

>> What defendants want in these cases is a much smaller class. They want a class that's state by state or job line by job line or plant by plant, not a universal nationwide class in which the damages could threaten its solvency. 45C9D090.JPG

>> Should it ultimately lose the case, the damages could run into the billions of dollars. No other company divides opinion quite like Wal-mart which has run into trouble in the past for its labor practices. Wal-mart has been trying the clean up its image, but it's an uphill battle. The retailer still faces outstanding lawsuits across the country. BBC news, New York.

>> And staying with the U.S., Apple boss Steve jobs is buzzing in the music industry. He's called on the four largest record companies to end copyright protections for songs sold on Itunes. The reason, says jobs, is that software does not prevent piracy. In Europe jobs is already in the news facing allegations of protectionism. His music site Itunes is owned by Apple and can only be used by consumers who own Ipod music players, also made by Apple. Jobs says he will open the site up if music company drop anti-piracy technology. He's playing hardball here. 45C9D0CD.JPG

>> It seems to me not much does prevent piracy.

>> In the end, that's the difficulty. Millions of songs every day all the time every month go. So that's the difficulty, the loss to the industry. The exist loss to the industry is enormous. Very difficult to prevent.

>> On Tanya, thanks for that.

>> Stay with us on bbc world. Still to come, airbus invites the media onto the world's largest passenger jet. Will its P.R. Campaign ever get it off the ground? The European union is due to open its first-ever jobs center in Africa in the West African state of Mail. Why? It's the start of a pilot project to combat illegal immigration by offering people temporary work permits. Michael Voss reports. -The flood of illegal immigrants from Africa shows little sign of letting up. This latest group were rescued by Spanish authorities from a small boat off the Canary Islands. In a bid to stem the flow, Spanish patrol boats are now operating in Senegal ease waters, working with the local authorities to prevent overcrowded fishing boats like these from leaving in the first place. The operation is part funded by the European Union's new border agency. 45C9D126.JPG

>> ( Translated ): The situation has calmed down a bit since this operation began. The police here inform us about suspect boats. We're now able to send controls to intercept them.  

>> But the results are limited. As are the resources. Frontech has no boats or helicopters of its own, and E.U. countries appear reluctant to make any serious contribution. Now a second approach is to offer legitimate short-term work permits. The first E.U.-Africa jobs center is being opened in Mail. This pilot project will offer temporary work permits for farm laborers, construction workers and seasonal tourism jobs. It's not clear what numbers are involved. The E.U.'s justice and security commissioner, Franco fratini wants member states to set quotas for African migrants, but it's likely to meet stiff opposition for new members such as Bulgaria and Romania whose citizens face stiff controls over working elsewhere in Europe. Michael Voss, bbc news. 45C9D16E.JPG

>> You're watching bbc world. A reminder of our main story. Palestinian leaders have said crisis talks currently under way the Mecca will and must end in agreement. Well, joining me from Gaza city is the bbc's Alan Johnson. Alan, you're in Gaza city. That's very much the sharp end. What's the mood there now? Is this news filtering back to them at the moment?

>> Of course, David, there is huge attention on these talks in Mecca, a feeling that something really must be achieved. People here have been appalled by the violence at times intense in the streets around their homes and appalled, too, by the spectacle of Palestinians killing Palestinians. There's a real desire to see progress made in America camp. People will be heartened by the very positive noises coming from both camps in the hours ahead of these talks, but they've heard that before. There has been real disappointment at previous rounds of negotiations, which have failed and produced only disappointment and a deepening of the crisis. 45C9D1AE.JPG

>> But the language from Mahmoud Abbas and cal lead Michel could hardly be more determined. What are the spiferric issues they're going to deal with today?

>> The aim is to form a new governemnt of national unity that would bring Hamas and Fatah together in a coalition. So at issue is how that government will be run. Who will get which cabinet posts and the question of who controls the Interior Ministry is the particularly contentious one because that ministry runs the security services, but an even bigger issue is what sort of political platform will the new government adopt towards its policies towards Israel. Hamas under intense pressure to bend to some extent on the issue of recognizing the right of the state of Israel to exist. Without that the Western economic sanctions on the current Hamas-run government are unlikely to be lifted. 45C9D1E5.JPG

>> We'll see how they get on. Alan, for now, thanks very much. The world's largest passenger plane is preparing for landmark flight. Airbus has invited the world's media to fly aboard its new a-380, the only carrier which can boast twin decks and twin aisles. It's seen as an attempt to restore confidence in the plane which has certainly had a few problems. Tom Symonds reports from the airport.

>> Future work hoarse of the skies or a white elephant? Let's agree on one thing, the a-380 is huge.

>> And perfect airbus says for the mass cheap air travel passengers will want in the future. It had barely made its first landing at Heathrow when long delivery delays were announced, up to two years in total. Wiring problems were to blame. They've now been resolved, but some damage has been done, and today's pilots are among those trying to repair it. 45C9D221.JPG

>> It's a very comfortable airplane to fly in.

>> Does it frustrate you it will be some time before airlines start using this aircraft?

>> It's a little bit frustrating for us from the flight test side because the flight testing has gone well. And I think that's been a little bit overshadowed by the problems that there have been in terms of production.

>> But Airbus has sold 166, and airlines are now planning how the use all this space. Some will fill it with seats. Others will offer extra leg room, bars, shops even. And plenty of airlines will wait and see what passengers make of this giant of the skies before getting out their checkbooks. Tom Symonds, bbc news, Tuluse.

>> Flying high there, tom. Still to come on the program, a bacon bargain? The painting by the iconic British artist Francis bacon goes under the hammer. The size zero debate. That's the argument about how thin is too thin for catwalk models has grabbed headlines at new York fashion week. The furor has dogged the industry since the death of two anorexic Latin American models and the debate goes on. 45C9D270.JPG

>> Behind this world of glamour lies a secret that can and does kill. More and more of the world's top designers are hiring ultra-thin models for their catwalk shows, which critics say is piling more pressure on models to lose weight or lose work. As new York's fashion week gets under way, the battle to be a size zero once again takes center stage. But any hopes of following in Europe's footsteps and banning skinny models were quashed by the organizers who chose not to step into the fray.

>> We do not feel it is within our scope nor our job to tell the designers how to create their clothes, nor what type of model they think best show their collections. It would be like asking reubens to paint skinny women and new York city ballet to use bigger-sized balereenas. This is their aesthetic choice. 45C9D2A9.JPG

>> But those who counsel people with eating disorders are astounded that such an obvious opportunity has been missed.

>> I have to admit I'm disappointed. I don't understand why they're not requiring physicals or asking the modeling agencies to have physicals annually for these young women.

>> But changes are under way in Europe. Several countries are insisting that would-be models be physically examined to determine their state of health. Milan went even further. Before last month's show, the fashion houses weeded out the under 16s and banned those what body mass of less than 18.5 from taking part. Wendy Elkhart, bbc news.

>> A painting by the 20th century British artist Francis Bacon is expected to sell for a record price when it's auctioned in London tomorrow. Brian baron has more. 45C9D2E7.JPG

>> Tukd away beyond the care-free skate centers midtown Manhattan, a brooding figure awaits judgment day. It's over 40 years since this study of a pensive pope was last seen in public. Christie's brought it here to drum up interest ahead of the London auction.

>> If I had $25 to $30 million, what would I get for my money buying that?

>> You'd be getting the most important Francis Bacon to come into the open market. You'd be getting a wonderful image of a pope, one of his most iconic works.

>> At $13 million, are we all done?

>> Bacon's rising clout was evidenced at Sotheby's in New York even for one of his minor works.

>> Selling at $14.5 million. 45C9D323.JPG

>> North of New York is another measure of the new Bacon boom. We're in Milwaukee in the Midwest to see a major bacon show in one of America's new cathedrals of art, designed by Santiago Calacrava. Inside the master of 20th century angst at his darkest.

>>This Bacon show is something of a gamble. Across the Midwest, old-style values tend to prevail, whereas Francis bacon himself defied convention. He liked to shake things up and be outrageous. Over the decades he produced some of the modern era's most disquieting images.

>> What does Bacon say to the 21st century?

>> I think the first thing he says is that he has reinvented figurative painting, and he is a modern artist. He uses the figure in a way that's utterly contemporary. 45C9D365.JPG

>> All the work is from the 1950's when bacon started painting popes screaming on their thrones. Among the 20th century most famous icons.

>> Very good. Now just how much money would you spend on that? Brian Baron reporting there on Francis Bacon's work. Just to say, you can get more detail on the picture, on the story on our web site,, along with plenty more and chance also fou to have your say on any issue you like. <

* This transcription on this site is occasionally not without minor errors.



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