Transcribe your podcast
[00:00:00]

Hello, this is the global news podcast from the BBC World Service with reports and analysis from across the world. The latest news, seven days a week. BBC World Service podcasts are supported by advertising.

[00:00:13]

This is the Global News podcast from the BBC World Service.

[00:00:18]

I'm Nick Miles. And at 13 hours GMT on Wednesday, the 2nd of September, these are our main stories. The trial has begun in Paris of people accused of helping the Islamist gunmen who carried out the deadly attack on the offices of a satirical magazine in 2015. So how did those killings change France? Well, Lebanon's investigation into the massive explosion in Beirut uncover the truth or conceal it. And my intention at the time was to join the revolution, to liberate the country.

[00:00:46]

But in the end, it led to the destruction of the Cambodian country, the words of Comrade Dyker, one of the key members in the brutal Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s, who's just died also in this podcast. It's black and big, in fact, way too big. The space scientists say we stand way back and ask why and they're off.

[00:01:11]

As the sun sets, the music drifts down, as the pandemic closes concert halls, people in one English city look to the skies to enjoy an aerial performance.

[00:01:24]

Five years ago, the just Michali slogan resonated around much of the world as people showed their support for the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo following a deadly Islamist attack. In total, 17 people were killed at the magazine and at a Jewish supermarket. Charlie Hebdo was targeted after it published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

[00:01:47]

And it's republished those same cartoons to mark a major court case which got underway a couple of hours before we came into the studio.

[00:01:54]

Those on trial are accused of, among other things, providing weapons and support to the gunmen. The attack on Charlie Hebdo in particular, sparked debates on free speech and radicalization in France and further afield. Our correspondent Hugh Schofield has this reminder of what exactly happened during those deadly attacks.

[00:02:14]

Shouting We've avenged the prophet. The Kouachi brothers emerged from the office of Charlie Hebdo where they've just killed 11 people. And the getaway vehicle, the 12th, a policeman.

[00:02:26]

It's the start of a frantic two days which end when the two are cornered at a print works north of Paris and shot by police.

[00:02:36]

But in the meantime, there's been another Islamist attack, this time a Jewish supermarket with four hostages dead before their two police killed the assailant, Amedi Coulibaly, who was previously videotaped a statement of support for Islamic State.

[00:02:51]

Well, now you see evidence. Well, Summerlands was Perry's chief prosecutor. He recalled what he felt when he first saw the Charlie Hebdo office. So, you know, it was surreal.

[00:03:02]

There was this awful silence and the smell of blood and gunpowder. And the editorial room was carnage. It was no longer a crime scene. It was a war zone with bodies piled up, one on top of the other. It was frightful.

[00:03:17]

And again, the Charlie Hebdo attack here marked the start of a long, violent period. The Bataclan attacks, which changed France. Now for the first time with this trial comes a chance to tell the story and put it on record.

[00:03:32]

Who did what, who knew what, who, if anyone, gave the orders.

[00:03:36]

And shortly before we recorded this podcast, I spoke to him in Paris and asked him whether the trial was likely to tie up a lot of loose ends.

[00:03:44]

There are a lot of unanswered questions, and it's not clear that they'll all be answered, particularly the question of who was the giver of orders. We're not sure that that will ever be fully explained on trial are 14 people, three of them, who are actually in court because they went to Syria to the may be dead. So 11 people actually in court. And they are people who helped in one way or another, the Kouachi brothers and Coulibaly to do what they did, not necessarily knowing that they were planning to carry out an Islamist attack.

[00:04:13]

But people who provided logistical help with a vehicle here have some phones there. Only one person among these 11 is charged with the full count of complicity in the terror terrorist attack. That's a man called Ali is a pilot and he's clearly the most important person in this in the 11. He, it's alleged, really did know what was going to happen. And therefore, he's guilty at a higher level, allegedly, than the others who may or may not have known or guessed what the Kouachi brothers and Coulibaly were up to, but in any case, gave them some sort of help.

[00:04:47]

Because in the background, all of this is, of course, the petty criminal world of gunrunning, of drugs and so on, in which all three were familiar figures.

[00:04:57]

And who, if we look at the bigger picture now, five years on, Islamist attacks in Western nations are down as they are in France.

[00:05:03]

Where is France now? They are on the limits of freedom of speech and radicalization of minority groups in general.

[00:05:10]

You're right. I mean, the big spectacular organized attacks have stopped. I mean, we're in a long, drawn out phase of in France, you could say is of occasional attacks by, it seems, lone people who are often mentally slightly sort of off the norm because of drugs or whatever, but have sort of slipped into an Islamist mindset. That's the pattern we're in now, much more sporadic than before. On the question of free speech. Well, I mean, there's a huge debate about this, of course.

[00:05:42]

I mean, polls come out today, for example, saying that the majority of the French still support the right of Charlie Hebdo to print the caricatures in the cartoons. But those who are very fervently on the side of free speech say that this is a mirage, that, in fact, free speech is very much under attack because of self-censorship. No one dares to do what Charlie Hebdo has done. It's done it again today quite bravely, they would say.

[00:06:07]

But in general, there is a tendency to move away from anything that might be construed as provocative because of what happened, because people are afraid.

[00:06:16]

Hugh Schofield speaking to me from Paris, Lebanon, has been marking 100 years since the declaration of the state.

[00:06:25]

The anniversary comes just four weeks after an enormous blast which claimed the lives of around 190 people and destroyed much of the capital, Beirut. An official investigation has begun into that huge explosion that caused immense destruction. But there are widespread fears of a cover up, as our international correspondent Paula Gehring reports.

[00:06:49]

Four weeks after the blast in Beirut port and standing here, what is striking is the scale, the enormity of the destruction. Everywhere I look in every direction, mangled metal is soaring above me, buildings that have been shredded like paper. Just in front of me, there are mounds and mounds of documents piled high and there are mechanical diggers plowing into them, scooping them up, if there's any vital information in these documents, we'll probably never know. Now, there is an internal Lebanese investigation underway and around a dozen arrests have been made, but many here fear the truth is going to stay buried beneath the rubble.

[00:07:46]

Rita Hitti is one of them. She sits in her living room in an old stone house stroking a photograph of her son, Nageeb. The 27 year old was killed in the blast alongside his brother in law and his cousin. All three were firefighters from the Christian village of Khateeb.

[00:08:14]

I not was different than myself.

[00:08:17]

We worked hard to get them a job so they wouldn't go abroad. Our fate here as mothers is to cry at the airport or at the graves when they die. Either way, we cry. He wanted to leave. I didn't let him be killed. Millions on the street shift.

[00:08:34]

The three of them would go in one car and that day they went in my car. The car came back empty of.

[00:08:48]

Lawyers at the Beirut Bar Association are preparing a case for the bereaved families working pro bono, two of their own members were killed in the blast. The president of the association, Malcolm Halaf, says this time there must be no cover up.

[00:09:08]

And if they want a copy of that, will the investigation be the same as usual, just like the past? We will not accept that.

[00:09:20]

If I come back here in five years time, will you have found justice?

[00:09:24]

Will there be justice or will you be still waiting for the law firm Yamagami either rebuild this nation or no one child and the nation will not be built without justice. If after five years you come back and there's no justice in Lebanon, then there isn't a Lebanon.

[00:09:45]

Many took to the streets in Beirut last October calling for a new Lebanon, that demand has been amplified by the explosion. But some here warn that old habits die hard.

[00:10:02]

My name is Sarah Mafune and I am a public policy consultant and a political activist. They'll probably find a man or a woman who occupies a very small post and they'll pin it on them. They might already be dead. Or maybe they will die by suicide with four bullets in their back, which is a very common practice on this side of the world. And they will say, oh, that person committed suicide because of the heavy guilt that they carry from actually instigating this two thousand seven hundred and fifty tons of ammonium nitrate explosion.

[00:10:36]

Just one person who's now dead. I hope justice has been served, guys.

[00:10:41]

Activist Sara El-Laithy ending that report from Beirut by all Alzugaray, Cambodia's Maoist inspired Khmer Rouge, said they wanted to bring about a utopian dream a year zero that would sweep away all injustice.

[00:10:56]

Instead, they created a cruel regime that led to two million people either being killed or starving to death in the late 1970s.

[00:11:05]

One of the main leaders, a man known as Comrade Dowrick, was infamous for his part in overseeing the brutal torture of dissenters. He was finally convicted of his crimes in 2010. Now he's died in prison. Our Asia-Pacific editor Michael Brissenden reports.

[00:11:21]

With meticulous attention, Comrade Diek oversaw the Tour Sleng prison in Phnom Penh, where suspected enemies of the Khmer Rouge were tortured and murdered of more than 14000 people who entered the jail. Once a high school, only seven are known to have survived. The guards and interrogators were uneducated teenagers, specially chosen by Comrade Doig because they could be easily indoctrinated. They like blank pieces of paper, he said. At school, Commodore had been a star pupil. He went on to become a maths teacher known for his diligence before joining the Khmer Rouge, then a guerrilla movement confined to Cambodia's forests.

[00:12:00]

He ran to jungle prisons and ended up in charge of the entire jail system when the Khmer Rouge were in power for four years from 1975, when the Khmer Rouge were overthrown, Comrade Doi, like many of his former colleagues, disappeared. He was tracked down in 1999 by an Irish photographer, Nick Dunlop. The former communist had converted to Christianity and was working for an aid agency. Comrade Daiki handed himself in and was eventually found guilty of crimes against humanity to UN sponsored trial in 2010.

[00:12:31]

He was sentenced to life in prison.

[00:12:34]

At the hearing, he apologised to his victims that it was my intention at the time was to join the revolution, to liberate the country. But in the end it led to the destruction of the Cambodian country. More than one million people died. And how many survivors are still suffering?

[00:12:54]

I bear the responsibility for what I did.

[00:12:57]

But he also claimed that he was only following orders and appeared to show a strange pride in what he'd done. He once said that he'd come out of hiding partly to prove that Tour Sleng prison and Cambodia's dark past had really existed.

[00:13:12]

Michael Bristow Disney is set to release its highly anticipated live action remake of Mulan later this month. The story of a Chinese woman warrior is expected to do particularly well in China.

[00:13:25]

But there are concerns that Hollywood's increasing reliance on Chinese audiences means that there is growing self-censorship among filmmakers who may be anxious to avoid offending Beijing. That's according to Bethanie Alan Abraham Enim, a China reporter for the Axios news website who's been investigating the trend.

[00:13:46]

Claire McDonnel asked her what evidence is there of China's influence on Hollywood.

[00:13:51]

It's an open secret that you can't make certain movies. I was on the phone yesterday with people who are lawyers and consultants to studios. One of them told me, you know, if there were something negative in a film, if there were a bad guy, I would advise my clients that that film could not be made in China.

[00:14:09]

And you see plenty of examples, already publicly known films that were changed in order to satisfy China's censors. So, for example, World War Z, which was the zombie flick from a few years ago, the book of that originally had the zombie epidemic, if you will, originating in China. But in the movie, they cut out any mention of China. Red Dawn, a movie about an invasion of the US, was originally filmed to be China invading the US, but.

[00:14:44]

It was then at the very last moment, switched through CGI to North Korea. You have Dr. Strange, where there was a character, the ancient one, who was supposed to be Tibetan, but it was cast as Tilda Swinton, who is obviously not Tibetan, again, to satisfy Chinese censors who could make it into the Chinese market and make a lot of money there.

[00:15:09]

And it does it all come down to that. It's money. At the end of the day, China is this huge market and they want to sell their movies.

[00:15:17]

Exactly right. It is all about the money. The Chinese market is poised to become the largest film market in the entire world, poised to pass the US soon. Many studios are increasingly relying on the Chinese market for a lot of their profits.

[00:15:37]

And if movies aren't going to be sold there, they lose out on those millions of dollars. But it's not only that, it's not only individual films. In 1997, when the movie Seven Years in Tibet, you know, it portrayed the Tibetan people and culture as a very sympathetic cause and portrayed the tree's takeover of Tibet as something that was very bad. This ended in a five year ban on Columbia Tristar, which was the production company. So if a studio or a production company makes a movie that really makes China upset, it's not just that one movie that won't enter the market.

[00:16:20]

It could be everything they ever do in the future.

[00:16:24]

Bethanie Alan Abrahamian, a reporter for the Axios news website, speaking to Claire MacDonell.

[00:16:32]

Still to come in this edition of our podcast, it has qualities that are harmonic and it's tonal.

[00:16:37]

So it goes up and it goes down.

[00:16:40]

It creates a sound that's just very haunting and we'll find out exactly what it is and what it sounds like later on.

[00:16:50]

Five years ago, one of the most shocking images of the migrant crisis in Europe emerged. The body of the two year old Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi, was found washed up on a beach in Turkey.

[00:17:03]

He had drowned along with his mother and five year old brother in a desperate attempt to reach Greece and find safety in Europe. His death became a symbol of the suffering of migrant families and the dangers they faced. His father survived, and he's been speaking to our correspondent, Hohnen Razak.

[00:17:22]

La la, la, la, la, la la la la. Pushing his baby's pram under the strong sun of Irbil in northern Iraq. Abdullah Kurdi, the father of Aylan Kurdi, now leads a quiet life in Kurdistan. He says he will never think of reaching Europe again after his wife and two sons lost their lives trying to make the journey. He has tried to rebuild his family. He has remarried and has had another son, whose name is Alan Semitism Ireland, and some of whom are from Ireland.

[00:17:59]

I named him after his brother Alan, so I remember him. God sent me a child who looks like Ireland and has the same character. I can't wait to go home to see him. I feel that his godsend.

[00:18:12]

But the shadows of the past are still alive. Well, I love my room where it's impossible to forget what happened.

[00:18:22]

I only blame myself. But I was forced to as a father because I could picture them in a school and they wanted a better life for them. But I didn't go as I planned. I regretted Abdullah used to work as a barber in Syria.

[00:18:38]

He says he never wanted to leave his country, but the devastation of the war left him no choice.

[00:18:45]

Found at the water's edge, Aylan Kurdi died with his five year old brother and his mother, the policeman gentle in this moment of shock.

[00:18:55]

The photo of his son Alan, lying lifeless on a Turkish beach led to Europe opening its doors and hearts to refugees. Some countries began to take in more asylum seekers. Germany welcomed over one million Syrians in 2015. But that welcome didn't last for long. Abdullah says I will have to rely on him.

[00:19:19]

Right after the incident, Europe opened its heart, but three months later it closed its doors again. I don't know why. I believe the world hasn't understood the message of Alan's death yet. Nobody wants to leave the home, but refugees have no choice, and they need Europe.

[00:19:43]

Last year, a German charity named one of its rescue ships after Aylan Kurdi, a symbolic choice to remember those who lost their lives at sea while desperately trying to reach a better life in Europe.

[00:19:57]

The Aylan Kurdi ship has helped rescue almost 700 migrants in the Mediterranean waters between Libya and southern Europe. But his team says the picture has got more grim recently. Sophie Vitan Heela from the ship crew, says that recently European countries like Italy and Malta are making ships wait longer before they're allowed to dock with migrants on board.

[00:20:21]

It's not that we can't handle this financially or otherwise. As a European Union, we have the means to make a change and to help those people and take care of them. But we don't do it. We choose not to. And I think that's the most frustrating part for me in recent years.

[00:20:38]

Europe made deals with countries like Turkey and Libya to help curb the flow of migrants to the continent, measures that have helped slow down the flow of migrants but didn't stop tragedies from taking place. Hannan Razak with that report.

[00:20:55]

Scientists believe they found evidence of the collision of two black holes which formed a mass more than 140 times out of the sun, but is a discovery that challenges our understanding of black holes and has theorists scratching their heads to explain it. I asked our science correspondent, Jonathan Amos, what exactly did the researchers observe?

[00:21:15]

We have these amazing laboratories on earth now that use lasers and they hunt the cosmos for vibrations. You know, the universe itself ripples every now and then when there is a cataclysmic event. And this is two black holes way, way off in the distance bumping into each other. One was about 66 times the mass of the sun, the other 85 times the mass of the sun. And that adds up to about 152. You said it was 140, just 42, something like that.

[00:21:48]

Where's that missing mass gone? Well, you know, the equation equals MC squared. You were taught it at school. Energy equals mass times. The speed of light squared. That mass has gone into pure energy, into what we call gravitational waves. And that's what's rattled the earth and that's what the lasers have detected. But the kind of puzzle here is that one of the black holes involved is a little bit bigger than what we expect to be out there.

[00:22:13]

Black holes form the sort of end of life, stage of stars. Stars sort of get sort of drunken and wobbly towards the end of their lives and then they collapse. Certain stars do into a black hole. And it's thought that you can't actually get one about 85 times the mass of our sun. And so there needs to be a different mechanism. That's what's got the theorists thinking. And they think, well, maybe, you know, this black hole that was involved in this merger came from a previous merger.

[00:22:42]

And so what we're now thinking is that black holes merge quite regularly in space. You know, you go from one merger to another merger. It's kind of like billions, cosmic billions played out over billions of years ago.

[00:22:56]

So exciting is that it's very exciting, has got the scientists very excited as well. I imagine universities will be poring over this data for years to come.

[00:23:03]

I mean, these laboratories are the quietest places on earth. These signals that they detect, even from these cataclysmic events are very, very subtle. They're looking for deviations in their laser light. That's equivalent to less than a fraction of the width of a hydrogen atom. Just think about that for a second. Something happens seven billion light years away and we feel it on Earth, but we only feel something as subtle as that.

[00:23:31]

So it's a good thing we're a very, very long way away. Jonathan Amos, our science correspondent there in Uganda, is experiencing a boom in the birth of baby gorillas with five discovered in the past six weeks, compared with three in the whole of last year. Gorilla tourism is a major revenue earner for Uganda. Here's Catherine Bura.

[00:23:52]

Hunger, Uganda's Wildlife Authority says this year is unprecedented for gorilla births. It's not clear why there's been an uptick in March. Most of Uganda's tourism sector was shut down due to covid-19 measures. Now a small group of visitors are allowed into protected areas as new safety procedures like wearing face masks and social distancing are tried out. Poaching has also been a major worry for authorities. Catherine Byaruhanga.

[00:24:24]

Now imagine a dog that can sing and maybe even yodel. It sounds like something from a children's cartoon, maybe, but it does exist.

[00:24:32]

Elaine Ostrander is an investigator at the National Institutes of Health in the United States. She's written a paper all about this very special type of dog, and she told Claire. More about it, we're talking about the New Guinea singing dog, which is found on the island of Indonesia and was thought to have been extinct in the wild for decades, really until recent discovery of a handful of dogs on the island that we were able to get DNA from and conduct DNA studies because we have some of these dogs.

[00:25:05]

But they're in conservation areas only in zoos in captivity. So that must have been a hell of a breakthrough to discover on this island.

[00:25:11]

It really was. There are about 300 dogs that are in conservation centers around the world, but they derive from a really small number of founders', eight or nine. So they're very, very inbred. So the issue of finding them in the wild with all their wonderful genetic diversity is a really exciting opportunity in conservation biology.

[00:25:33]

So when you took the genomes from the ones you found in Indonesia and compared them to the ones we have in captivity, whether the same, they were very similar.

[00:25:42]

There was more diversity from the ones in Indonesia. Any time you have a conservation population derived from a small number of founders' as you cross them generation after generation after generation after generation, you're subsequently losing some of the diversity that exists in that DNA.

[00:26:00]

OK, well, I think it's high time we had to listen to them. Now, Elaine, that to me sounds I mean, it's melodic in parts, but it doesn't necessarily sound like yodeling. It's a kind of howl. Tell us what they're doing there with their vocal chords.

[00:26:24]

It's an interesting noise. And I can't tell you exactly what's happening with their vocal cords. I don't think it's a yodel. Truthfully, it has qualities that are harmonic and it's tonal. So it goes up and it goes down. And when you have a group of New Guinea singing dogs all vocalizing at the same time, it creates a sound that's just very haunting.

[00:26:46]

Elaine Ostrander from the US National Institutes of Health speaking to Clare MacDonald finally and still on the subject of music. We've heard a lot in recent months about the frustrations of musicians not being able to perform live during the pandemic. But in Bristol, in the south west of England, on Tuesday night, there was a socially distance concert with a difference. It was performed in the sky. John Kaye was in the audience.

[00:27:14]

Fans on Vernors ready? It's time for a huge surprise, Bristol might be world famous for ballooning, but it's never seen or heard on a cent like this.

[00:27:31]

The passengers are wearing masks and carrying instruments like Signior, a hip hop and jazz musician, tuning his guitar as he climbs into a basket, never been in a balloon.

[00:27:44]

And I'm sure this isn't the time to tell anyone. I've vertigo. I'm scared of heights, but I was never going to say no.

[00:27:50]

There will be a floating flotilla of seven balloons. Some will be carrying musicians. Others will blast out pre-recorded tracks. It's the lockdown idea of artist like Jerry.

[00:28:03]

I was thinking of a way to deliver a live musical experience to people in their homes. Really, obviously, with theaters and their concert venues, everything's sort of shut down. So I was thinking, what better way to do this than to strap speakers onto hot air balloons and fly over people's homes directly delivering music from the sky.

[00:28:23]

Several well-known Bristol artists were asked to write tracks all in the same key. So they blend together in the sky, like Adrian Utley from the band Portishead. I was intrigued by that.

[00:28:35]

I love the idea that, you know, you've got a massive amount of space with loads of different pieces of music that kind of work tonally together and the idea that you could do it in there in the sky.

[00:28:49]

And then they're off. As the sun sets, the music drifts down. What a lovely surprise to come over your house here, this not blue, and because of the way the balloons are moving, you can't quite pin down where it's coming from. There's a definite dreamlike quality to it. Composer Dan Jones says the music is deliberately gentle and thought-Provoking because it's entering people's homes without warning.

[00:29:25]

We're in unsolicited artwork and we sort of feel that we're not wanting to be apologetic, but just tread lightly. It's a musical space to reflect and think about where we are. I suppose in a way, it's a kind of musical love letter to our city as well.

[00:29:44]

That report on a very unusual live concert was by John Kerry. And that's all from us for now.

[00:29:51]

There will be an updated version of the Global News podcast later on if you want to comment on this edition or any of the topics we've covered in it. You can send us an email. The address is Global Podcast at BBC, DOT Code Watch UK. I'm Nick Miles. And until next time, goodbye. Welcome to Comedians versus the News. A brand new podcast where you guessed it, we're taking on the news. I'm Jeff Solomon. And I'm M.A. Husseini, a Jewish Palestinian Muslim lesbian, married couple.

[00:30:24]

That's right. We're basically a living, breathing current event joined by fellow international comedians. Get ready for some of the funniest, serious and wildest stories from around the world that we've heard each week.

[00:30:35]

Last month, a pub in outback Queensland has formally banned a group of Ania's citing inappropriate behaviour, laughter, energy and good time being able to open up a newspaper again without crying comedians versus the news brand new podcast from the BBC World Service. Just search for Comedians versus the News wherever you get your podcast.