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Hello, I'm Oliver Conway and this edition is published in the early hours of Sunday, the 4th of April. Claims of a coup plot in Jordan as the authorities detain the former crown prince. The German president tells the country's political leaders to get it together in the face of a third wave of coronavirus. And we have a special report from Belgium on police brutality against black people, also in the podcast.
A ceremony unlike any other as mummified pharaohs, a move to a new home in.
We start in Jordan, where the security forces have taken action to stop what some reports suggest may have been a possible coup attempt, around 20 people have been detained for what were described as security reasons. They include a former aide to King Abdullah and the former Crown Prince, Hamza bin Hussein in a video sent to the BBC. Prince Hamza denied being part of any conspiracy.
I wanted to make this reporting. So it is clear to the world that what you see here in terms of the official line is not a reflection of the realities on the ground. Unfortunately, this country has become stymied and corruption and nepotism and the misrule and the result has been the destruction or the loss of hope.
Strong words from Prince Hamza, the younger half brother of King Abdullah. The military said he'd been asked to stop any action targeting the country's security and stability. So what's going on in Jordan? I asked our Arab affairs editor, Sebastian Usher.
Well, it's still not clear what level of a security issue this is that Jordan is dealing with. I mean, as you've been saying, there have been a number of arrests, high profile arrests and the uncertainty about the whereabouts and the status of Prince Hamza for now has sort of been resolved by by him himself. The video that he sent to the BBC in which he denies being involved in any conspiracy, denies any wrongdoing. He confirms to an extent what we've heard from the Jordanian military that he was visited by them, but in a much stronger way, that essentially he was told that he couldn't leave where he is, he couldn't communicate with anyone.
So under house arrest now, the Jordanian official news agency and outlets are denying those reports that have been swirling around for several hours before we began to get some confirmation. But this is from the horse's mouth. And not only that, I mean, he's really throwing down the gauntlet. Well, we just heard there talking about the corruption, the incompetence, saying that he is not responsible for the lack of faith that people have in their institutions. He goes on and says that it's reached a point in a country where no one is able to speak or express an opinion without being bullied, arrest, harassed and threatened.
Now, this is not the image that Jordan wishes to show to the rest of the world. It's a long time U.S. ally. It is seen as a relatively stable country, despite its serious economic and political problems in a very volatile region. And a lot of countries have seen it in their interest to buoy Jordan up, to keep it in a position of stability under King Abdullah and under his father, King Hussein. It's always seen very much as a West leaning country that can mediate in the many disputes in the Middle East.
So this is very rare. This is an insight into the issues at the very top of the Jordanian power elite. In the past, Jordan has dealt with its issues essentially by devolving blame to lower echelons of power. But what Prince Hamza is really doing is directing it straight at those in command. No, he doesn't name his half brother, King Abdullah, in any way, but he's taking on, essentially, it seems, the whole governing structure.
So this is an earthquake for Jordan.
Sebastian Usher. In a rare televised speech, the German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has called for unity as his country struggles to cope with a third wave of coronavirus. Cases have been creeping up, and public distrust in politics is on the rise as leaders fail to work together.
President Steinmeier, who recently had the AstraZeneca vaccine, made an emotional appeal to the German people while warning political leaders to sort themselves out in eastern morning they may have been calling for the next few weeks will once again require severe restrictions.
You know that as well as I do. But let me assure you, just as the pandemic demands a lot from you, you can also demand a lot from politics. Your expectations of those in power are clear. Get it together.
So what are the difficulties that Germany is facing at the moment? Our Berlin correspondent is Damien McGuinness.
I think we heard some of those problems in the president's speech. And you're right, Oliver, those were pretty blunt words there.
And part of what he highlighted and he admitted mistakes have been made were really to do with the vaccine rollout and also testing.
So we've had a number of errors, really, that have been made.
Some would say mishaps, some would say political, the consequence of political rallies. One of them has to do with not enough doses being delivered.
That goes back to problems on an EU level, but also on the regional and local levels. We're seeing constant reports about various. Problems with the rollout of the vaccine, whether it be hotlines to book appointments, don't work, whether it be vaccines or not use, at the end of the day, individual reports might be actually not that serious, but the whole sum of all this negativity and these negative headlines have really starts to get people down. And that's simply because the vaccine rollout overall has been too slow.
And as a result, as you say, the infection rate numbers have been creeping up steadily. So that's why the president's warned of a tough few weeks ahead.
Really, I think the hope is that from now on, really throughout this month of April, we're going to see a sudden rise in deliveries. That's the expectation. And that could change the picture. But I think the mood here is pretty poor, and that's partly because of political infighting. And you've got various roles between regional leaders, central government.
And all of that has really contributed to a pretty poor mood in the country right now.
So, yeah, was this a message more for the people or for the politicians? And will it work, given that he is a politician himself?
Yeah, kind of both, really. I mean, President Steinmeyer is the figurehead. He's the president who floats above politics, if you like.
So he's not involved in the party politics.
So he has a certain status where he can bash heads together politically. And that was partly what his speech was trying to do, saying get your act together, saying mistakes have been made. That is clear. Everyone knows that. But at the same time, he was also talking to voters saying, well, there's no point in complaining about people at the top.
This is something that we're all in together, really.
And rather than pointing out failings of others, we all need to look to ourselves and act together.
So in a way, it was quite a blunt speech, but it was also quite disturbing speech because what he was trying to say is we should stick together and we should really look at what's possible rather than looking negatively at what the problems are, of which there are quite a few, he admitted.
We should also try and think, OK, what can we achieve? And I think the situation right now is such as there are so many rumors about what sorts of restrictions should be implemented that has really taken a lot of energy out of people's daily lives. People are confused about the rules. They can't remember which rule applies and what situation in which region even it's different. So you can understand why people are annoyed.
Damien McGuinness in Berlin. 12 months after it became the first Western nation to be hit by the pandemic, Italy has now entered a strict three day lockdown to try to prevent a surge in covid cases over Easter. All regions of the country are now in the red zone, the highest tier of restrictions as Italy battles a third wave with about 20000 new cases a day, most shops across the country will close and non-essential movement is banned. Our Rome correspondent is Mark Lowen.
Well, when Pope Francis gave his order be at all to be message on Easter Sunday to the city and the world a year ago to a deserted lock down St. Peter's Square, few would have imagined that 12 months on here we would be again. But yes, indeed, we are. Restaurants are only offering takeaway service across the whole of the country and non-essential businesses right across Italy have had to close. There are movement restrictions as well.
All arrivals into Italy from European Union countries are subject to a five day quarantine as well. But in one concession to Italians who will be sitting down for their Easter lunch or dinner at home, they are allowed to invite up to two people from the same family to join them for this, which is an extremely important weekend and celebration for many Italians in terms of church services while they are still going ahead for the Easter mass. But the faithful are being encouraged to go to the church closest to their homes and, of course, to observe strict social distancing measures when they're inside.
Pope Francis will be holding mass this weekend. He will deliver that would be a Taulbee message on Sunday morning, which he hopes will, I'm sure, provide some solace to many people around the world for whom this has been an incredibly difficult year and hoping above hope that with the vaccine roll out slowly ramping up, that this time next year will finally look very, very different.
Mark Lowen in Rome. The Egyptian capital, Cairo, has witnessed an extraordinary ceremony in which the mummified remains of 22 ancient rulers were moved to a new home. The eight kings and four queens of ancient Egypt were transported in gold coffins on purpose built gold coloured chariots. They made the seven kilometer journey in order of age. The oldest first, our correspondent in Cairo, Sally Nabeel, watched the ceremony.
A procession fit for royalty, the mummies of ancient Egyptian kings and queens have left the residence in the Egyptian Museum in the heart of Cairo. They have been moved to a new museum south of the capital where they will reside for good.
Watching the royal mummies being moved to their new resting place is an impressive moment. I seem to remember the monarchs making this journey include queen hardship. So that King wraps up the second two of the most famous rulers in ancient Egypt. It's very energetic here, a very vibrant atmosphere.
The Mummers Parade in custom made vehicles fitted with shock absorbers to avoid any damage during the journey, the festival like ceremony meant to lure tourists back into Egypt was coupled with tight security measures.
Arriving at their new residence in the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, the royal brothers have been saluted with gunshots.
They have been received by the Egyptian president who takes pride in such a dazzling event, the mummies won't be put on display straight away.
It will take a team of experts nearly two weeks to further examine them and carefully unpack them. Our Cairo correspondent, Sally Nabeel, Amazon has performed a U-turn after dismissing criticism from a politician who pointed out that some of the firm's employees had no option but to urinate in bottles while working. The online retail giant eventually apologized to US Democratic Congressman Mark Pocan for mocking his tweet about the company's working practices. Amazon now says its response was an own goal. Richard Hamilton reports.
Mark Pokemon's tweets was initially met with scorn. You don't really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you? Amazon replied, If that were true, nobody would work for us. But after internal memos were leaked, revealing that drivers did actually urinate and sometimes defecate while out on deliveries, Amazon issued a statement saying, We know that drivers can and do have trouble finding restrooms. And this has been especially the case during covid. It went on to say it was trying to find a solution.
But complaints about harsh working conditions for employees of the world's richest man are not new.
Tonight on Panorama, we go behind the public to expose what happens when you buy from the world's biggest online retailer.
In 2013, the BBC Panorama program went undercover at a warehouse in Wales to film workers up against the clock under constant surveillance and penalised for being late or sick. Each shift could involve up to 17 kilometres of walking products had to be picked up every 33 seconds with a handset beeping if they weren't. Professor Michael Marmot from University College London told the program such practices were taking a toll on mental health.
Various dimensions of the work environment are bad for health, and it's almost as if what I just heard has taken them all and distilled them into a short, sharp shock and said he is all the bad stuff. The evidence shows increased risk of mental illness and physical illness.
Congressman Spokane's comments come amid a vote by Amazon workers in Alabama on whether to join a retail union. This would be a first in the United States, where the online giant has long discouraged attempts by its 800000 American employees to be part of a union. By contrast, workers in Japan and some European countries are already unionized. In Germany, a recent four day strike was called over pay and conditions. And in Italy, workers held 24 hours of industrial action over what they described as exhausting shifts and management by algorithm.
And still to come on the podcast is starting to feel a little sad, but at the same time, grateful to Serbia for providing this, because in Bosnia we would wait at least a few months to get a vaccine.
How Serbia is reaching out to its neighbors. Campaigners in Belgium are calling for urgent police reform after a series of high profile deaths in custody of people mainly from black or ethnic minority backgrounds. No officer has been jailed in any of the cases, prompting accusations that the police are acting with impunity and are warning that some parts of this report from Nick Bik may be distressing.
Protesters set fire to the entrance of a police station in the heart of Brussels. Armed officers respond with non-lethal bullets. This anger exploded after the death in custody of a 23 year old in January.
Ibrahim Marbury's family still haven't been told what exactly happened because it's like a bad dream.
I feel demolished. My brother was my best friend.
Aissatou believes her brother suffered a cardiac arrest, but she's been told that after Ibrahima fell to the floor, officers did nothing to help him for seven minutes.
They give you just picture. It's so disturbing. It's so disrespectful. They left him for seven minutes. It's not human. He was their responsibility. They should have helped him. They could have saved him. He would still be here.
Justice nowhere, the crowd shouts. Despite covid restrictions, Belgians have taken to the streets. Ibrahim's death was just the latest case of a person of color dying after contact with the police.
See Dave and Paula with three more.
Last summer, 29 year old Akram Kaddouri was filmed being restrained in the street before losing consciousness and investigations ongoing dodman in 2018.
This video surfaced showing a man, Lamine Bangura, resisting officers as they tried to evict him from his house. He's seen being pinned down on his stomach for several minutes. His family's lawyer is Alexey DWF.
All the police officers are white and he's black and they say he's crying like an animal. If the person would have been white, they would never said that. Maybe they would have understand that his cries were because he was dying. He was suffocating. A court ruled that this use of force was justified.
But it's not just deaths in police custody, which, of course, public fury. Two teenagers who were trying to escape checks have been killed in collisions with police vehicles in the past three years. And in 2018, a toddler was shot dead when officers opened fire on the vehicle in which she was travelling. They'd been chasing the van, which contained migrants who'd been smuggled. No officer has been jailed in any of these cases.
Many protesters will tell you the trust between the police and the people has been shattered and the community must decide whether this man, who's 18, looks around and tells us he's only been at today's gathering for 45 minutes and that arrests are already being made and pretty soon there are very good police officers, he says.
But we only see the bad ones and we come to hate them. Even I who knows? They aren't all the same.
I'm starting to generalize and to hate them to say some senior figures in policing concede there may be individual racists in their ranks, but say the wider accusations are unfair. Van Songul, head of the Belgian Federal Police Union, represents more than 20000 officers.
I've been to bashing the police, but I think there is some police bashing of Belgian police at the moment. It is unfair. A baseless comparison is being made with what's happening in the United States and what's been happening here.
Belgium's federal police told us they were unable to talk about these recent deaths because there were ongoing inquiries, because it was too easy for Aissatou, whose brother died in January.
She has faith in the Belgian legal system to deliver justice, but she has no faith in the police to investigate itself.
In my opinion, there's racism in the police. If my brother hadn't been black, I don't think they would have left him like that. Seven minutes on the floor.
But Aissatou Barry ending that report by Nick Beke. Families who lost loved ones in the train crash in Taiwan on Friday have been praying at the site of the accident. At least 50 people died and more than 170 were injured when the packed train collided with a maintenance lorry that had slipped onto the tracks at the start of a tunnel. Somchai Cheang, a priest, spoke about a woman and her family who'd been caught up in the crash.
The coroner, Dongdong Armondo people at the moment of impact. Some passengers were thrown out of their seats and flew down the train. Sister Tunheim Mae woke up after the crash. She saw that her husband was not breathing and had no heartbeat beside her. Also, her son was not breathing. He too, had no heartbeat. She could not find her daughter. When she yelled, she found her under some iron sheets. She tried as hard as possible to remove these pieces one by one, but her daughter's voice became quieter and quieter.
And then there was no response.
Salvage teams are struggling to remove the mangled carriages stuck in the tunnel between the capital, Taipei and Taichung on the East Coast. The man whose vehicle is thought to have caused the crash has been released on bail. Investigators are looking into whether mechanical failure or negligence was to blame. Valerie Sanderson has been speaking to our correspondent in Taipei, Cindy Su.
The latest is that the local prosecutor's office had requested an arrest warrant for the construction site manager who Lori let down a slope next to the tracks causing this accident. Now that local court has allowed a manager to post bail for fifteen thousand dollars and the prosecutors have protested this because they say that there's a risk that he will flee and he would try to destroy evidence. Now, the reason why they're focusing on this manager is because there is suspicion that he was the one who was driving this, Lori, at the time.
And then when he left the Lori to go to the construction site office nearby, there is suspicion that he did not properly set the emergency brake, which might have caused this, Lori, to slide down the slope onto the tracks just minutes before the train passed by. So the train hit this lorry, which caused several carriages to derail inside a tunnel.
And what's happening at the site now? Overnight, they've been trying to get the train carriages out of the tunnel, but so far they've only managed to get one or two carriages out. There's still several carriages in this eight car train stuck inside a tunnel. It's because the carriages have been badly damaged and some of them have been ripped apart. Some of the carriages also hit the tunnel, as was. Tunnel is quite narrow. It's hard to get equipment in there to make it easier for the workers to get all the carriages out.
Do they think they'll find anyone still alive? Well, unfortunately, they're still finding body parts and bodies. And we've just heard that one of the deceased is an American woman in her 20s and her travel companion, another woman in her 20s, is missing. Earlier, the authorities said that there was a Frenchman who was among the dead. So the death toll, which now stands at 50, could continue to rise. And there are also another 40 people still in hospital, 62 in Taiwan.
Many European countries have been accused of vaccine nationalism for refusing to share their allocation of. Coronavirus Jab's, however, that's not the case in Serbia, it has inoculated its citizens faster than any other country in continental Europe, and it's now started vaccinating tens of thousands of people from neighboring countries as well as the Balkans.
Correspondent Guy Deloney reports from Belgrade was a calm and fairly quiet queue outside the Belgrade World Trade Center. This is a massive venue that usually hosts things like motor shows and trade fairs. But now it's serving as the biggest coronavirus vaccination center in Serbia. And in recent days, that's not just been for Serbian people, but large numbers from neighboring countries.
We look at this from a very practical perspective, that this is good for our economy and it is good for the economy, for all of our neighbors.
Marco Mandic from Serbia's Chamber of Commerce organized a vaccination drive for business people from across the Western Balkans. It quickly turned into a free for all as more than 20000 people travelled to Serbia to get jobs.
At that moment, you just try to make order. We created a special fuel for for business people, but there were a lot of people who just came, not not invited, but not registered because you could apply to electronic portal. They just sat in the car and drove. So it was for a couple of hours. It was pretty chaotic, but then it came under control. So once it did, all of the people who came were vaccinated.
The call for people from neighboring countries to get vaccinated in Serbia led to arrivals from all the different countries of the former Yugoslavia. And you could hear those different accents in the queue. You would not have a functional missile.
Never deal with those who are in trouble, need help.
And we're in trouble that if I feel a little sad, but at the same time, grateful to Serbia for providing this, because in Bosnia, we, the healthy and younger population, would wait at least a few months to get a vaccine.
I think that borders in this region are just geography when it comes to emotional bonds. And more than this, our common history and ancestry borders don't exist at all.
Once you're inside the vaccination center, you'll see rows of vaccination booths looking rather like changing rooms and swimming pools. Serbia has been able to inoculate more of its people than any other country in continental Europe. But some experts warn that doesn't mean it should be giving vaccines away to its neighbors.
It is sad when you see so many people, thousands of people waiting just one to another, very close. We could expect further epidemic to be spread.
Ragano Jovanovich is a professor of pulmonology at Belgrade's University Hospital.
I'm really delighted that we have had the opportunity to be vaccinated and we still have it. So it is an excellent move. But people don't know whom to believe and they suspect everything.
How big a problem are anti vaccines in Serbia? I am afraid it is quite a big percentage of people. I think it is nearly half.
Indeed, it's true that vaccine skepticism has contributed to an alarmingly low uptake of inoculations in some parts of Serbia, and the country's early success may stall unless the authorities can convert the unwilling. But Marco Mandic from the Chamber of Commerce says it doesn't have to be a choice between helping your neighbors and looking after your own people.
I don't think those two things exclude each other. And I think that this is also a message to our citizens of how important it is to some people who don't have the ability to receive a vaccine to receive a vaccine. And I think it is just a boost to our own efforts.
Of course, the vaccine bonanza couldn't last forever, and it's now officially drawing to a close. But everyone from outside Serbia who's received their first dose will be invited back to get their second job. And for Serbia's neighbors, this generosity has at least given them some breathing space until their own vaccine programs are up to speed.
Our Balkans correspondent Guider, loaning us Major League Baseball, has announced that it's moving its all star game out of the city of Atlanta after the state of Georgia adopted a new law affecting the right to vote. The new rules limit some absentee voting and forbid giving food or water to voters waiting to cast their ballots. Critics say the law makes it harder for black people and other minorities to participate in elections.
The All-Star Game is a showcase of the baseball league's best players, and it draws a huge number of fans, as well as a large amount of money to the host city.
Peter Griffin is following the story.
The league's commissioner, Rob Manfred, has said it's demonstrating the values of the sport and that Major League Baseball, quote, fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. Now, this is in reference. Who the law passed by Georgia Republicans that, among other things, puts in stricter identification rules for absentee ballots and limits the use of Dropbox's where people can leave their votes. And Democrats and civil rights groups in the U.S. say it'll make it harder to vote for people in dense urban areas.
And that's predominantly where the state's black communities and Democrat voting communities are. Now, the baseball players union has been pushing for the all star game to be moved in a show of protest.
And now the league has followed through. And for the city of Atlanta, that means missing out on a lot of potential revenue because the last All-Star Game before the covid pandemic brought in more than 60 million dollars for the host city.
OK, but we're moving a baseball game really make any difference to the underlying issue.
So the real answer is probably not, because voter regulation laws have become a deeply entrenched part of Republican strategy all across the U.S. And now there's this added bonus of playing to their supporters who still believe, albeit incorrectly, that there was some kind of fraud in the 2020 election. But symbolically, culturally, this baseball boycott is significant because this is America's sport, America's pastime, which has a pretty conservative fan base weighing in on democracy, which is this most American of values.
And as far as Major League Baseball is concerned, it's as much about business here as a political decision because baseball is struggling to draw fans the way it used to the fans. They do have a predominantly white and older. They want to win back a younger, more diverse audience. And this is one way to do it. You know, American sports leagues have not traditionally been political, but after the death of George Floyd last year, pro basketball players were really vocal about their support for the Black Lives Matter protest.
And young, progressive, socially aware fans started looking at other leagues saying, well, which side are you on? Basically, it's a new generation of sports fans with a new set of expectations for sports leagues. Peter Goffin talking to my colleague Alex Fridson.
And that's all from us for now. They'll be an updated version of the Global News podcast later. This edition was produced by Daniel Mann and mixed by Sarah Kimberle. The editor is Karen Martin. I'm Oliver Conway. Until next time. Goodbye.