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This is the global news podcast from the BBC World Service. I'm Jonathan Savage, and at 14 hours GMT on Tuesday, the 18th of August, these are our main stories. Fifteen years ago, Lebanon's prime minister, Rafik Hariri was assassinated. Today, the verdict comes in on four men accused in Mali. Shots are fired inside a military base. We'll have the latest on the ongoing political crisis. Also in this podcast, we'll hear from a photographer who's been cataloguing the final meals chosen by prisoners on death row in the U.S..
One meal that does stick out to me is Khaleq, say Tucker. And she had a garden salad, a banana and a peach.
And you may have seen an elephant fly, but have you seen an elephant through? On February the 14th, Valentine's Day, 2005, a huge car bomb exploded in the Lebanese capital, Beirut. Its target, the former and likely next prime minister, Rafik Hariri. He died along with 21 others. More than 200 were injured today, 15 years on, a court in the Netherlands is delivering its verdict on four operatives from the Islamist group Hezbollah, who are accused of involvement in the killings.
They aren't in court. They were tried in their absence. A fifth accused died before the trial. The presiding judge, David Ray, was clear in his assessment of the reasons for the blast.
The attack was an act of terrorism that was designed to spread fear among the Lebanese population. It was committed for political and not personal reasons.
One of his colleagues, Janet Nosworthy, spoke about the impact on the victims and their families.
Fifteen and a half years later, the scars remain. Some still suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Many have permanent injuries. There is no doubt that terrorism is one of the most serious and heinous crimes and that the attack was very grave.
As we record this podcast, the hearing is continuing. But people in Beirut have more recent tragedies to worry about as this man still cleaning up after the giant blast in the port two weeks ago explained.
With all due respect to the deceased. And I do want to know what the verdict is and everything, but what matters now in this present moment is who did this to us? Because there's much more people than what had happened back then, again, with all due respect to the this is this for me, but there was one of those accused, Salim Jamil Ayash, has been found guilty of being involved in the assassination.
The other three not guilty. Judges also said they saw no direct evidence to connect the leadership of Hezbollah nor of the Syrian government to Mr. Hariri death. My colleague Paul Hennelly has been speaking to Paul Adams in Beirut for the latest.
The court has found one of the four accused, Salim Ayash, guilty on all counts.
But literally in the last couple of minutes, the presiding judge, David Ray, has cleared all three of the other defendants of the conspiracy to murder charges. That is all the charges relating to the death of Rafik Hariri and 21 other people and the attempted murder of 226 people who were wounded in that attack back in 2005. So just one man found guilty of the the crime. And also earlier in the proceedings, we heard the court saying that there was not enough evidence to prove that Syria or command all the commanders of Hezbollah were responsible for ordering the attack.
How closely is this followed in Beirut? And also importantly, how do you think that these judgments will be greeted there? You know, the people of Lebanon are awfully, awfully wary right now, this is two weeks now since the massive explosion in the port and that is the event and the consequences of that which loom over everything. We are learning that the country is likely to be placed into another lockdown in the next couple of days as coronavirus cases spiking.
And of course, since late last year, the country has been plunged into the most appalling economic turmoil, with the currency spiraling downwards, people losing their jobs, losing their savings, and some people judging by the scenes at the international airport in the last few days, frankly, scrambling to leave while they can. That is the backdrop against which today's hearings take place. So I think you can forgive many people here for thinking that it is in some ways a rather old story, the final conclusion of a rather old story.
Clearly, supporters of Rafik Hariri wanted to see justice done, and they may feel that this was a somewhat meagre judgment in their view, that supporters of Hezbollah, for their part, will be gratified that the leadership of the organization has not been or does not stand accused of involvement, but that only one person has has been convicted. But as I say, they have a lot of other things on their minds.
Paul Adams in Beirut notes of the reports of shooting at an Army camp in Mali outside the capital, Bamako, as we record this podcast. Details are still hazy, but some sources are speaking of mutiny. What's not easy, though, is that Mali is already in the grip of a profound crisis with a growing Islamist insurrection and mass protests and civil society calling for the president to step down. Our Africa regional editor at Will Ross, give me more details.
What is clear is that there is shooting going on or has been going on inside this military camp called Katti, which is about 15 kilometers outside the capital, Bamako. We don't know the scale of the problem there and we don't know exactly what the intention is. But it's clear that there are some angry soldiers that have been shooting there and there are reports of roadblocks in the area as well. In addition to that, we've had warnings from two embassies, the French embassy, warning people to stay indoors because of the tension in Bamako and that Kazi and the Norwegian embassy suggesting that troops might be on their way to Bamako, saying that's information that they've been told.
We've also had reports that one government minister has been detained or at least picked up from his home this morning. So it is a confusing picture. We don't know exactly what what is going on at the barracks. But certainly, you know, with the current political crisis that's been going on, these are really worrying signs for Mali.
Well, across our Africa regional editor, clouds of brightly colored balloons, placards waving and crowds of excited delegates, the carnival atmosphere of a normal American political convention. But not this year.
The Democrats were due to flock to Milwaukee in Wisconsin, but instead the convention is all online. Our correspondent Nick Bryant was watching as it began.
Just just the strong feeling that can be to this virtual convention has turned the Democratic Party into a political Netflix. We the people, we went online streaming service that premiered last night with the genre busting show that was essentially a two hour advertisement.
Welcome to the 2020 Democratic National Convention, Uniting America.
It was hosted by the Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria, based on, we figured out, a safe and responsible way to come together to share our ideas and talk about the future of our country.
And I hope that the new leadership takes American lives seriously.
For the most part, it was sober programming reflecting the mood of a country that's lost more than 170000 of its citizens to covid-19 and witnessed its most widespread racial turbulence since the late 1960s.
The moment has come for our nation to deal with systemic racism.
There was a moment of silence for George Floyd, the African-American suffocated by the name of a white police officer. Reflections on the Black Lives Matter, summer of protest from members of his family.
It's a fitting legacy for our brother, but George should be alive today.
But primarily, this has become the coronavirus campaign and speeches doubled as indictments of Donald Trump's handling of the pandemic, most electrifying was the heartfelt testimony of Kristen accuser, who lost her father, a Trump supporter, to the virus.
My dad was a healthy sixty five year old. His only preexisting condition was trusting Donald Trump, and for that he paid with his life.
Joe Biden received the endorsement of a prominent Republican, John Kasich, the former governor of Ohio, a key battleground state.
Joe Biden is a man for our times, times that call for all of us to take off our partisan hats and put our nation first for ourselves and, of course, for our children.
And there was a call for party unity from the leader of the Democratic left, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden's one time rival.
The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake.
Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country.
The climax of the evening was a scorching address from the former first lady, Michelle Obama, that felt like it had taken four years to come to the boil. She framed the election as a matter of life and death in the most literal sense of all.
If you think things cannot possibly get worse, trust me, they can and they will. If we don't make a change in this election, if we have any hope of ending this chaos, we have got to vote for Joe Biden like our lives depend on it.
You know, I hate politics, said Michelle Obama at one point in her speech. But she's emerged as one of its most effective practitioners. Donald Trump won the presidency partly by portraying himself as the anti-Obama. Hers was a speech that was passionately anti Trump.
Thank you all. God bless.
That report from our correspondent Nick Bryant.
Since it first aired 17 years ago, The Ellen DeGeneres Show has become a staple of American daytime TV. The show is renowned for interviews with A-list celebrities, highlighting uplifting stories and giving away a lot of money.
You're all going to share this gift. It's the biggest gift I've ever given anybody ever. And I hope you continue to pay it forward and share all the good. Hold on to your Cheerios because all of you are splitting one million dollar.
A lot of money, Alan, and each show with the catchphrase, be kind to one another. But it's been alleged that behind the scenes that's not the case. On Monday, three top producers were fired amid allegations of misconduct and sexual harassment, with Ellen DeGeneres saying an internal investigation is underway. The BBC's Gareth Barlow has more details.
This all began last month. BuzzFeed News published an article in which they said they had spoken and heard from over 30 former staff members who painted a picture really at odds with that catchphrase of be kind to one another. Allegations of bullying, intimidation, harassment and sexual misconduct. Now, Warner Brothers, the firm where the TV show is filmed and also who distributed carried out investigations, and they now say that they have parted ways with three of the show's top producers, Ed Glavan, Kevin Leemon and Jonathan Norman.
The three are accused of inappropriate touching and of sexual harassment. It's worth noting that Kevin Lehman and Jonathan Norman both categorically deny any of the allegations. There's been no public response as yet, though, from Ed Glavan for her part on Ellen DeGeneres, whose part she says in a message to staff, she is so sorry for what this has become. She held a video meeting with staffers on Monday night and that she's glad the issues were brought to her attention.
Now, I've seen the show quite a few times as a lovely, uplifting way to spend a few minutes. A lot of fans are be wondering what this is going to mean for the show's future.
It is a juggernaut. It has won 61 Daytime Emmys. And I'm aware that the last few years have shown us that there is no name, no career, too big to be felled by allegations like these. But Ellen DeGeneres does have currency of her own. In 1997, she came out as gay and her public image was hampered and harmed and her career really stalled. But she's since bounced back from it is now one of the biggest, most high profile names in television show biz.
And I think if she uses some of her own experiences, she could help herself and her program get through this. There have also been calls for her to stand aside with people saying if your name is on the brand, you should have been aware. You should have been trying to champion or been closer to staff so that issues like these didn't come to the fore. That didn't come out. She has been accused of being far from convivial herself on occasions, but she's got high profile backers, Katy Perry, Kevin Hart, all saying that they stand behind her.
The show is due to start its 18th season next month as a shorter than that, but it's still going to go to air. And she is renowned for her monologues in each episode.
It'll be interesting to see what and if she says anything about all of this.
Gareth Barlow. Officials in Australia have apologised for the handling of one of the country's worst coronavirus outbreaks. In March, the Ruby Princess cruise liner docked in Sydney aboard the vessel. More than two and a half thousand people. Some were suspected to have coronavirus, but none were tested before they disembarked. No federal officials have admitted to a parliamentary committee that protocols had been ignored. Our correspondent in Sydney, Phil Mercer.
This is a powerful Australian Senate committee that was set up in April to investigate the government's responses to the pandemic today.
It's been quizzing agriculture and border force officials about the ruby princess. Now, health checks by agriculture officials were supposed to have been the last line of defense against the spread of the disease from the vessel. But senior bureaucrats do now concede that those checks, those mandatory checks weren't carried out and they're blaming miscommunication with health authorities.
Yeah, they are, because, of course, as well as this committee hearing, there was an inquiry which reported back last week. And what did it find?
Well, the Ruby Princess was responsible for one of Australia's worst coronavirus clusters that led to 28 deaths and more than a thousand infections both here in Australia and overseas. The reason for that, those hundreds of passengers allowed to disembark without being screened. They got onto public transport. They took domestic and international flights home. Now, a separate inquiry in the state of New South Wales has also been investigating this scandal. It has found that there were inexplicable and inexcusable mistakes by health authorities.
They found this investigating team that there weren't systemic failures. And they did point to the fact that the state government in New South Wales has acknowledged the failings, has acknowledged the mistakes, and has insisted that lessons have been learned. It's worth noting, too, that a police investigation into the ruby princess is also continuing. Could you give us an update about the broader picture in Australia?
There appeared to be a second wave of the virus over the last few weeks. What are things like at the moment? In the state of Victoria today, they have recorded more than 220 new infections in the last 24 hours, 17 more people have died. Those new daily infection numbers are going down. The authorities say that tough lockdown restrictions in the city of Melbourne are more broadly in the state of Victoria, are working. And as we say, the coronavirus emergency in Australia very much centred on that state in the south of Australia, Victoria.
Phil Mercer in Sydney. Still to come, we're for the general public and the leaders in the local communities. How important it is to look at people with disabilities as just people.
We hear from a man from Uganda who waited nine years for a wheelchair and now provides them for others.
China has started an investigation into the price of Australian wine imports as a dispute between the two countries continues. Beijing is accusing Australia of dumping cheap wine on its market. Our Asia-Pacific editor, Michael Bristol reports.
Beijing said it would look at whether Australian producers had been selling it deliberately. Low prices to gain market share. He could have a major impact as Australia sells nearly one billion dollars worth of wine in China each year. Shipping more bottles than France can recall. The investigation perplexing. In recent months, China has also sanctioned Australian beef and barley until its students and choose not to travel to Australia. This economic attack began at a Canberra call for an independent investigation into the coronavirus outbreak.
Michael Bristow in Uganda. Having a disability carries huge stigma. One man has dedicated his life to turning that around, combating discrimination, no telling his own personal story and hitting his milestone to manufacture and provide over 2000 wheelchairs to people in Uganda for free. Francis Maguire told Karani Sharp how challenging it was for him growing up.
It was very difficult. I crawled on my hands and knees for nine years without a wheelchair, and children made fun of me at school when I started going to school and my parents had to buy a big bicycle for me to get to school on the back of a bicycle. My older brother had to ride the bicycle through the frame because he was not big enough to sit on the seat. So we fell so many times going to school and bike. And of course my brother had to drop me off at school and come back to the bicycle horn because they were afraid that the bicycle will get stolen from him.
So it was really difficult going to school and the stigmatisation the children and from the neighbours was really bad and it pulled me down lots of times.
You have other shocking stories about people getting rid of their disabled child because of poverty and fear as well.
Don't you tell us a bit about that area. There's a big number of people in Uganda that still practice infanticide and also starve their children to death because they do not believe these children will ever amount to anything. Know, neighbors have done the same thing that they told me, you know, telling these people, these families that your children are going to be useless. They'll never amount to anything. And so when they leave that, they also want to get rid of the children.
So in some parts of northern Uganda, we still are seeing that people getting rid of families, getting rid of children with disabilities, some of them leaving them on their own garbage pails because, you know, they want to just have them taken by someone else or let them die.
Well, you've come about all this experience has, as it has made you think that you want to help people tell us what you're doing to help them or what we're doing, first of all, is education.
We're educating the general public and the leaders in the local communities. How important it is to look at people with disabilities as just people. People with disabilities are just people give them the opportunities and and let them show their potential and abilities that they have.
Secondly, we facilitate these people with disabilities, with mobility devices. We give wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, white canes to to people that cannot afford them. Every month we give anywhere between 150 to 200 of those devices in a new district anywhere. So we will go to a new district every month. And education and the mobility and the advocacy as well. We speak on behalf of these people who may otherwise not be able to speak on their own.
Francis Mangwana, speaking to Karani Sharp leading Indian cricket team, has announced a partnership with a brand of sanitary pads as part of efforts to address the stigma surrounding menstruation. It can lead to girls dropping out of school and women being banned from religious and social events. Our South Asia editor Jill McGovern reports.
The Rajasthan Royals and Indian Premier League team will wear shirts with a sanitary pad company's logo prominently displayed. They say cricket huge audiences mean the move could highlight a topic that still isn't openly discussed. When the prime minister, Narendra Modi mentioned sanitary pads and his Independence Day address last week, he was widely praised. Studies suggest that many Indian women can't afford sanitary pads and use old rags or leaves instead, despite how. Risks menstruating women are often seen as unclean, sometimes banned from religious sites and even parts of their own homes.
Gilma quivering. Now here's a good story.
A tiny insect eating mammal not seen since the 1960s and thought to be extinct is in fact alive and well. Researchers say the most sized elephant shrew has been rediscovered in the wilds of Djibouti in Africa.
Helen Briggs is our science correspondent and she told me more about it.
It's an incredibly cute little thing. It does look a bit like a shrew, even though it isn't a sort of brownish little creature, a great big bulbous eyes. The most distinctive thing. Is this really strange long nose, a sort of stretched nose. Looks like someone's pulled its nose out into a sort of elephant like snout and a very long tail. It is related to an elephant. So it's more closely related to an elephant than a shrew, but it's not a share at all.
It's been a bit of a mystery to science. All of these creatures, these elephant shoes, these tiny little things don't get as much attention as the big exotic creatures out there in the wild. So scientists wanted to actually find out whether it was still alive and well. It's been known for museum specimens, sort of 30 or so. And there have been local sightings in the Horn of Africa, but nothing documented for science since 1968. So they went out to look for it and they actually found it not in Somalia.
I think there are still some of these creatures in Somalia, but actually in Djibouti. And they set some traps to to see whether they can find them with a tasty concoction of peanut butter and oatmeal and yeast. And then the very first trap they opened and they saw this little creature, a distinctive sort of tuft of hair on the tip of its tail. And they looked at each other and said, wow, we can't believe it. We found it.
We've proved it still here.
Why is it so fascinating to scientists?
Is it particularly important in the grand scheme of things when we're talking here about the Earth's biodiversity and the web of life? So everything's really important to science is is really crucial that we document the biodiversity out there. We have these records of animals going extinct. The official read list by the IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. They have these huge collections of data saying, you know, what have we got out there? How concerned are we about its conservation?
Is this very formal process that you need to go through to be absolutely sure what you've got left living on the planet where you're going to put your resources into saving these things or this particular elephant shrew, like many other animals, actually just got by its name data deficient. So there just hasn't been the work to prove it's there. And of course, in this case, local people did know it was there, but they didn't have the resources to do the science, do the taxonomy to kind of put it in its place in the web of life.
That's our science correspondent Helen Briggs. And finally now, here's a question. What would you choose as your last ever meal to prompt a deeper understanding of the death penalty system in the United States? Photographer Jack Black recreated the last meals requested by prisoners on death row before they were executed. An exhibition of the works called Last Meals is currently taking place at the Parish Art Museum in New York. Jack Black has been speaking to Connie Sharp, and she began by asking her to describe some of the meals she photographed.
Some of the meals were very big breakfast, a lot of hamburgers, Coca-Cola, things that these people couldn't get on a normal course of a day in prison. So they were special, but they were created in the prison kitchen. A lot of fried chicken very popular in the south, Coca-Cola ice cream.
The very fact that these photographs are being taken could be arguably seen as voyeuristic, somewhat cruel, because it sort of focuses on the very last moment of a person's life.
Well, actually, no, because all all of my research on this subject was done via the Internet. And so I never met these people. And all of these meals I recreated were after the fact in many instances, a decade or so after their execution. That I think puts a much different spin on it.
What did you learn about these inmates when you gathered this information and then presented pictures of their last meal?
Oh, boy, that was the big eye opener. I really went into the subject blind. I really had no preconceived. Oceans, but what I found is that they were all either poor, black, uneducated or all three.
Were you surprised by that?
Yes, because I was under the impression that the U.S. system of justice was fair and equitable. The facts are borne out in the number of people who are executed, what their race is, what their education was. Black Americans are incarcerated at five times the rate of whites. And then, yes, in terms of what's happening today and how the prison system has developed, our incarcerated population has increased by 700 percent since 1970.
Was there any one particular individual or male that actually stood out for you?
One male that does stick out to me is Carla Faye Tucker, the only woman in the group that I chose to present. And she had a garden salad, a banana and a peach. So it very much seemed like a kind of a typical meal a woman would request because she's on a diet.
Jackie Black, you can also have a look at these photos on the BBC website, and that's all from us for now. But there will be an updated version of the Global News podcast later. If you want to comment on this podcast or the topics covered in it, you can send us an email. The address is Global Podcast at BBC, Dongseo DOT UK. I'm Jonathan Savage. Until next time. Goodbye. But. At Bank of Ireland, you don't have to talk face to face, our mortgage team are happy to talk face time to face time and give you all the info you need from how to get started, to how much to save face time.
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