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This is the Global News podcast from the BBC World Service.
I'm Jonathan Savage. And at 13 hours GMT on Wednesday, the 19th of August, these are our main stories. With an unpopular president now out of power, Mali looks to the future. But how will the country meet its challenges? Celebration time for Joe Biden as he is confirmed as the Democratic Party's nominee for the U.S. presidency. And Israel has launched fresh attacks on Gaza and issued a warning to Hamas, which governs the territory.
Also in this podcast, there is something of a sense today that the atmosphere, the tactics of the Belarusian authorities might be shifting to let's lock down where we can.
With Alexander Lukashenko still in possession and Belarus opposition activists plan their next moves. Thailand's rules against insulting the monarchy land six campaigners in hot water. And it's 40 years since the release of fame, a film that did so much to shape the 1980s.
For decades, military coups have been a feature of politics in West Africa, but the soldiers in Mali who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to step down say they won't remain in power for long. They've promised to hand over to a transitional civilian government ahead of new elections. The televised announcement was made by Colonel Major Ismail Swaggy, who does not hold an event.
As of today, the 19th of August 2020, all air and land borders are closed until further notice. A curfew is in place from nine p.m. to five a.m. The continuity of public services will be ensured.
Earlier, President Carter announced his resignation on state TV after he and his prime minister had been forcibly detained. The action by the soldiers follows months of large scale protests calling for the head of state to resign. Isakov Jim is a spokesman for the opposition June the 5th Coalition.
The people of Sirte must give more to the people. Young people have come out in huge numbers to Independence Square to protest, and today everyone is trying to reject this corrupt and criminal regime. But we remain convinced there is no alternative to democracy. Our fight is democratic. We have been protesting against the president democratically since the 5th of June. People inside the country and those in the diaspora have rejected this regime. So it brings us back to this question of mutiny, which I think insults the people of Mali.
Many Malians have been celebrating on the streets following the president's announcement. I asked our West Africa correspondent, Schicchi Elinda, why this military takeover seems to have popular backing.
Well, it's popular for a number of reasons. Number one, that Mali has a really bad economic situation, is really fighting against a number of different factors. And covid, as we know, has hampered a lot of governments around the world. Mali is not exempt from that. Number two, people did not feel that the last election held in 2018, the outcome was a fair result, even though the economic community of West African states have joined forces to try and mitigate some negotiations, to try and get the opposition and the government to talk and negotiate hasn't worked.
So therefore, the president was forced to step down. Another huge problem that is occurring that will have a ripple effect across Africa is the increasing militant violence from jihadists in the Sahel region is getting worse and it is getting further and widespread. Mali is seen as one of The Jump-Off points, if you like, from where jihadis spring and it's crossing borders into Nigeria, into Niger, into Burkina Faso. And people will become displaced as they try to flee from that violence.
They may try and make their way to European shores. So that's one of the other big reasons that the EU and Mali's former colonial rule of France have condemned this armed action. And they want peace in that region.
And, of course, the military powers have promised a transitional government and new elections. But based on what you're seeing there, it sounds like there is a risk to Mali from the Islamists.
And indeed, because without a stable government, they can take over and cause even more violence and more trouble, not just, as I said, in that country, in the region as a whole. And you're right, we don't know particularly who's in charge of the armed forces that have taken over. They did say that they plan to install a transitional government. How that will look, who will head it, how it will operate. We're still yet to find out.
They also have decided to call themselves the National Committee for the Salvation of the People and said that they decided to take responsibility in front of the people and of history. What we do know is that it does seem to be small groups within the armed forces in Mali. So that's their army, their air force, who have come forward and said that they were just sick and tired of the things that were going on. There also seems to be an issue over pay and not being paid to try and deal with the jihadist militants that have been operating in that region.
That stretches into our West Africa. Correspondent Jill Biden has been officially nominated as the Democratic Party's candidate for November's U.S. presidential election. The second evening of the party convention, which is being held remotely heard from, among others, former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. Here's our North America correspondent Peter Bowes.
This was the night that Joe Biden has been working towards for decades, the seal of approval from his party to run for the White House with leadership is the theme to former Democratic presidents spoke to rally the troops.
Jimmy Carter sent an audio message while Bill Clinton lashed out at Donald Trump. You have to decide whether to renew his contract or someone else. If you want a president who defines the job as spending hours a day watching TV and zapping people on social media, is your man annoying, distracting and demeaning works great if you're trying to entertain or inflame. But in a real crisis, it collapses like a house of cards.
The night again featured prominent Republicans backing Mr. Biden over Donald Trump, the widow of John McCain. The senator and one time Republican presidential candidate shared a video celebrating her husband's 30 year friendship with Mr Biden, a show of support from the wife of one of Donald Trump's harshest critics. The night's keynote speaker was Jill Biden, who spent eight years as America's second lady when her husband was vice president, a lifelong teacher hoping to become the next first lady. She reintroduced herself to the country and laid out the case for a new family in the White House.
So many classrooms are quiet right now. The playgrounds are still. But if you listen closely, you can hear the sparks of change in the air across this country. Educators, parents, first responders, Americans of all walks of life are putting their shoulders back, fighting for each other. We haven't given up. We just need leadership worthy of our nation.
The main business of the night was the roll call without the usual convention center razzamatazz coming to you.
Live from the Wisconsin Center, it's time to begin our virtual trip around America.
I am honored to cast Connecticut's 75 votes for our next president, Joe Biden. In Alaska.
It is a revamped and speeded up format for primetime TV and 24 votes for our next president, Joe Biden. Quickfire contributions from sea to shining sea and 11 votes for our next president, Joe Biden, with Democrats from all 57 U.S. states and territories pledging delegates to their chosen candidate and 50 votes for our next president of the United States, Mr..
The result was never in doubt, Peter Bowes, our North America correspondent, Israel's military says its warplanes bombed the Gaza Strip overnight after Palestinians fired a rocket into southern Israel. The latest exchange came as Israel warned the Islamist group Hamas, which governs Gaza, that it was risking war by failing to stop the launch of incendiary balloons into Israeli territory. From Jerusalem, Yolande Knell reports.
Since last week, several rockets have been launched by Palestinian militants in Gaza and many balloons with explosives and incendiary devices attached that have caused dozens of fires in southern Israel. Israel's responded by bombing what it says are Hamas military targets in Gaza. It's banned fishing boats from going out to sea and is only allowing humanitarian goods through Gaza's one commercial crossing with no fuel deliveries. The sole power plant in Gaza has shut. Israel's president, Reuben Rivlin, visiting the south of the country, said Hamas should know it wasn't playing a game.
If they want war, they'll get war, he said. Egyptian mediators have had talks in Gaza and Israel on restoring calm. Analysts say that Hamas is trying to pressure Israel to ease its blockade of Gaza, which it says it imposes for security reasons, and to secure more aid from Qatar.
Yolande Knell in Jerusalem, the chief negotiator for Colombia's biggest left wing guerrilla army. The airline has told the BBC that it's prepared to resume negotiations with the Colombian government, but only if it drops its preconditions. Talks in Cuba were frozen last year after an 11 car bomb attack on a police station near Bogota in which 23 people were killed. The airlines lead negotiator, Pablo Beltran, spoke to the BBC's Will Grant in Havana.
The collapse of peace negotiations in January 2019 between the airline and the Colombian government appeared so definitive that it seemed unlikely they could be revived. However, the lead negotiator for the left wing rebel group, Pablo Beltran, told the BBC in Havana the talks can be saved if the government of President Evandale Kiir shows more flexibility and political will. For example, he said, the Colombian government had made 17 demands of the PLN in order to return to talks. If you imposed 17 preconditions, said Pablo Beltran.
What you're saying is that you don't want to talk. Among them was a demand that the group releases its remaining hostages. But Mr. Beltran said that if the Colombian state was serious about peace, it would offer to release some of the jailed L.N. members in return. In truth, the timing alone makes a return to the negotiating table difficult. President Dukas disinclined to talk to the Yelgun, which is the oldest guerrilla group in Latin America at the best of times.
However, during the coronavirus pandemic, and with his political mentor, Alvaro Uribe, under house arrest, it is not currently an issue which the Duke administration appears interested in pursuing.
Will grant with that report from Havana. In Northern Ireland, Gaelic football is a popular sport. It features 15 players on each side on a large rectangular pitch, and it has similarities with both soccer and rugby. In a way, it looks like a mixture of the two games and a group of seasonal fishermen from Ghana who work at the harbor and hourglass have been training with the local Gaelic football club. One of the men, Edward Kwaku the Daunia, and Ruth Curran, the club's secretary, tell us their story.
I came to work as a fisherman. Now why don't I give it a try?
Then we had about 30 boys from Ghana. They moved to the village about a year ago to work on the fishing boats.
This is the sea now and then. This is the boat. I'm a seafarer by profession. This is the summer time and this is the hard time. I've got work. So I go out fishing five days a week from the boat to work. It's more like a triangle life, really.
I was contacted by the social team in the community just to see if there was any way that we could maybe use our facilities. And then we met and we were talking about Gaelic and we were having a bit of banter about how you have to be like when you my Dakhla, that's where it all sort of started to kick off. We got our senior manager for a bit of a training session.
So like basic skills with them was our first time on the Gaelic Football Club. At that point I was like, how can I play football with my hand in my leg? They started introducing the game, how to hold the ball bounce really kick. I was like, oh, when I was in high school. I play handball before. It's nothing new to me. I've been in the watching before the school, but ah.
Is that we have a fantastic opportunity to promote the health and well-being of everybody in our community, and that includes those guys from Ghana.
I've got a real community, you know, where people come to retirement, old fishermen and retired people. And it's a nice community. I consider it one of the best ways of supporting Edward Kwaku Xinyu.
And earlier, we heard from Ruth Curran.
Still to come in this edition of our podcast, India's Supreme Court has ordered a new investigation into the death of a popular Bollywood actor, Sushant Singh Rajput.
As we record this podcast, President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus is reported to have ordered the country's interior ministry to end the unrest that erupted in Minsk following his disputed election victory. The reports say he's also insisting that state media workers who joined the protests won't be allowed back to work and has ordered heightened security at the country's borders. Meanwhile, opposition leaders are trying to find a way forward after 10 days of protests. Their defeated presidential candidate, Svetlana Chikarovski, speaking from exile in Lithuania, urged European Union leaders not to recognize what she said were fraudulent elections.
I call on you not to recognize this fraudulent elections. Mr. Lukashenko has lost all the legitimacy in the eyes of our nation and the world in order to facilitate the peaceful transition of power in my country. I have initiated the National Coordination Council of Belarus. It will lead the process of the peaceful transition of power via dialogue, the video, a statement came ahead of a meeting of EU leaders.
Our correspondent in Minsk is Joanna Fischer.
And there are some signs this morning the authorities may have had enough of seeing protesters do pretty much what they want on the streets. For the last few days, there have been large numbers of demonstrators and strikers marching around the main streets of Minsk, pretty much without any trouble from the authorities there. There seems to have been a decision taken to take a step back and not have the sort of confrontations that we saw a week or so ago when people were being arrested this morning while we were just outside state television a moment or so ago.
That has been a rallying point for demonstrators over the last couple of days. This morning, the police were there. They had sealed off the road outside state TV. So they clearly don't want people to rally there. Again, I'm outside the National Theater now, which also has been a rallying point over the last few days. There is now a small demonstration taking place of supporters of the national theater, people singing outside the theater. For now, that demonstration seems to be being tolerated by the authorities.
I can't see any trouble, but there is something of a sense today that the atmosphere, the tactics of the Belarusian authorities might be shifting to let's lock down where we can. The opposition is, of course, being spearheaded by Svetlana Tekin of SKYA. What's her position, though? What does she want? The issue really for Svetlana Turchynov skier is she is in exile in Lithuania. She puts out a statement this morning to talk about what's called the coordinating council.
Now, she has nominated about 35 names of prominent figures here, journalists, among them businesspeople, politicians. They are, according to take enough Sky, are going to be negotiating the transition of power from the Belarusian authorities to the opposition. They are due to meet in the next few hours. President Lukashenko is, as you might imagine, not happy about that. He's been saying some pretty angry things, saying it's illegal against the Constitution, that they just want to seize power effectively.
He sees it as something of a coup d'état. So we're just going to have to see through the rest of the day here whether the opposition can successfully hold that meeting of the coordinating council as they do. It's really a new direction for the opposition to move in, because what we've seen over the last 10 days or so is a rising number of people coming out on the streets, some strikes. But President Lukashenko very much still in control of the apparatus whereby people can, you know, keep a handle on things, the police, the military, the security agencies, the army having been built up by him over the last 26 years, his 26 years in power.
He's very much got loyal people in there. And there's no sign at the moment that they are suggesting to him or indeed splintering in any way and telling him to go join official.
Speaking to me from Minsk, six campaigners for constitutional reform in Thailand have fallen foul of draconian rules designed to protect the country's monarchy from any hint of criticism. For more on this story, I spoke to our Asia Pacific editor, Michael Bristow.
There have been almost daily anti-government protests in Thailand over the last month or so, but these six particular student leaders, protest leaders, have had arrest warrants issued against them because of a particular rally a week ago in which they call for reform of the monarchy. Now, in Thailand, the monarchy is usually a topic that's taboo. It's a big discussion. This appears to have angered the authorities. So they're being issued with arrest warrants. Interestingly, in Thailand, you can get 15 years in prison for insulting the monarchy, but they've not been charged with doing that.
They face other charges, such as sedition, breaking computer crime laws and also breaking laws introduced to bring social distancing for the coronavirus, it appears, or that the attack on the monarchy, which is causing the problem.
Could you remind us then why the monarchy is such a sensitive subject in Thailand, especially when you think of it, other countries with monarchies which allow criticism?
Indeed, partly because the monarchy has played such a central role in Thai politics until the 1930s, it was an absolute monarchy. Since then, it's been a constitutional monarchy where the king is head of state, but a central role in politics. That rule has been above discussion, really because of very strict laws, majesté laws introduced in Thailand, and they've been enforced quite draconian over recent decades, partly by conservative governments in line with the military who sought to use the king and his position to show their own political point of view and their own government.
And so up until now, there's been no real discussion about the monarchy. In Thailand, there have, however, been almost daily protests against the government for several weeks now. What sparked them? If you go back a few years, Thailand was a democracy, a very active and vibrant democracy. But following a military coup in 2014, that all stopped. There were elections last year. But essentially, many people, particularly young people, students, feel that the country just isn't as democratic as before.
They're not having their voices heard. And so they're calling for not just reform of the monarchy, but also the current government to step down. A change in the constitution, a real overhaul of the whole political system. So it looks as though the government, what they're doing with these arrest warrants now is trying to nip that all in the bud.
Michael Bristow, our Asia Pacific editor fighting coronavirus can be risky for doctors anywhere, but especially in Egypt. More than 150 medics are now thought to have died of the virus. Often, it's claimed, because of a lack of personal protective equipment. And that's not the only hazard. Since March, more than 70 people, many of whom work in medicine, have been arrested for criticizing the government's handling of the pandemic. Our correspondent Mike Thompson has been speaking to some Egyptian doctors.
I have a friend who said that he's very discussed about masks are not available because of this. He's in jail for four months now.
The surgeon, Dr. Mohammed FATA Awad, fled to the U.K. four years ago after being sentenced to a year in jail for criticizing the Egyptian military's claims, later ridiculed that they had a machine that could cure HIV AIDS, hepatitis and other viruses.
If you are a doctor in Egypt, you have the choice either to die in peace and silence or to suppress, and then you go to jail.
This is the two options you have. Dr. FATA Awad was president of a group called Thoraya Doctors, named after their efforts to treat people injured during protests in the Cairo square of the same name. Now it seems that doctors need help themselves. Dr. Ibrahim Elzbieta is a member of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate Council, which has been fighting to get medics adequate PPE.
The Egyptian medical syndicate asked the government to offer the supplies to protect the work in the medical field. But look at is the mortality for the doctors, which are reaching 150 for 154.
Doctors have died of covid-19. Yes, yes. That's not all the doctors.
Although because there is no government statistics, though, the Egyptian government does have statistics on the numbers of people now contracting covid-19, which it says show a big fall. I asked Dr. FATA Awad if he accepts that claim. He gave this guarded response.
The politics have a dominant hand on all the Ministry of Health and the government news.
That makes it particularly sensitive to the government, doesn't it? Yeah, and for me, because my colleague now the cause of social media.
So if your colleagues are in jail for speaking out on social media. Yeah, yeah. I sense you worry that you could be next if you answer all the things I'm asking you.
Definitely. Yes. Yet while the government has been getting tough on dissenting doctors and other critics, it seemed less intent on enforcing basic cosied codes on the country's streets. Clear cardiologist Doctor Honey Araji works in Cairo.
People did not observe the lockdown. We still have amazing Cairo traffic jams. People were still meeting where I live. The people are getting their drivers and house cleaners to come from wherever they are live every day. And they call this a lockdown. Of course, it's not a lockdown.
I just felt like I'd been sucker punched and I found myself gasping for breath.
British expat Sarah Loped, who's lived in Egypt for over a decade, is now slowly recovering from covid-19. She can't understand why doctors, one of whom saved her life, are being treated so badly when risking theirs.
These doctors understand far better than some government officials what medically needs to be done. And if it's not being done correctly, then they need to shout about it.
Cerillo to ending that report from Egypt by Mike Thompson. The Supreme Court in India has ordered the Central Investigating Agency to look into the death of a popular Bollywood actor, Sushant Singh Rajput. He was found dead at his home in Mumbai in June in what police described as a suicide. Charro Shahani reports.
Foshan Singh Rajputs death led to a frenzy of speculation among his fans and fellow actors. The initial inquiry by the Mumbai police became a political and emotive issue, drawing in the actor's family and girlfriend and police and politicians in the state of Maestre, where he died and his home state, Bihar Fashion Singh, Rajputs father filed a case accusing his girlfriend, the actor Chakrabarty, of mentally harassing and cheating him financially while she made counter allegations against his family. The Supreme Court said an unbiased investigation would result.
And Justice for Innocence Sharu.
Finally, it was the film that launched a dozen musical careers and was followed by a hugely popular TV series. And of course, the legwarmers fashion trend theme is celebrating its fortieth birthday. The film made more than 40 million dollars at the box office, which was a lot in 1980, and it was one of the defining movies of the decade.
Charlie Gallagher has been looking at his success for Coco, which the stardom for Ralph. It's a chance for Leroy. It's survival for Lisa. It's the dance.
This is our big chance, man. Don't you want success?
Fame produced one of the most iconic scenes in cinema history when the characters piled out of school and began dancing on top of New York's famous yellow taxis. The Oscar winning soundtrack features songs like this. This went under. And of course, this, but the film is more than fluffy scenes and dance rehearsals, it tackles subjects that in the 1980s were rarely discussed in mainstream media homosexuality, abortion and suicide.
The film was directed by Alan Parker, who was known for his gritty films like Midnight Express and Mississippi Burning. Parker had planned to shoot the film at New York's High School of Performing Arts, where the story was set but was stopped by city officials because of the content of the script. In the years that followed, there was a spinoff TV show and a stage version shows like Glee and High School Musical, also Odetta. The film, though, both shied away from the grittiness that makes fame so unique.
That report was by Charlotte Gallagher. 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 edition or any of the topics we covered in it. Send us an e-mail. The address is Global Podcast at BBC, DOT CEO, Dot UK. I'm Jonathan Savage. And until next time, goodbye.
How was it that a man who wanted to help the world ended up conceiving and developing the world's first atomic bomb? How did the magic and beauty of scientific discovery become a force for destruction and despair? I'm Emily Strasser, and for years I've been troubled by the fact that my own grandfather worked on the bomb that killed hundreds of thousands in Hiroshima 75 years ago to try and make sense of it all. I've been tracing the career of Leo Szilard, a physicist who came up with the idea of a nuclear chain reaction and campaigned for the development of the bomb only to then campaign for it not to be used.
You can hear his story and Mine in the Bomb, a podcast from the BBC World Service. Just search for the bomb wherever you get your podcast.