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This is the Global News podcast from the BBC World Service.
I'm Nick Miles. These are our main stories. The BBC has obtained videos filmed in secret by the daughter of the ruler of Dubai in which she says she's being held captive by her family. A court in the Netherlands has ordered the government to lift a nationwide coronavirus curfew that sparked civil unrest. The military in Myanmar has attempted to placate public anger at its seizure of power by saying that it will eventually hold new elections.
Also in this broadcast, the Cuban covid vaccine program that could save lives and fill government coffers is already .
Is already in phase two clinical trials they aim to vaccinate everyone on the island by the end of the year. In fact, there are ambitious plans to export it to the rest of Latin America.
And Prince Harry and Meghan are interviewed by Oprah Winfrey. Will it make the palace blush? Princess Latifah, the daughter of the ruler of Dubai, has revealed she is being held prisoner by her father, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in 2018, the princess attempted to flee to the United States, but she was detained on a boat off India and returned to Dubai. The BBC has obtained recordings from Tifa where she explained her plight.
And I'm a hostage, and this villa has been converted into a jail. All the windows are barred. Should they can't open any window open by myself. Solitary confinement, no access to medical help, no child, no charge, nothing.
The former Irish president and UN human rights commissioner Mary Robinson had said Princess Latifa was in the loving care of her family, but now admits she was wrong.
I was misled initially by my good friend Princess Higher because she was misled. I began to explain that the TSA had quite a serious bipolar problem and they were saying to me, very kind of in a way that was very convincing. We don't want the TSA to go through any further trauma. I didn't know how to address somebody who was bipolar about their trauma, but I really didn't actually want to talk to her and increase the trauma over a nice lunch.
More from our Arabic's special correspondent, Noel McCarthy. All we know, Nic, is what she's told us in those videos, that she's being held in solitary confinement in this villa in central Dubai. That phone that she was sending these messages out to her friends on went silent a few months ago. And ever since then, we haven't heard anything from Princess Latifah. We don't know what her situation is right now. We don't know if she's still being held there.
And we just don't know what conditions are like for her right now.
And remind us why, if we know in detail why did she flee in the first place?
So Princess Latifah said she filmed this video before she made this attempt in 2018, where she talks about how she's living a very restricted life in Dubai. She can't travel, she can't drive. She can't go anywhere without guards with her. It was a very difficult life. And she just really wanted to start a new life for herself abroad.
She is not the only one to have had difficulties with her family.
Does she know? Actually, so we know that, for example, her stepmother, Princess Haigha, fled Dubai as well last year. And she came here to the U.K. with with Sheik Mohammed Al Maktoum, two children, and also her sister, Princess Scamps. She attempted to flee in 2000, the year 2000, 20 years ago.
But she was also recaptured from Cambridge here in the U.K. and taken back to Dubai and going back to the tiffy's video and the fact that Mary Robinson had tea with her and that seemed to sort of diffuse the situation then as far as the royal family was concerned. And what does that say now about the current situation and how Dubai will react to this?
It was really crucial that lunch with Mary Robinson because we'd known that she was recaptured on the Indian Ocean because her friends put forward that video she filmed before she she fled so that life was really important and showing the world that she was still alive. And also the statement made by Mary Robinson saying that she was well, but that she's a troubled young lady went everywhere. So these messages that we're putting out today clarify what happened that day, clarify how she was tricked, Mary Robinson, but also how Princess Latifah was duped into this lunch as well.
So it's really, really important to know, McGuffey.
A court in the Netherlands has ordered the government to lift a nationwide coronavirus curfew that sparked days of civil unrest.
It was the first curfew in the country since the Second World War and sparked several days of riots when it was initially introduced on the 21st of January. Here's Anna Holligan in The Hague.
Well, it tells you how unexpected this decision was when even the group that brought this case is surprised by the decision. So basically, the court looked at the reasons for introducing the curfew and the legal basis for those. So essentially in court, they said the government implemented the curfew based on a law which states that the cabinet can introduce rules in an emergency without consulting parliament in the Senate, according to the court. The curfew was brought in in response to something that didn't constitute an emergency.
And they used the example of a dike being breached. And they said the evidence for this was that it was discussed in advance of this 9pm p.m. stay at home order and the government can still appeal against it. Of course, the justice minister has said he's looking at the ruling before deciding what to do. There's been a loss of celebration, though. You know, this is one of the most controversial measures as part of the fight against covid-19 here in the Netherlands that the riots, protests.
And there has been quite a bit of celebration from opposition parties, so the leader of the Freedom Party, the populist Freedom Party, Geert Wilders, has responded on Twitter saying good news, end of curfew. I've always said the curfew is disproportionate. Somebody else has tweeted from the dank party, long live the rule of law. This is the threat posed by covid-19 the emergency situation. This is purely a legal ruling based on the way in which the Dutch government introduced the curfew by invoking this emergency law.
When the district court in The Hague has ruled there was no emergency to justify this at a holiday in Cuba, meanwhile, will soon launch the third phase of clinical trials on its own coronavirus vaccine produced by government scientists on the communist run island. The government hopes that the vaccine will not only end Cuba's covid-19 crisis, but become an important source of revenue for the cash strapped nation as well. Last year, Cuba had largely contained its outbreaks. But after the country reopened to tourism, the number of deadly infections and coronavirus related deaths rose to its highest point so far.
From Havana will grant reports.
Some of the equipment to Havana's Findlay Institute may be a little outdated, but the science itself is cutting edge as hundreds of files pass through a sorting machine. They're part of Cuba's greatest hope for a solution to its coronavirus crisis. So Barnardos, Cuba's domestically produced covid-19 vaccine made entirely in Cuba by Cuban researchers. Shobana DOS is a conjugate vaccine, meaning an antigen is fused to a carrier molecule to bolster the vaccine's stability and effectiveness. The island has much experience in this field, having developed the Meningitis B vaccine in the late 1980s with the same approach.
Certainly the communist run government is confident Ceberano doses. The solution is already in phase two clinical trials, and they aim to vaccinate everyone on the island by the end of the year. In fact, says the director of the Finley Institute, Dr. Vicente Alvarez Bencomo, there are ambitious plans to export it to the rest of Latin America, going to commercial production facilities.
We are planning to have in the order of 100 million doses during 2021 and certainly all the important part of these doses to the full immunization of the. For that to happen, it will need the help of other nations, Dr. Vares says it's too early in the relationship with the Biden administration for the US to play a role just yet.
Our main contact with Europe and Canada. So we have people participating in our summit over from Italy and France for not today with the US. We hope that in the future it will be possible we move to our next step of potential cooperation.
For many Cubans, the vaccine can't come soon enough. The outbreak in Cuba was largely contained by the middle of last year after the government imposed strict measures from a curfew in Havana to door to door health checks and an aggressive track and trace program. Anyone merely showing symptoms was placed into state run quarantine centers, as well as anyone returning from abroad. Almost all flights were halted, and tourism, the lifeblood of the island's economy, ground to a halt. However, eventually the economic picture became so bleak the government had to reopen.
Now visitors must take an obligatory PCR test at the airport and at least in theory, remain in home quarantine for eight days. Since the reopening, though, the transmission figures in coronavirus related deaths in Cuba have crept up to their worst point since the pandemic began.
Well, not all of us would go in the government's daily televised updates.
The covid-19 statistics have steadily risen to more than a thousand cases a day, tiny in comparison to some nations like Mexico, Brazil or the US, but still more than is comfortable for Cuba's overstretched health service will grant.
South Korea's spy agency has told lawmakers that North Korea attempted to break into the computer systems of the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer to steal coronavirus vaccine information. One of the MPs at the closed door briefing by Seoul's National Intelligence Service, or Niasse, said that they had been told that several drug manufacturers had been targeted by North Korea.
Laura Becker reports.
Pyongyang has an army of well trained hackers, which it uses to try to make money while under strict economic sanctions. The regime has always claimed to have no cases of covid-19. But the Niasse said it couldn't rule out that there had been an outbreak at some point as the North had trade and other exchanges with China before closing the border early last year.
Laura Becker. It is nearly a year since Prince Harry and his wife Megan walked away from the British monarchy, now living in Northern California. The couple have announced that they'll record an interview with the broadcaster Oprah Winfrey. Our royal correspondent Johnny Diamond. Tell me what we were expecting from the interview.
We have an idea of the format and the kinds of topics they're going to be covered. We understand that the interview, which, as you say, will be carried out by Oprah Winfrey, huge celebrity in the US and someone who lives rather close to Megan and Harry in California. She will sit down, first of all, with the duchess, with Megan and cover everything it says. So says CBS, the network that's publishing it cover everything from stepping into life as a royal marriage, motherhood, philanthropic work, and how she is handling life under intense public pressure.
Presumably, the recently announced pregnancy will also be discussed. And then once that discussion has been done, there will be a discussion that takes in also the duke that is Prince Harry. He'll take part in a chat about looking forward to the future, about what future projects might be.
But as to the tone or tenor or the kinds of revelations that there might be in this interview, we do not know, John.
It's not hard to pick up on a bit of a contradiction here, is it? The couple have requested privacy, but they're doing this. It'll just create more interest, obviously.
Yeah, I mean, they have asked for privacy and certainly in certain parts of their lives. The duchess recently won a pretty important court case here in the UK where she sued one of the major newspaper groups for publishing what was clearly a private letter between her and her father. But at the same time, they wish to, yes, maintain their celebrity, maintain their profile, which is pretty critical to the kinds of media deals that they are striking left, right and center in the US.
And, you know, their people say there's not much contradiction between that. They're allowed to have a degree of privacy. They're allowed to have privacy around their child in particular, but they wish to maintain a public profile and lead a public life.
Briefly, the mere fact that they're doing this interview will have an impact on their position in the royal family. I don't think so.
I mean, I think their position in the royal family is that they are private members of the family. They are not working members of the royal family. There's a review of that situation. And a couple of weeks time, I think we know what the direction of travel is. They are not coming back to the UK at any time in the foreseeable future and forged an independent path. Jonny Dymond.
Still to come at the beach, the temperatures minus six Celsius at the beach, there's snow on the beach, there are snowmen on the beach.
The big freeze on the Texan Riviera.
They deposed her and now the military generals in Myanmar are trying to make certain that on San Suu Kyi never returned to the role of de facto president, they've outlined a new charge against her as her supporters continue to come out onto the streets. The BBC has spoken to one doctor in Yangon who didn't want to be identified. He said that people were united in their determination to oppose military rule.
We are planning to shut down every government that does at the end of this, if every so does the government shut down. We hope we can win. Of course, we are very off balance. But if we accept this right now, our next generation will be worse than that. So we have to fight.
Meanwhile, the military has again tried to undermine the people opposed to the coup. A spokesperson for the military generals, or Mintu, said they are inciting violence, attacking police and pressuring civil servants to stay away from work. He also said the armed forces plan to hand back power to a winning party following a planned election. Our correspondent in the region, Jonathan Haidt, was watching.
They've made it clear this is a short term coup to fix what they say was a problem and the way the election was held and that they will restore power to an elected government and hold an election. Timing is difficult. I mean, they've given them they've given themselves a one year state of emergency, but they could easily extend that. But critically, they have to disable Aung San Suu Kyi and her party. I imagine that middle line and the generals who carried out this coup now believe that allowing her to contest in the political arena, as they did 10 years ago, was a mistake, because at the time, they assumed with their guaranteed quarter of the seats in parliament, that their own party would win enough seats to make sure they they had a big role in forming a government.
But Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party did so well, it's been able to form single party governments and push quite hard on issues that are sensitive for the military, like reform of their powers under the Constitution. And it seems they've decided that's a mistake. So, you know, we're seeing attempts. I think we can easily interpret it this way, to delegitimize Aung San Suu Kyi with these rather ludicrous criminal charges. They're fighting against the one of supposedly having unlicensed walkie talkies in her house when they arrested her.
And they've now at the beginning of what looks like a trial process, they've applied a second charge of violating covid-19 restrictions. And I imagine they will use this legal process as a justification for disqualifying her from contesting in the future election.
Meanwhile, Jonathan, on the streets, increasingly diverse tactics being used in this campaign of civil disobedience.
It's been quite interesting. We've seen one or two big protests, but mostly what we're seeing is lots of different groups organizing themselves initially to come out and protest against the military. But it's gone beyond that. Now they're calling for anyone involved in government service of any kind to withdraw their cooperation, to show that this regime is illegitimate and it is having an impact. Lots of workers are organizing themselves, abandoning their desks or whatever else they're doing. We've seen railway workers refusing to run trains, even ordinary people coming out on the line to block trains.
Health services have been very badly affected. Doctors were among the first to join in the civil disobedience campaign and that we've seen banks almost ceasing to function and people panic, withdrawing money from various bank branches. Many banks are now shut down. So it's an interesting tactic, is one to which the military doesn't have an immediate answer. And I think it's a question now of whether they can in any way use force to try and stop this movement. And that's proving very difficult for them and how long each side can hold out.
You know, whether people can keep this up for long enough where the military perhaps feels it's no longer running a functioning government.
Jonathan Head universities are meant to be great institutions, palaces of ideas where facts are established and theories developed. But the British government is worried it's creating a free speech champion to ensure that English universities don't stifle freedom of speech on the grounds of censoring views that some students might not welcome. The BBC's Jonathan Savage reports.
The concept of no platforming is becoming familiar, refusing to allow a speaker to take part in an event or debate because their views are simply too unpalatable or extreme for public consumption. How big a problem is it?
Universities do have a legal right to uphold freedom of debate, and they dismally failed to do so.
Well, I have spoken to hundreds of universities and colleges. There's no platform policies are quite rare.
Those two people engaging in a civilized debate on the BBC might know a thing or two about it. Professor Selina Todd, an Oxford University academic and gay rights activist. Peter Tatchell. Have both been targeted by no platform protests there, talking in the wake of the U.K. government announcing plans to appoint someone to regulate matters such as no platforming with the education secretary Gavin Williamson, warning of what he calls a chilling effect on campuses. Professor Selina Todd had a conference invitation withdrawn because of her stance on trans rights.
Lobby groups like Stonewall pressurise institutions to write policies that say you cannot have debate on certain issues. The alleged claim being that by people like me articulating my view that sex is biological, it's not assigned at birth, that I am doing literal harm to trans people, and that is just not right.
But Peter Tatchell has no problem with students objecting to his presence.
This person then have to refuse to share a platform with me. If you had every right to refuse, that can't be a compulsion. I think the government's decision to have this freedom of speech is, ah, or champion does look like part of this cynical culture war, driving a wedge and securing political advantage.
British MPs have also raised concerns about the Chinese embassy, contacting academics, pressuring them to disinvite speakers or withhold political comments.
Of course, this is not just a British issue, here's conservative American economist Arthur Laffer being shut down at Binghampton University in 2019 of being murdered by his administration.
We've seen former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice withdraw from a graduation ceremony after protests over her presence to we don't yet know who will become the U.S. government's free speech czar or when they'll start work.
But with some students, groups and trade unions denying any problem exists, they can expect to get involved in some heated debates themselves. Jonathan Savage reporting. A Spanish rapper who barricaded himself in at a Catalan university to avoid a prison sentence has been arrested by police. Pablo Hazelle was given until last Friday to turn himself in after being sentenced to nine months for sending a series of online messages glorifying terrorism and slandering the crown and state institutions. Danielle Wittenburg reports.
Purcell locked himself inside a university building in Yeeda, his hometown in western Catalonia, with him, about 20 helpers came prepared and fortified the doors with furniture.
At first, the police didn't intervene, but Hazelle warned if they wanted to jail him, they'd have to break in.
She on in a moment. So I'll keep spreading my message and I always will. Even if it gives me a prison sentence, because refusing to comply with unfair sentences is the only way to move forward in the struggle for change.
Hassan's case has sparked protests in Yeeda as well as Barcelona and Madrid. More than 200 artists, including director Pedro Almodovar and Hollywood actor Javier Bardem, have signed a petition for his sentence to be dropped. And in many cities there has been an explosion of posters and graffiti defending herself.
Sunday's cast on Election Day parties who support independence a majority in its parliament and for the first time, over 50 percent of the vote long before independence became a political prospect. Catalans often express their difference to the rest of Spain through radical art forms. And after a decade of arguments between governments, that cultural tension still remains.
Daniel Whittenberg, it sounds like the plot of an Agatha Christie novel dozens of thefts on a tiny remote island where all the inhabitants are potential suspects. Oh, and there's also only three police officers on the island.
Charlotte Gallagher reports. Lying 62 kilometres from the coast of Tuscany, the island of Caprica boasts an ancient fortress, vineyards and crystal clear waters with only 400 residents. It's one of those places where people could leave their front door and locked. Well, until now, a crime spree involving a string of thefts has seen inhabitants installing security cameras and eyeing their once trusted neighbours with suspicion. And it appears whoever is behind the robberies isn't an amateur. The island's tobacco shop had more than 70000 dollars stolen from a safe after the CCTV camera was disabled.
In another case, a guard dog was beaten. The deputy mayor was also a victim. Jewelry and cash was stolen from his home. He told a newspaper that the island was so close knit it felt like there was a thief in the family car. Prior does have a history with crime, though. The island was a penal colony for prisoners until 35 years ago.
Charlotte Gallagher today is Mardi Gras in the US city of New Orleans. But how do you celebrate the famous carnival during the pandemic? Festivities have been cancelled, but residents apparently aren't giving. In Virginia, Salsa is a member of the Muses Parade Group. Her home along the parade route usually overflows with people this time of year.
Normally that this time of year I would just be having my guests leaving tonight on Lundy Gras. I'd be helping my cousin's kids put together costumes for tomorrow.
We'd still be making cocktails, waiting for traffic to subside.
This would have been going on for the past week and a half.
It would have been a little bit like the sort of the night before Christmas, what sense of anticipation it is.
But people don't realise the parades start almost two weeks in advance of Mardi Gras day and there every single night. So there's parties every single night, an open house at my house along the parade route for two weeks.
I can't imagine a bigger contrast than what's it what's it like now? Is it just your household now or I mean, no one's allowed in. What are the rules?
Well, actually, I did have a friend came over the other night for Musa's night, Muse's Thursday, and I had a friend that quarantined in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and drove in and stayed with me. We went around the city and handed shoes out to people with glitter shoes and Muse's. We take old high heeled shoes and decorate them.
So this is your thing, is it? So that carried on in the signature through.
Yeah, actually we have about 1500 members of the group Musa's All Women. Women went ahead and made their shoes and we surprised people. We had we were all shoe fairies and we popped up in different places, gave shoes out to health care workers in hospitals, but people collect them. So getting a 20 21 shoe when there was no parade, oh, became an instant task.
That's going to be very valuable. I hope they don't make their way straightaway to eBay.
But listen, what is actually this also went around and donated food and did other things throughout the community all week.
So this is what I was wondering. Where does your energy go into? Because this is such a big thing, you must be used to it year after year, building up to it, and there's nothing to build up to. So what are you doing? Are you finding virtual work around? So what? Well, we auctioned off some shoes, we raised seventeen thousand dollars for the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, auctioning off four shoes.
So shoes are the theme. I didn't know that shoes were so important with Mardi Gras heeled shoe. It's just for Muse's, just Muse's. Every crew has a signature throw. The Zulu krewe decorates coconuts and they have for over 100 years and those are treasured. Different organizations have their own signature throw, but the shoe is one of the most popular ones.
What can you do? Is there anything I mean, you mentioned that you had one friend who was able to come over from you. I have.
I had one friend and some people came by, walked past the house. I have my house is decorated as a house float. And so some neighborhood children came by and we threw them off the house.
Oh, you have to throw. So what normally would be a float processing down the street is now your house. It's going nowhere, but it's still afloat.
We went the opposite direction this year. A young woman named Megan Boudreaux came up with the idea in late November that if we can't have parades, let's decorate our houses and people can just parade past, not one to look up a picture of your house.
That sounds it sounds awesome.
Well, there's actually over 3000 house floats decorated in New Orleans. Oh, there's something to look up assumably, you know, of house floats decorated in England.
That was Virginia Saussy talking to my colleague, Lawrence Pallot. The weather in Texas in February is usually mild, but this year, Texans are struggling with an unprecedented freeze, snow and ice cover. Much of that state, which is causing havoc on the roads and power failures, have meant that many people are having to do without heating as well.
More on what it's like in Houston from Frank Billingsley, chief meteorologist at KPRC TV News.
Our normal temperatures right now for low temperatures are about 47 Fahrenheit, which is eight degrees Celsius. And right now, as I speak to you, it's minus seven Celsius. Can you imagine? And I know at the beach, the temperature is minus six Celsius. At the beach, there's snow on the beach. There are snowmen on the beach. Now, we had a freak snow in 2004 and there was a bit of that. There was enough snow to make a few snowmen at the beach.
But it wasn't widespread. It wasn't everywhere. It was sort of one of these anomalies. But this time, you know, the whole state has seen winter weather. We have had all the way to the Mexican border. We have had wind chill advisories and winter storm warning advisories. So wherever you look in Texas this week, we have had winter weather coming through. One of the huge issues across the state is electricity. Believe it or not, all these big windmills that are out in west Texas, Texas has more windmills than any other state in the United States, believe it or not, because everyone thinks it's California, but it's not.
We have much more than California. Well, they're all frozen. And so consequently, our electrical grid that counts on solar power and wind power is down. And even nuclear power, the only power we're getting is from natural gas right now. And so we have here in the Houston area, we have about four million people in one one county and one point three million of them are without power.
And it's minus eight for Paul, Frank Billingsley.
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 we've covered in it, you can send us an email. The address is Global Podcast at BBC Dot Dot. USA Today studio manager was Philip Ball, the producer Allison Davis. And the editor is Karen Martin. I'm Nick Miles. And until next time, goodbye. Hello, I'm Jess Solomon, and I'm Eman al-Hassani, we're the hosts of Comedians versus the News from the BBC World Service.
We're back with the second season, if you haven't heard the show. Here is what it sounds like in 30 seconds. Welcome to the show where your host, a married couple, staying together for this podcast and our dog, Esther. Honey, this week I complained about walking the dog in the cold and just proceeded to show me photos of Russian protesters braving minus 50 degree weather and Russian police. It worked. Now let's check in with global headlines.
We've got time for one engineering company that has taught robots dance moves like the twist and the mashed potato and the robots take over. It'd be nice if some of them were programmed by people that know how to dance. Then we chat to our guests, but they aren't here.
So and that's the show Comedians versus the News from the BBC World Service, except longer with more people, more jokes and more barks financed by certain comedians versus the news wherever you get your podcasts.