Editor's Note: This transcript was automatically transcribed, so mistakes are inevitable. You can contribute by proofreading the transcript or highlighting the mistakes. Sign up to be amongst the first contributors.
Hello, this is the global news podcast from the BBC World Service with reports and analysis from across the world. The latest news, seven days a week. BBC World Service podcasts are supported by advertising.
This is the Global News podcast from the BBC World Service. I'm Jacki Lyden. And in the early hours of Tuesday, the 18th of August, these are our main stories. Protesters have gathered again in Belarus calling for President Lukashenko to resign after the autocratic leader was booed by striking workers. A Brazilian court has ordered social media to remove the personal details of a 10 year old rape victim, which were leaked by an activist opposed to the child having an abortion.
And it's been confirmed that Spain's former King Juan Carlos, who left the country amid a financial scandal, is in the United Arab Emirates, also in this podcast.
It seems like covid-19 has a smell, and if it does, the dogs will be able to do it with very high accuracy.
How dogs can help sniff out covid-19. Many an authoritarian leader claims to rule in the name of the people, but in practice, many seem to rely on centuries old advice by the Italian diplomat Niccolo Machiavelli, who said it's better for a leader to be feared than to be loved. The Belarussian president, Alexander Lukashenko, seems to be losing on both these counts, as the latest protests suggest a lack of love and fear. On Monday, he was booed by workers at a military truck factory as he offered concessions following days of unprecedented demonstrations.
In an open act of defiance, staff at the plant near Minsk chanted for him to leave office after he had dared them to do so.
If someone doesn't want to work and wants to leave, no one will stop you. No one will pressure you. As of today, the gates are open. Excuse me for my unpopular words, but the times are such that I need to speak honestly. Thank you. I've said everything you can shout. Go away.
Andrei Sannikov is a former foreign minister of Belarus and opposition politician. And he says the heckling of Mr. Lukashenko at the factory was a significant indicator of the strength of feeling.
The country is a privilege. The factory. It is the factory that produces the heavy trucks for intercontinental ballistic missiles and for Russia who were paid well. So they have had no reason to go on strike. And the fact that the third of the of the went on strike and the fact that the openness in the face of Lukashenko has to go, it's remarkable, has to be seen as the rejection of the whole population of Belarus, of this dictator.
Mr. Lukashenko said he was willing to put constitutional changes to a referendum and hand over his powers, but not under pressure from protesters who accuse him of stealing last week's presidential elections. Tatiana Tuileries teaches English in Minsk and took part in Monday's protests. So what does she make of President Lukashenko, his offer of new elections?
I don't believe it. He has previously said many times he won't let go of his power. And I think this is just her to gain time because he will have more time organizing the referendum. So maybe more people will be arrested, detained, beaten up, and maybe more people decide to stay inside and not to go out and protest.
Our correspondent Joanna Fischer is in Minsk.
We really seen over the last couple of days any sense of Mr. Lukashenko having much popular support, really being widely discredited, the more than 100000 people on the streets yesterday and then today, these strikes at various different industrial factories around Minsk and also demonstrations outside the state TV headquarters here with some of the employees from state TV taking part and quitting their jobs because they're unhappy with the way the state media has basically been ignoring the many human rights abuses which appear to have been taking place over the last week or so.
He has been offering some concessions, though, hasn't he? Is that about conciliation, do you think? Or is he just trying to buy time?
I think in truth, it's a sign that he's in a pretty desperate place and he doesn't know quite where to go. He was today speaking at points as if he looked like he was willing to concede, talking about the possibility of elections after a new constitution has been put in place. I don't think that that's being taken very seriously by the opposition or the people who've been on the streets the last couple of days. Most people just immediately dismissed it as some sort of ploy to buy himself time.
I think the feeling here is that Mr. Lukashenko is in a very difficult situation, very hard to see how he survives politically. He does, of course, still have what appears to be pretty loyal support from the security agencies here, agencies that are full of people that he has put in place over the last 26 years or so. But I think most people, most observers looking at it now think it's only a matter of time before Mr. Lukashenko is forced out one way or the other.
And the real question is whether it will take place peacefully or whether he will try and hold on through through violent means.
So what about his opponent, Svetlana, taken off Skya? She has said that she is ready to lead Belarus through changes beyond the strength of the street protests that we've been seeing. Is the opposition ready to assume power at the moment?
The opposition platform is is very simple. And perhaps one of that's one of the reasons why they have. Such support around them, effectively, it is political prisoners being released, a new constitution in place and then moves after that has happened to have a fresh election in six months time. So the opposition for now is largely coordinating itself through messaging apps, through social media channels. That is not an obvious figurehead here in Belarus itself. Mistick Enough Steier, the woman who widely thought to have won that election eight days ago, she remains in Lithuania, where she fled a week or so ago.
She has made some statements, but certainly at present does not appear to be directing what's happening on the ground here.
That was Joanna Fischer in Minsk. The European Union is considering sanctions against the Belarussian government, and EU members are calling for a U.N. Security Council debate on the situation there. But could the opposition in Belarus win enough support from the people there to manage a peaceful transition? Many in the army, police and state organizations have been loyal to Alexander Lukashenko for a long time. Veronika Takala campaigned against Mr. Lukashenko alongside the opposition presidential candidate Svetlana Torkanowsky. She spoke to Dan Damon from Kiev in neighboring Ukraine.
So does she think factory workers are asking President Lukashenko to step down, represent real change?
Yes, I think it's a real change because people because we don't want Lukashenko in Albuquerque has been in power for the last four to six years. And we see the countries going down. We see there is no democracy in Belarus. We see there is no freedom of speech, freedom of four meetings in Belarus. And we see that the people of the areas are getting poorer, poorer each year. And we want we want Belarus to be changed as soon as possible.
And we want Lukashenko to be out of the country. We don't want him as a president any longer. That's why we believe that during the presidential election, which took place Aug. nine, Suzlon unobscured is the one who won the election. She's the only legitimate president. And we will not give up until Lukashenko just leave the country as soon as possible.
I gave the estimate that of the 14000 workers at the factory, 4000 are on strike. The government says it's fewer. So is that enough? It's not a majority of the people, even when the president was being shouted at.
Well, actually, if you look at the history since the day of election in Belarus, it's been it's been almost a week. And every day we see the peaceful demonstrations, peaceful protests. It's not only the workers of this factory. For example, yesterday, what was the largest, the largest, the most peaceful demonstration, peaceful protest in Belarus from the time the Belarusian was announced as an independent country, we saw almost half a million people only in Minsk gathered together and they protest against Lukashenko.
The same happened in each and every regional and city across Belarus. So we can see the Belarussian people don't want anymore. We are tired of hearing about the dictatorship. We are tired of the way he treats Belarus people. We are tired of the economy, our economy policy. He does. And we're tired of everything this person does to the people. Because if you saw if you pulled up you if all those years, you see how many people were put into prison, you saw the tortures inside of the prisons.
People are beaten up twice a day. You can see this horrible, scary pictures on the on TV.
What should happen then to those people who carried out those beatings? Because that's another problem, isn't it? Can the opposition carry the very many members of the armed forces, the police and so on, who have been complicit in what's been happening?
Well, actually, we ask polices, whereas the forces, policemen, forces, military people stop violence against the people. We are fighting for their for our right to have a new president. And we urge them to stop violence against the people because those people will never forget what happened last year.
Have you spoken to Svetlana to come upscale? What is the plan now?
Well, I get in touch with your sister in Moscow, talk to her almost every day. And the plan is we are waiting until Mr. Lukashenko starts negotiating with their new government.
So what if he doesn't? He could just sit it out.
Yes, but what is he supposed to do? I mean, look at what's going on in Belarus. People will never stop. There is no way people will stop until he leaves. So he will have to leave as soon as possible. And we we hope that he will make a decision as soon as possible. And Japan is ready to be the new president of Belarus. So we are waiting for him to give. And stop fighting for the for the country which doesn't belong to him anymore.
Veronica Sakala talking to Dan Damon. A court in Brazil has ordered Google, Facebook and Twitter to remove the personal details of a 10 year old rape victim from their sites after a right wing activist shared them online. The child became pregnant after she was raped by her uncle. Emily Haller reports.
The sexual abuse of the 10 year old girl has caused widespread outrage in Brazil. But in a country with conservative views on abortion, some have treated her case as a political issue when it's emerged that the child was going to have a termination. One activist published her details online, prompting anti-abortion protesters to gather outside the hospital where she was due to have the procedure. She since has an abortion elsewhere. Now, a court has ordered Google, Facebook and Twitter to remove the victim's information within 24 hours or face a fine of 9000 dollars each day.
Emily Haller, as we record this podcast, the Democratic National Convention is officially getting underway in the U.S., but as with so much this year, it won't be quite the same as usual. Instead of speeches in front of cheering crowds and showers of red, white and blue balloons, there will be a series of live streamed appearances as the great and the good of the party throw their weight behind Joe Biden. Even the presidential nominee won't appear in person in Milwaukee, where the event is based.
It'll be broadcast on television every night. But will a virtual convention have the same power to win over voters? We heard more from our US correspondent, Peter Bowes.
I think it still have the potential to reach many voters simply because it's being broadcast, as you say, on prime time television is being squeezed into two hours. I think the big question is, will Americans be moved by what they see, this virtual convention, a zoom convention, as many are calling it? There'll be none of the razzamatazz. You say the balloons, the confetti that won't be there. All the traditions of conventions. And I've been to quite a few.
And there's nothing like walking on to a convention floor in the middle of the roll call. That's when all the states say who their chosen nominee is. It's happening on Tuesday night. Nothing like that to feel the energy that an event like this generates. And I think the challenge for the Democrats and the Republicans next week is to convey to Americans the same sense of excitement through these remote speeches, in some cases pre-recorded and will be hearing during the week from a cross-section of the party.
There's a running theme of uniting the party and uniting the country. And as you say, the great and good the party heavyweights will be speaking, the Clintons, the Obamas, Joe Biden on the final night, Bernie Sanders tonight. And also, interestingly, several Republicans, including the former governor of Ohio, John Kasich, again on this theme of uniting a divided nation.
The Republicans who are not going to be participating have actually tried to to portray Joe Biden as hiding from the pandemic, haven't they? How will his decision to stay at home or to stay away affect his image?
Well, you know, there have been many opinion polls that have suggested that Americans are very concerned and critical of Donald Trump's handling of the pandemic with mixed messages mocking Joe Biden occasionally over the last few months for wearing a mask. And the question is, those Americans, they may well give the former vice president, Joe Biden, credit for staying at home, staying away, you could say, hiding from the pandemic, being a positive in line with what the medical advice has been, that the Republicans, of course, prefer to couch it in different terms and suggest that Biden, Joe Biden, is hiding from scrutiny during this election campaign.
And it also has to be said that, of course, while Joe Biden is staying away, staying in his home town for this week's events, President Trump next week will be delivering his remarks for the Republican convention from Washington.
That was Peter Bowes. The Spanish royal family has confirmed that the former King Juan Carlos has been in the United Arab Emirates since leaving Spain amid a financial scandal.
Governed reports there have been two weeks of speculation over the whereabouts of 82 year old Juan Carlos. It was first reported that he was in France, then Portugal and then the Dominican Republic. But a photograph later emerged of the former king stepping off a plane in Abu Dhabi. Royal spokesperson confirmed it, stating that he remains there and gave no more details. Juan Carlos is being investigated by Spanish and Swiss authorities over claims that he was given millions of euros by Saudi Arabia's late King Abdullah in alleged bribes for a high speed rail contract.
He's denied any wrongdoing that was given in Spain. Various methods have been deployed around the world to try to detect people infected with coronavirus. Some countries have even been training sniffer dogs to root out the scent of carriers and. The United Arab Emirates has been so impressed with the result, it's now starting to use the animals at the country's airports. Nigel Atalay reports.
Dogs are believed to have a sense of smell 1000 times stronger than humans. And the United Arab Emirates claims those recruited from the police have been hugely effective at sniffing out passengers who have the coronavirus. Several countries around the globe have been carrying out trials involving the animals. But the UAE is the first to put this method into action and claim accuracy levels of over 90 percent. Direct contact between the dogs and passengers is avoided. Samples are taken from armpits and then presented to the dogs in isolation.
Results are available within a minute. Professor James Logan is head of the Disease Control Department at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, but scientifically proven that diseases change our body odor.
We do know from anecdotal evidence from people, for example, medical experts who have written into us saying that there seems to be a Corvette smell. When I walk into a covered ward, I can smell it. Some people describe it as a sort of sweet smell, almost a make or syrupy smell. We've had people writing in saying that my dog reacted differently to me and continue to sniff my mouth all the time when I had the disease. It seems like covid-19 has a smell, and if it does, the dogs will be able to do it with very high accuracy.
Sniffer dogs at the University of Veterinary Medicine in the German city of Hanover have been able to detect covid-19 in the mucus and saliva of carriers after only one week's training. Similar trials are taking place in Finland and France. Research suggests one dog at an airport has the potential to screen 250 people in an hour data which will be of interest to those keen to reopen theatres and sports stadia, which have remained closed since lockdown measures were enforced.
That was Nigel Athalie.
Still to come, it has got incredibly, blisteringly sizzling hot in a very aptly named place called Furnace Creek. So where's that? Find out later in the podcast. Lebanon's caretaker health minister, Hamad Hassan, has called for a two week lockdown, warning the country faces a surge in coronavirus infections. He said urgent action was a matter of life and death as the virus had spread in every city and almost every village in Lebanon. It comes almost two weeks after the huge explosion in Beirut, which damaged around half of the city's hospitals and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.
Our world affairs correspondent Paul Adams is in the Lebanese capital.
Obviously, it would be tempting to see a connection between the chaos that followed the explosion on August the 4th and this current spike in coronavirus cases. But it is important to note that the spike began really in late July, and it's probably too early to know exactly what the effect of the explosion and the subsequent protests on the streets will be. We could find that out in the coming days, but it is undeniably the case that Lebanon is experiencing a rise.
It had a record 439 new cases in the 24 hours up to yesterday, and that for a small country of fewer than eight million people represents quite a significant rise. And of course, at a time when the health system is under enormous pressure, precisely because of the casualties from the explosion on August the fourth, it is literally the last thing that health officials in this country need.
And with the government in such a state of chaos, how difficult is it going to be to take the measures necessary to try to contain this spread?
This is not a good time for any government to be issuing any instructions to the Lebanese people, probably a government enjoying its lowest credibility ratings perhaps of all time, a government that most people want to see swept away as part of wholesale political reform in this country. So, yeah, a challenge, a challenging move. It will be if the government decides to tell people to stay indoors.
And with the financial crisis in the country so acute and the health system, as you say, under so much strain, is outside help going to be key here? Is outside help going to be essential?
I think it is in all sorts of ways. And indeed, the government, I think, is saying that it's not overwhelmed yet. The health system is coping. But I think there is a feeling that there is an enormous need for ongoing support in addition to all the other support that is badly needed in all sorts of organizations have come in to to lend support to the people of Beirut in this desperate period. There's an enormous French warship anchored the port with engineers and all sorts of personnel on board, and they are also involved in the relief effort following the explosion.
But with these various concurrent crises, the explosion and its aftermath, this spike in coronavirus and the political and economic chaos that rage in this country, I think it's safe to say that Lebanon is a country needing support in just about every conceivable way.
Paul Adams in Beirut. Here in the U.K., the exams regulator for England has announced a U-turn on the awarding of grades to hundreds of thousands of pupils after an outcry over the system introduced as a result of the pandemic, the British government had come under intense pressure to act after school leavers complained of unfairness when almost 40 percent had their predicted results downgraded by an algorithm. Grades in England will now be awarded entirely on the basis of predictions by teachers. Gavin Williamson is the British education secretary.
You either do one of two things. You either turn a blind eye to it or you take action. And my view was this in the interests of children and the interests of people who put so much work into achieving their their school life or whether into their college life, is making sure that they get the right and correct grade.
Many students welcomed the move, but insisted that the whole process had been handled badly. Tabi is only the second pupil at her state school to have been offered a place at Oxford University, but initially lost out when her moderated results didn't match the grades estimated by her teachers. The government's U-turn means she can now go there, but she's still in a difficult situation.
I'm happy because obviously I've got the grade that I worked for and I deserved it. But I'm also angry because for some it's too late. I mean, there are course places that won't be available anymore. I still have to take a gap year because I can't go to uni this year.
So the use of an algorithm in England to award grades and its associated problems is now under investigation. But a lot of countries have been using algorithms. We heard from Avi Asher Shapiro, a journalist at the Thomson Reuters Foundation who has been. Following the way algorithms have been used this year, we've seen a number of testing institutions and countries having to cancel their exams during coronavirus, which is what you'd expect and and often the right thing to do for the safety of students and teachers and into the breach.
We've had a number of solutions that institutions have come up with to sort of fill the gap for having no test. And one of those solutions we've seen is coming up with a statistical model or an algorithm to predict how a student was likely to have done on those exams in order to produce a grade. And we've seen some version of this happening in the national exams in the U.K. and also before that with the International Baccalaureate system, which is a sort of global standard which issues tests and diplomas in over one hundred and fifty countries around the world.
So how are they supposed to make these predictions and what are the potential problems with them?
Each algorithm works slightly differently, and one of the problems has been that these institutions, which had to throw these together on the fly, have not always been the most transparent about exactly what they're doing. But what they do is they take a number of inputs that might be coursework that's been graded already, that might be class rankings that the students at the schools have compiled. That might be predictions that the schools themselves have made about students have done on grades and then they put them through a model.
And a lot of these models have included something called school context or the history school history, which is somehow and it's not always clear, but somehow the grades are then sort of run through a model which changes them based off how other students at the school have done in the past. And a lot of the controversy has been injected at this point.
So what we're seeing is potentially a brilliant student being downgraded purely because the previous year's students want to smoke.
I talked to a student in Norway who was graded by the International Baccalaureate system that had done really well on all their coursework, had brilliant reviews from their teachers, had an acceptance to Edinburgh. And then when the grade came in, they had been assigned a grade that was way lower than what their teacher had expected and what their course would have been predicted. And when I talked to the student, they said, the only thing I can think of here is that, you know, my school wasn't really the best one of the better schools in Norway.
There's some better schools. And perhaps the algorithm decided that student like me was not likely to do as well. And I got downgraded. Right.
So that's the kind of anecdote that we're hearing emerge of Asha Shapiro, a journalist at the Thomson Reuters Foundation in Turkey. Rates of violence against women were alarmingly high even before the pandemic last year, more than 470 women were killed by men they knew. But Turkey's ruling AK Party has sparked controversy by talking of withdrawing from a treaty designed to protect women, a treaty that Turkey was the first country to ratify in 2011 called the Istanbul Convention. The party is meeting on Tuesday to discuss its position on the convention.
Colleen Hawley reports.
Video on Instagram shows Pinart Goodkin as she wanted to be seen with the wind in her hair as she drives free, happy and full of life among.
But last month, she was strangled.
The suspect is reported to have confessed to killing her because she didn't want to be with him, then burning her body in a barrel was bound to protect him in Amman after the killing sparked outrage in Turkey, partly because of the horrific details of the case, but mostly because the murder of women in Turkey by men they know is so common it's no longer really news anymore.
There were rallies and protests by women furious that even in the wake of her death, the ruling AK Party is talking about pulling out of an international treaty designed to protect women. The Council of Europe's Istanbul convention was drawn up and signed in Turkey, but hardline religious groups have been campaigning against it, arguing that it encourages divorce and promotes an immoral lifestyle.
Women are equally determined to defend the convention. They say the treaty isn't being properly implemented, but that if the government pulled out, it would send a terrifying message that future care works for a women's rights group.
Every day, women are being killed by men, by their husbands, by their partners, by their boyfriends, by someone near them. It's creating outrage in women. Why are you not defending our rights?
In a tiny flat in Istanbul, Darya describes how she suffered a decade of abuse by her husband, her getting Nakatani every day, it got worse.
First, he started breaking glasses and plates. Then he started breaking tables and chairs. People told me it's like that in every marriage.
She wanted a divorce, but he refused. And then two months ago came an attack.
She thought she wouldn't survive herself as I man who survived and I left home to go to work, saw him waiting for me.
Then he punched me in the chest. I stumbled and fell down. Then he pulled out his gun but didn't fire. I closed my eyes. He pulled the trigger again. I heard the tick sound, but again, it didn't fire. And so she says he began beating her Bambam.
Then I tried to shout. He stuck his fingers in my mouth, stuck all his fingers in my mouth. I put his hand. In those circumstances you don't give up. Life is valuable. You don't just lay down thinking he'll kill me. OK, then.
Now she wants to speak out to help protect other women.
She decided to do it. Now I have the courage to say enough. But it took 10 years. But what about the women still going through it? What about older women? We have seen a woman killed at the age of 60. If the government pulls out of the Istanbul convention, more women, more mothers will die. I want that protection while I'm alive, not after I'm dead. I want my daughters to live in a country where laws protect their rights and when they are believed, when they say their lives are at risk.
Judging by the demonstrations, that's a hope shared by women of all ages and of most political stripes.
Caroline Hawley reporting now for our next story. You might want to turn on the air con slather on some sunscreen and reach for an ice cream, especially if you live near Death Valley in the United States. They're the world's highest ever. Temperature may just have been recorded. So how hot is it? Is the BBC's Gareth Barlow?
It has got incredibly, blisteringly sizzling hot in a very aptly named place called Furnace Creek. It's believed that it reached 130 degrees Fahrenheit or fifty four point four degrees Celsius, and that's point four of a degree Celsius and the previous hottest temperature there back in 2013. It's now being verified by the US National Weather Service. Whilst much of the West Coast is being embraced by a heat wave, if it is verified, then it would be the new record. Now, there are some other temperatures that it's claimed to surpass that over the course of time.
But getting reliable, verified records at these heady heights are quite hard to come by. A record a century ago has been discredited and disproven. Meanwhile, one in Tunisia in the 1930s has also had credibility issues. Death Valley has very good pedigree for record temperatures. It's the lowest, hottest and driest part of the United States. It's also home to some brilliantly named places Hells Gate, Dante's View, Furnace Creek, as we've heard, and also Badwater Basin.
I think you could probably argue no water basin because it's so warm over there. To give you, though, a bit of context, the hottest planet in our solar system is Venus. Surface temperatures there, 880 degrees Fahrenheit and the core of the sun, 27 million degrees. Let's hope that the UK's and the Earth's temperatures stay where they are now.
As Gareth Barlow, the Indian classical vocalist pundit Just Raj has died. He was 90. Our South Asia editor, Jill Manoeuvering, reflects on his life and his music.
I've got no more jets down there. This was a distinctive voice, which many recognize a once contagious rage was seen as a maestro of the Indian classical world whose performances spanned almost eight decades. Known for their emotional expression and a vocal range upon whom he was born into a musical family in Havana and started to train as a vocalist when he was 14, he attracted a wide audience, sometimes challenging traditional ideas to make the music more accessible. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his death left a deep void in the Indian cultural sphere.
Not only were his renditions outstanding, he tweeted, he also made his mark as an exceptional mentor to others. He was given numerous awards, including one of India's highest civilian honor. Is thought to be the only musician to have had a planet named after him. He also helped to popularize Indian music overseas. His rendition of Lagardere Piaf was used as part of the soundtrack of the Hollywood film Life of Pi.
His family say he was visiting the United States when the coronavirus lockdown started and decided to wait, but died in New Jersey of a heart attack.
Oh your modem by Gilma gathering on the life of the Indian classical vocalist pundit's just Raj who has died aged 90.
And that's it from us for now.
If you'd like to comment on this podcast or the topics covered in it, please send us an email. The address is Global Podcast at BBC dot com dot UK. I'm Jackie Leonard and until next time.