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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 Friday, the 2nd of April, these are our main storAnd my whole body fell to the floor and I hit my head and then my head started bleeding.
And a report by Russian human rights groups on the conflict in Syria has condemned Moscow's role in alleged war crimes.
Also in this podcast, a mother and baby have died in an apparent suicide attack as Tunisian forces engage Islamist militants. Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar is being treated in hospital for covid-19. And every now and again, they come with a kind of revolutionary new song, Sung Wail does. And that somehow catches on and then it spreads right across the ocean.
How animals like humans are keen to follow the latest trends and fashions.
Since fighting began in Ethiopians northern Tigray region last November, more than two million people have been displaced and more than four million others have been left in need of aid. Tens of thousands are thought to have been killed. There have been accusations of serious abuses by both the army and the regional force in Tigray. And disturbing yet disputed footage has emerged of unarmed civilians being massacred by people dressed in Ethiopian army uniforms.
And no foreign ministers from the G7 group of industrialised countries have issued a strong statement condemning these abuses and calling for immediate access to the region. Shortly before we recorded this podcast, our Africa regional editor Mary Harper gave me more details on the statement and its implications.
The G7 nations who make up some rather big donors to Ethiopia, such as the United States and various European countries, they've come out with this very strong statement, not only calling for immediate humanitarian access, an end to the war, but also the withdrawal, the verifiable withdrawal of Eritrean forces who've been very active in the region of TIKRAI. But there's been a string of other very strong statements coming, in particular, perhaps from the United States. The new administration of President Biden have been very vocal in their criticism of Ethiopia.
The United Nations has also made strong statements. So you're getting a lot of foreign pressure on Ethiopia, particularly from Western countries, to sort this problem out, bring those who are responsible for abuses to justice and to end the conflict which has displaced and killed so many people.
Know, we learned last week that Eritrean troops are present alongside the Ethiopian military and now the G7 leaders are urging them to withdraw. So what do we know about Eritrea's role in this conflict?
Eritrea has, according to many analysts, played an absolutely key role in this conflict right from the beginning. Eritrea has a standing hatred and hostile relationship with the people of TIKRAI, as the two used to run Ethiopia for a few decades. And during that time, there was a very brutal border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. So in a way, Eritrea wants to settle scores with the Targaryen people. So it kind of makes sense for them to be in the region.
They've also been very keen to dislodge and possibly repatriate tens of thousands of Eritrean refugees who fled to Ethiopia because of rights abuses at home, including forced conscription. And a lot of those Eritrean camps in Ethiopia have been emptied. Many fear that many of the people in those camps have been sent back to Eritrea for punishment. So Eritrea has got several reasons to be in Tigray. The prime minister, Abu Ahmed, said very recently that Eritrean forces would withdraw, and that was actually the first time that he even acknowledged their presence.
Mary Harper, our Africa regional editor, next to Taiwan, where nearly 50 people have been killed and dozens injured in a train crash. It's the beginning of a holiday weekend in Taiwan, so the train was packed with local tourists. This woman described the moment of impact.
My whole body fell to the floor and I hit my head and then my head started bleeding.
Taiwan's president has sent her condolences to the families of the victims and ordered an investigation into the cause of the accident. Our correspondent in Taipei, Cindy HSU, told me what happened.
This train was carrying 490 passengers and four train workers when it was passing through at a tunnel near Leon County in eastern Taiwan. Now, at the time that the train was passing through the tunnel, the authorities say that there was a maintenance vehicle parked on a slope next to the track and that vehicle slid down the slope onto the track and hit the train. Now they're investigating why the vehicle would slide down the track there, talking to the driver of the vehicle who apparently had left the vehicle and went to the construction sites office nearby.
And there is speculation that he forgot to set the handbrake. So this is not a. For firm at the moment, the authorities have been focusing mainly on rescuing the people inside the eight carriages of this train, and so far what they're telling us is that the number of people confirmed dead when they arrive at the scene were 48 people and the number of injured is now at one hundred and fifty nine. Now we're getting conflicting information about how many people remain trapped.
The National Fire Agency has said that there are no more people trapped inside. But I just called the Harlan County Fire Department and they said that there are still people inside cars, No. Five to eight, which were the worst damaged. And it sounds like they're not necessarily survivors, but they're trying to get inside these cars. And it's quite hard because the tunnel is quite narrow. So it's hard to get any rescue vehicles inside. So a lot of this is done basically by hand.
And it was a very busy train, as you said, Sandy, lots of people are traveling in Taiwan right now.
Yes, today is the first day of a four day public holiday to celebrate the tomb sweeping festival, and that's a major festival in Chinese culture. This is a time when people would go back to their hometown to sweep through the tombs of their ancestors and to pay their respects. And it's a time also to to have family reunions.
Cindy Sue speaking to us from Taipei. Human rights groups in Russia have published a damning report on the country's role in the conflict in Syria. Its findings are in strong contrast with the official narrative surrounding the Russian intervention. President Putin ordered Russian forces into Syria in 2015 to support President Assad's government and root out what were described as terrorists just before we came into the studio. Sergei Guarisco from BBC Russian, who's based in Moscow, told me about the report's findings.
It's about 200 pages covering all of this situation in Syria from the Russian intervention to the migration crisis, which actually started 10 years ago in 2011. And so we're talking about especially the Russian role in the conflict in this crisis. There were lots of things written in this report about Russians using really heavy weapons against the ISIS fighters, but actually just normal Syrians were suffering from the consequences. There were also part of a report concerning the chemical weapons and the use of chemical weapons.
Nevertheless, there are also some information that chemical weapons were also used by the ISIS fighters, not only by the Russians and the Syrians, but what the most important here, I think, is that Russia has never actually talked about the situation in Syria. I mean, officially, as the full scale humanitarian crisis was about like fighting terrorism. How can the president, Bashar al-Assad. But if we look at this report, we actually realize that millions of people have suffered from the war in Syria, which lasts for decades already, and we don't know when and come to the end.
Sergio Yasko of BBC Russian speaking to me from Moscow. China's northeast was once one of the cornerstones of the country's huge economic growth.
The region provided much of China's power as well as iron, steel and manufacturing, but now has become a byword for decline, with many people leaving the area as its huge factory complexes shed workers or closed down altogether. Stephen McDonell traveled to China's Rust Belt to find out more.
There are warning messages and the boom gate is down on a blustery, small backroad. Then comes the cargo train. It's long as they normally are up here, an extensive network of heavy rail became crucial in China's north east when from the 1950s, it became the industrial stronghold, which was to power the new economy. Fast forward to now. And the region has become known as the country's Rust Belt. As this train passes, it reveals behind it a dilapidated, abandoned factory.
A tall brick chimney remains attached to the shell of a building. Most of the roof has fallen in. Driving around the outskirts of Tonkawa City, it's not hard to find the ruins of what now feels like another age. Cement, iron, steel and timber are not needed in the same volumes. Enterprises have been unable to survive, leaving millions of people without work.
The young have been the first to leave their wife and young Cannavaro, as well as the man standing next to a still operating cement factory, says that in the past the population around it was quite large, but that many people have moved elsewhere in pursuit of prosperity.
They are. Everyone's are, another man tells me. All eyes are now only the old and the really young here, he says. Now, Yoshimoto, drib bumf. Is there solution? I ask.
How would I know? He says. That's something for the government.
China's north east used to be the envy of the country with its jobs and development. But in recent times it struggled to keep up with the coastal provinces further to the south and inreality industries he did have to change. That's why policymakers are now looking for new ways to try and boost the local economy.
Tonkawa Iron and Steel once employed more than 30000 workers, now it's less than a third of that, meet an 86 year old man who says when he was growing up, the steel mill provided guaranteed employment for him and his community.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Now, there are a lot of people competing for jobs and it's hard.
He says he's exercising in a small park along with a group of other retirees who say that life is so much better these days in terms of clothing, housing and the like, but that it can be tough for the new generation.
There are still factory jobs in China's north east, but the enterprises which have survived are much leaner operations than they used to be.
The biggest cities of Liaoning, Jaelynn and Heilongjiang provinces. That's a different story. When you travel to the likes of Shenyang, you can see a gleaming version of China drawing university graduates to high tech employment and a fast paced existence. This is a future that so many hometowns have not been able to offer. Perhaps the upheaval has been inevitable.
As for the smaller places like Tonga, they're still chugging on. They'll either reinvent themselves or face up to being much quieter for a long time to come.
Stephen McDonell reporting from northeastern China.
And still to come in this edition of our podcast, Nike argued that it had suffered backlash over this whole episode to the point where there had even been calls to boycott the company over its apparent association with Satan, the sportswear giant versus the arts collective.
Just don't do it. In Tunisia, a woman has blown herself up along with her baby daughter during an operation by the security forces against jihadist fighters, it reportedly happened after her husband was killed by the military in the mountainous Kasserine region near the Algerian border, which is known for harboring jihadists. Our Arab affairs editor, Sebastian Usher, told me more about this area and the security operation that took place there.
Well, as you're describing it, I mean, Kasserine is quite a remote, mountainous area on the border of Algeria. It's both a kind of breeding ground for jihadists because of poverty there, the way that it feels excluded from any of the economic benefits elsewhere in the country. But it's also a place that people, once they've become militants, they become fighters, go to as a hideout, as a hold out, because it's difficult for the security forces to be able to eliminate them entirely.
I mean, the security forces have been battling sporadically major operations since 2012, I think, in Kasserine against extremists there. So this is the latest operation. Sources say that they killed quite a high ranking militant in a group that's linked to al-Qaida. But what's really caught the attention is this story of the wife of one of the fighters who was himself shot dead. She was there, had an explosive belt, was holding a baby, and she detonated it, killing both herself and her baby daughter, that there was another child, that she had a three year old girl who has survived but is being treated in hospital.
I mean, the Tunisian authorities said it's very rare for there to be a woman at these moments when the security go in.
Tunisia has a reputation on the one hand as being relatively liberal in that is a holiday destination for many European tourists. Another hand, there's also this jihadist threat by men joining groups home and abroad. How is the Tunisian government faring at combating that threat?
Well, the problem for Tunisia, as you say, I mean, it's a secular country. It's very much a Western facing country. As you say, a huge tourist destination has been for many, many years. And it's been seen as on a relative scale against disasters and tragedies as one of the few successes of the Arab Spring and the Arab Spring itself started there. But what it hasn't been able to deliver, none of the governments that have emerged since is any real economic gain to people.
So the problems that have caused people turning to extremism, which takes a religious form, Islamist form that haven't gone away, and that has meant that thousands have gone to other countries, to Syria, to Iraq to fight than they've come back, they've been imprisoned. And the way that they've been treated in jail has actually meant that they've hardened in their attitudes from reports that we've had and that the problem has only got worse.
Sebastian Usher, our Arab affairs editor, the Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar has been admitted to hospital after contracting coronavirus he'd been self isolating at his home in Mumbai after testing positive last week. The state of Maharashtra has recently seen a sharp rise in cases. Our correspondent in Delhi and Burraston Hetta Rajan, gave me this update.
Sachin Tendulkar tweeted this morning that, you know, he is being moved to hospital as a precaution under medical advice, and he said he hoped to be back home in a few days. You know, this has caused a lot of sensation on social media because this is one of the most loved, respected and revered cricketers. He's a legend here in India. And just to give you an idea, he has got about 35 million followers just on Twitter. They call him the God of cricket here.
You know, some people even said get on board with a capital G at the same time. You know, you have to understand, many people go to hospital after a week if they have some breathing problems. So so far, we have not had any update on his condition. But it looks like, you know, so far he's OK. But it also shows how far covid is making a real comeback here in India.
It's making a comeback. And of course, one of the ways to stop the comeback is the vaccination drive. And we've been hearing the India is falling behind a little bit, partly because of vaccine hesitancy, is that right? Yes.
You know, India in the past 24 hours registered about eighty one thousand new cases, probably one of the highest in the world at the moment when most of them come from the state of Maharastra, where the city of Mumbai. And that's where Mr Tendulkar lives. Now, India launched. It's a massive, very ambitious vaccination drive a few months ago to vaccinate around 300 million people in the first phase. And India is using two vaccines. One is this AstraZeneca, Oxford University vaccine produced under licence here in India, and the second one is produced by one of the Indian companies called Corvax.
And now a majority of these vaccines given to people are from the AstraZeneca vaccine. One issue is about the people's hesitancy. Many people on. Not willing to come forward to take the vaccine because, you know, the covid went down a little bit in December, January and February, and people at that time were talking about what is the point in taking the vaccine. Now we are all back normal. The second issue is about people are worried about the side effects.
The third thing is it's about the production capacity of the company, which is producing this vaccine in India. Many of these are developing nations that are hoping to get this vaccine produced by the Serum Institute, which is here. And a couple of weeks ago, India was saying that they are putting restrictions on export because, one, the virus is spreading to. They also want to give more vaccination.
And Barceloneta Rajan, our correspondent in Delhi. Scientists in the United States are talking about sunblock, not the cream that goes on the body, but something more ambitious. They want to effectively blunt the sun's rays to reduce climate change. Such ideas have in the past been the preserve of science fiction writers. But now a leading scientific body, the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, has urged the US government to invest 100 million dollars for research in this field.
James Copnall has been speaking to Michael Gerrard, director of the Saban Center for Climate Change Law at the Columbia Law School, who's written several books on solar engineering.
The main scenario is that a fleet of airplanes are equipped to spray out aerosols or some other material into the upper atmosphere. And if you have a few dozen airplanes flying across the globe for a period of months and continuing to do that, that reduces a little bit of the sunlight that hits the surface and it cools down the surface of the planet. It's called solar radiation management.
Would people living on Earth see less sunlight or would it be almost imperceptible to the eye? But we would feel the effects.
It would be almost imperceptible to the eye if it were done to a large scale. There is some concern it may change a little bit the color of the sky. And you say that's the sort of main approach. Are there other possibilities?
Another technology that is being talked about is called marine cloud brightening, where ships in the ocean are spraying water vapor into the air and brightening the clouds so that the clouds will bounce more of the sunlight back into space. Is that a feasible idea? Well, we're not sure.
Volcanoes, we know, have had the effect of slightly cooling the planet. And so there are models that show it could work, but nobody's really tried it. And we hope nobody really does try it.
All right. This is a sort of break glass in case of emergency sort of solution, is it? Yes, this is a last resort. Everyone agrees that the most important things are to transition away from fossil fuels and radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But if we don't do enough of that, someone may try this try this technology.
Talk us through some sort of possible dangers. I mean, could you go too far or upset the natural balance of things by trying to cool the sun's effect on the earth?
Yes, there is the danger that it will change weather patterns in some parts of the world and could have negative impacts. We don't know that yet, but there's some concern about that. Sometimes massive volcanoes have had these kinds of effects in other parts of the world. We know that the largest volcanoes have cooled the Earth for a year or two, but they've also been followed in some parts of the world by droughts or changed monsoon seasons. It's not certain whether those changes in weather patterns were caused by the volcano.
You often have other changes in weather patterns, but there is worry about that. Additionally, so much life on earth depends on sunlight. And if there are changes in the amount of sunlight, we're not really sure what it would do to a variety of species.
Michael Gerrard of the Saban Center for Climate Change Law speaking to James Copnall. It was a long held view that it is culture that separates us from animals. But a new British study which reviewed 70 years of animal behavior is challenging that assumption. It suggests that animals are able to develop and adopt their own cultures, such as fashion and dialects, and pick up traditions within that culture from their parents. Just like humans. It says that animal culture is so common, even fish and flies have it.
Chevon Lihe has the details.
It's 2014 on a wildlife sanctuary in Zambia, and one trendsetting chimpanzee named Julie sticks a blade of grass fashionably in her ear. The trend catches on and others start copying. Soon, eight out of 12 of the group of chimps are roaming around the. Young girl wearing these grass earrings, this is arbitrary behavior, it's pointless whether the chimp does it or not. And scientists argue this demonstrates something which is shared with our own species, culture, animal cultures.
Basically, behavior that is passed on from one individual to another spreads across the group and becomes a group characteristic. It may be passed down many generations. And the author of the study argues it's not just about animals learning through observation, but also about adapting.
It's the fact that we found in chimpanzees right across Africa. Different communities behave in different ways. They have different traditions, different cultural variations in their behavior, as of course, humans do right across Africa.
Professor Andrew Wighton is a zoologist and psychologist at St. Andrews University and is behind this latest paper. In it, he reviews existing studies into animal behavior from the last 70 years and writes that there's been an explosion of discoveries showing that animal culture has expanded across the animal kingdom further than previously imagined. For example, the study that Mare Cats are taught by parents to avoid the stingers of scorpions or the humpback whale that led to slap the sea surface during hunting and within a few years was copied by 600 peers.
And in fact, it's even more interesting in whales, I think, because every now and again they come up with a kind of revolutionary new song, or at least some whale does, and that somehow catches on and then it spreads right across the ocean, although this boy band behavior makes for a good tale.
Some of the most interesting findings in the paper have been in the least sophisticated animals. One study found that female fruit flies that witness a female mating with a male of a particular color, subsequently favoured similarly coloured males. Essentially, they see the one fruit fly that all the girls like, and that's an indication he's the best.
But as we know, not all cultures are good. And Professor Whiteson suggests animal cultures may also have their pitfalls.
For example, if a culture gets too strong and the environment changes, it's no longer adaptive. As we see in humans. He suggests that individual animals could end up blindly following the cultural norm when it's no longer relevant.
Perhaps the immediate takeaway for all of us from this study is the idea of human exceptionalism and how it's not as strong as we once may have believed.
Shivon lihe reporting. If you have a spare 1000 dollars and wanted to own a pair of shoes with human blood in the soul, you've probably missed your chance. The sportswear giant Nike has won its trademark infringement lawsuit against an art collective after it sold hundreds of pairs of Satan shoes produced in collaboration with the musician Lonas X. Our correspondent in Los Angeles, David Willis, has been following the story.
In its lawsuit, Nike accused the New York based art collective, which is known as MCI, for mischief of infringing its trademark by customizing a pair of the company's AirMax 97 sports shoes with what Nike called satanic themed detailing. That included a steel crucifix on the shoe laces and a biblical inscription on the toe must have also filled the trademark Nike air bubble with red ink, along with a single drop of human blood, which was donated by a member of staff at Mischief and Mr.
Of is backed by a rapper called Little Knapsacks and then marketed these shoes as Satan's shoes. It released 666 pairs of them on Monday, having advertised them online at a cost of more than a thousand dollars a pair. They sold out within a minute. I might add that you can buy a used pair of AirMax 97 on eBay for just over a hundred dollars. Anyway, Nike argued that it had suffered backlash over this whole episode to the point where there had even been calls to boycott the company over its apparent association with Satan.
Mischief claimed the shoes were individually numbered. Works of art and hence a collector's item will. Now a judge has sided with Nike and issued a temporary restraining order against mischief. Mischief has said it doesn't intend to sell any more pairs of the shoes. Not that it could, because it appears that they've already been shipped to their buyers.
David Willis in Los Angeles. Before we go, it's time for news from elsewhere. Our weekly look at some of the less reported stories from around the world. With me now on the line is crazy tweak from our monitoring team, which tracks news media in many different languages. Crossing your first story is about one female ship captain. I think I can guess which story that's about.
Yes, this is the ever given container ship which was stuck in the Suez Canal. The story is not about the actual captain of the ship, but another woman who happens to be Egypt's first. Female shipmaster, she's Captain Marwah El Selecta, and she said she felt bullied on social media after fake news was circulated, suggesting that she was the captain of the ever given. And the kind of comments she got were poking fun at women's driving skills and criticizing women's ability to work as sea captains.
But at the same time, it seems many more people came to her defense and she said she received messages of support from across Egypt and the Arab world, which made her feel that society does accept female presence in a field like this, which is very much dominated by men and women elsewhere, have also felt empowered.
This week, it's over a viral video in China. Tell us about it.
Well, this video showed a small celebration, basically a group of women holding big red banners and flowers to greet their friend who just got a divorce. Now, the video prompted the big debate on social media with many female users saying that they're full of joy at how they're celebrating women made to divorce a happy and not a shameful thing. And this comes at a time when the government is really trying to discourage divorce. So many women felt good that the video was shaking taboos around divorce and perhaps put ideas into women's heads that don't fit the traditional expectations.
OK, a quick question before we go crazy, I'm sure our listeners would like to know, what did you spot? Any media outlets around the world falling for April Fool's Day pranks?
Yes, we did. Several newspapers in Turkey reported the story from the British newspaper The Guardian about plans for a second Suez Canal. And this was very clearly signposted as an April Fool's joke. They treated us as big news and even had a lot of critical response and even warnings that such plans could trigger a war.
Oh, thank goodness is not true. Thanks very much there to Tracy Twigg from BBC Monitoring, bringing us this week's news from elsewhere.
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 the topics we've covered. Send us an email. The address is Global Podcast at BBC, Dalziell Dot UK. This podcast was mixed by Chris Murphy, produced by Rajasthani. And the editor is Karen Martin. I'm Jonathan Savage. And until next time, goodbye.
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