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BBC 2014-03-20
03-21-2014, 11:22 AM
Post: #1
BBC 2014-03-20

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BBC News with Neil Nunes

Ukraine’s new government says it’s making contingency plans to withdraw its troops and their families from Crimea following Russian moves to annex the peninsula. The country’s Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsya told the BBC the government was very concerned about the safety of is citizens. The Ukrainian Security Chief Andriy Parubiy said they wanted to be able to move people quickly and efficiently to mainland Ukraine.

“The cabinet of ministers has been ordered to demand without further delay that the UN proclaim Crimea a demilitarised zone and the withdrawal of Russian troops from the autonomous Republic of Crimea and to ensure the relocation of Ukrainian troops to continental Ukraine as well as facilitate evacuation of all civilians who are unwilling to remain on the occupied territory.”

Ukraine has warned the pro-Russian authorities in Crimea that they’ll face a response unless they release the head of its navy, who was led away as armed activists took over Ukraine’s navy headquarters in Sevastopol. Ukraine’s acting president Oleksandr Turchynov said that what he called all military and civilian hostages held by Crimean leaders had to be freed. Our correspondent in Sevastopol Mark Lowen says just a few servicemen are holding out inside the headquarters.

I have just spoken to one of the few Ukrainian sailors who remain barricaded inside the naval headquarters here in Sevastopol. He told me earlier in the day that there were about 100 Ukrainian sailors who were holding out inside the building, but now there are just a handful left; most of the others have departed, and just the few remaining had been ordered to stay, ordered to protect Ukrainian equipment. But, he said, he fully expects that there will be an order that will come through tomorrow morning for them to withdraw.

Syrian opposition activists say rebel fighters have taken control of a prison outside the city of Gharaz. The UK based Syrian observatory for human rights says the rebels seized the prison after a long battle with government forces. Dozens of inmates are reported to have been released.

The Japanese car giant Toyota has agreed to pay $1.2bn to resolve a criminal dispute with the United States over safety problems that led to the recall of millions of vehicles. In a statement, Toyota said it took full responsibility for any concerns the company’s actions might have caused its customers. The US Attorney-General Eric Holder described Toyota’s behaviour as shameful.

“When car owners get behind the wheel, they have the right to expect that their vehicle is safe. If part of the automobile turns out to have safety issues, the car company has a duty upfront to tell customers about them, to fix them quickly and to immediately tell the truth about the problem. Toyota violated this basic compact.”

World News from the BBC

A man once considered to be one of Sweden’s most prolific sea-whale killers has been released after the authorities found that his eight murder convictions were based on false confessions. Sture Bergwall, who suffers from a personality disorder, had been held in psychiatric detention for more than 20 years. He retracted his confessions six years ago saying that when he made them he was heavily medicated and seeking attention.

The Zimbabwe government has slashed the wages of the heads of state-run companies following a public outcry. Some of the bosses of the government-owned corporations were reported to be earning more than $0.5m a month. They’ve now been kept at just $6,000 a month. But these people in Harare accuse the government of being slow to act.

“It was their long offered duty. It was supposed to be done a long way better, because people are suffering, because some other people are gaining * us.”

“I feel it’s like another way of cheating us. You might let all people see 6,000, yet we don’t know about their benefits. What are they getting behind these safe salaries?”

Chile’s new government is to review plans for a big hydroelectric project that will dam the rivers in a remote part of Patagonia. The future of the HidroAysen scheme will be decided within the next two months. Environmentalists say it will ruin an area renowned for its wild beauty.

In the latest blow to his reputation, the former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has relinquished an honorific title, which had become his nickname. Mr Berlusconi was made a Knight of Labour, an order of merit for entrepreneurs in the 1970s and had become known as the Knight in the Italian press. But some members of the order had called for his expulsion after Italy’s highest court upheld his conviction for tax fraud.

BBC World News
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