BBC World Service News
05:00 GMT Friday 20th May 2011
Newsreader: David Legg
President Obama’s statement of support for a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with Israel has received a cool response. In a major Middle East policy speech, he said a continguous Palestine should be the goal, after mutually agreed land swaps. (TAPE) President Obama: We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines, with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognised borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state. (LIVE) The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, called the speech “empty words”. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the 1967 borderlines as “indefensible”. President Obama also said that in the wider Middle East region, the United States’ top priority was to back democratic reforms. He expressed support for those who took part in recent uprisings, and he outlined a region-wide initiative to support economic development.
The Japanese Government has agreed to sign up to an international treaty that sets procedures for settling cross-border child custody disputes. Japan is the only one of the group of seven industrialised nations yet to join the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction. Roland Burke reports from Tokyo. (TAPE) Marriages between Japanese and foreigners have become more common in recent decades, but so too have divorces and disputes over children. As the law stands, a Japanese parent who brings their children back to Japan can defy joint custody orders made by foreign courts. The other parent, usually the father, may never see them again. Japan has been under intense pressure to sign up to the Hague Convention, which protects the rights of both parents, and now the Cabinet has approved a plan to do so. (LIVE)
Reports from South Korea say that Kim Jong-un, the youngest son and apparent chosen successor of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-il, is visiting China, probably in his own right. Kim Jong-un was little known until last September, when it was announced he’d been promoted to key political and military posts. From Seoul, here’s Lucy Williamson. (TAPE) Kim Jong-un crossed the North Korean border by train in the early hours of Friday morning, according to media reports. But it’s unclear exactly where Mr. Kim may be heading, to Beijing, for key meetings with North Korea’s political and economic guardians, or to development projects in the border region, to showcase him as a future leader. The main South Korean news agency has quoted an unnamed Government official as saying the young general seems to be travelling without his father, and that his destination in China does not appear to be Beijing. (LIVE)
At least one person’s been killed in an explosion in the Pakistan city of Peshawar. Several people were wounded. Police say the roadside bomb wrecked a vehicle carrying non-Pakistani nationals.
The former Head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s been indicted by a Grand Jury in New York on seven charges of sexual assault and attempted rape of a hotel chambermaid. He’s been granted bail, but is expected to spend another night in custody while the paperwork is completed. A New York State Supreme Judge Michael Obus set the bond at $1 million, and ordered Mr. Strauss-Kahn to be kept under house arrest with electronic monitoring. Mr. Strauss-Kahn denies the charges, and resigned as Head of the IMF earlier on Thursday.
Doctors in the United States say they’ve trained a paralysed hit and run victim to regain some use in his legs by means of electrical pulses that by-pass the brain. Palab Gosh reports. (TAPE) Until recently, Rob Summers was completely paralysed from the chest down, following a road accident. Now he’s able to move his hips, knees, ankles and toes. His doctors have restored movement by surgically implanting a device that sends electrical pulses directly into his spine. The researchers stress that the technique has worked for short periods on only one person, and they say it’s a long way to go before it can routinely be used to treat paralysed patients. (LIVE)
The seven times Tour de France winning cyclist Lance Armstrong has responded to allegations by a former team mate that he’d taken performance enhancing drugs. Lance Armstrong’s always denied doping. In a message on the social networking site Twitter, he said he’s never failed a drugs test, and rested his case. Here’s Ed Harry. (TAPE) The seven times Tour de France winner has responded to allegations made on American television that he used performance enhancing drugs. A former team mate, Tyler Hamilton, has told the CBS 60 Minutes programme that Armstrong used the blood booster EPO in 1999, 2000, and 2001. Armstrong has always denied doping, and in a message on Twitter he’s written that he’d never failed a test, and that he rested his case.