BBC World Service News
05:00 GMT Tuesday 17th May 2011
Newsreader: Jonathan Izard.
The Irish Republic is mounting its biggest ever security operation at the start of the visit by Queen Elizabeth, the first by a British head of state since the country gained independence from Britain 90 years ago. The trip comes amid a fresh threat from Irish Republican dissidents, who oppose the peace settlement in Northern Ireland. Gabriel Gatehouse reports: (TAPE) The UK and Ireland are, to adapt a well-worn phrase, two countries divided by a common past. The Queen will visit a number of controversial historical locations, including Croke Park Stadium, site of the 1920 Bloody Sunday massacre, and Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance. The memorial commemorates, in its own words, “those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish freedom”, many of them fighting against the British. The aim of the visit is to demonstrate that the two countries have moved beyond the troubles of their past. But it will also inflame the passions of some, who believe that Dublin should not welcome the British head of state while Ireland remains divided. (LIVE)
The Head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has been transferred to a New York prison, where he’s spending his third night in custody. Mr.Strauss-Kahn was refused bail because of a risk, the judge ruled, that he might flee. He faces seven charges, the most serious of which carries a maximum jail term of 25 years. He denies the charges, and is due back in court on Friday. Mark Mardell reports: (TAPE) Having been refused bail, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was taken from court, dishevelled and unshaven, to New York’s tough Rikers Island jail, where he’ll be held in protective custody because he’s a high-profile case. This means he won’t have contact with other inmates, or spend most of his time locked in a cell. He’ll be allowed outside for an hour’s exercise, and may be allowed to walk round corridors near his cell, accompanied by prison guards. (LIVE)
European Union finance ministers are holding a second day of meetings in Brussels in the absence of Mr.Strauss-Kahn. Having officially approved a multi-billion dollar bail-out for Portugal on Monday, they’re now turning their attention to the problems facing Greece.
The latest NATO air strikes on the Libyan capital Tripoli are reported to have targeted two key government buildings. Officials took reporters to the area and showed them the buildings, which were on fire. A Libyan spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said one belonged to the security services, and the other was a ministry housing files detailing corruption cases against government officials who had defected to the rebels. (TAPE) “In the last few weeks, the ministry has compiled very important files of corruption against many of the leaders of the so-called Transitional Council of Benghazi. Fortunately though, the files have survived.” (LIVE)
The United States envoy says he’s reached a broad agreement with South Korea on how to respond to reported food shortages facing millions of people in North Korea. The US diplomat Stephen Bosworth said the decision would be taken in the coming days on whether to send a delegation to North Korea.
A court in Argentina has sentenced eight former army officers to life imprisonment for the killing of unarmed left-wing rebels, during their country’s military rule known as the Dirty War. From Buenos Aires, Daniel Schweimler reports: (TAPE) It became known as the Margarita Belen Massacre, after the small town near where the killings took place. In December 1976, a group of political prisoners were being taken to the city of Resistencia, to a jail in the neighbouring province of Formosa. But they never made it. The 22 men and women were tortured and then shot. There were jubilant scenes outside the court in the city of Resistencia after the trial, which lasted nearly a year.(LIVE)
The imprisoned Russian billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky is beginning an appeal against a second conviction that resulted last December in his jail term being lengthened. The campaign group Amnesty International has described his case as an example of political pressure on Russia’s justice system. More from Daniel Sandford in Moscow.(TAPE) Mikhail Khodorkovsky was first arrested in 2003, and convicted two years later of fraud. He had been Russia’s richest man. His supporters complain that it was his funding of opposition groups that led to his prosecution. He’s been in prison ever since. He was due for release this year, but was prosecuted for a second time for money-laundering, and had another six years added to his jail term. He’s now appealing against that second verdict since it was passed by Judge Victor Danilkin. One of the Judge’s assistants has claimed in an interview that the decision was dictated by more senior judges, who were not even present in court. (LIVE)
British Members of Parliament have called for stronger laws against forced marriages, many cases of which involve people of South Asian origin. The Home Affairs Committee said forcing someone to marry should be a criminal offence. At present a judge can issue an order to prevent a forced marriage, and anyone breaking it can be imprisoned for up to two years. But so far only one person has been jailed.