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[Transcript]  Mosaic News - 04/19/12: World News From The Middle East [VIDEO]

UN chief calls for expanded monitoring mission in Syria

New TV, Lebanon
Presenter, Male #1
On the fourth day of the international observers' presence in Syria, Damascus signed an initial agreement with the United Nations on the terms of the team's work. And in a closed-door meeting, the Security Council discussed sending an expanded monitoring mission to Syria consisting of 300 observers for three months.

Reporter, Female #1
As the Security Council held a closed-door meeting, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reviewed recommendations to allow sending a mission consisting of 300 observers to Syria for three months. As for Damascus, represented by Syrian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Fayssal Mekdad, and the United Nations, represented by Deputy Military Advisor General Abhijit Guha, they signed an initial agreement on the terms of the work of the international observers, who are monitoring the ceasefire in Syria. The agreement is intended to form the basis of a protocol that will govern the work of an advanced team of observers for the country's ceasefire. The team will monitor and encourage the halt of armed aggression in all its forms and from all parties, and comes as part of the Annan plan. The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed this agreement comes within Syrian efforts aimed at ensuring the success of Annan's plan, and facilitating the observers' mission within the context of Syrian sovereignty and commitment to the involved parties. The spokesman for UN envoy Kofi Annan announced that his office is holding similar negotiations with representatives from the opposition on the obligations and responsibilities of the armed opposition. This comes as the international observers visited the city of Daraa for a second time in two days. The residents welcomed them with chants opposing the regime. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said heavy gunfire from regime forces was reported in the city of al-Harak in Daraa after the observers left.

Reporter, Female #1
Meanwhile, China announced it is looking into the possibility of sending observers to Syria. And while Paris hosted an international meeting today for 14 foreign ministers, including Hillary Clinton, to address the situation in Syria, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said it was regrettable that Russia did not attend the meeting.

Reporter, Female #1
As for the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, he called on the international community to exert all effort to guarantee the success of Annan's plan and criticized the meeting in Paris.

Reporter, Female #1
However, Lavrov discussed the Syrian issue with his American counterpart, Hillary Clinton, on the sidelines of a meeting attended by the foreign ministers of NATO member states in Brussels. And while diplomatic maneuvers operate in one sphere, conditions on the ground are in another, according to information by the Syrian Observatory and the opposition's websites that posted videos showing a renewal of the shelling in many areas of Homs.

Sudan's al-Bashir vows to 'liberate' South Sudan from its ruling party

Press TV, Iran
Sudan's leader has vowed to punish the South Sudanese government over its seizure of the north's main oil field in the Heglig region. Omar al-Bashir's warning comes as fighting between the countries intensifies over strategic oil-producing regions. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has threatened South Sudan with sanctions.

Black Hawk helicopter carrying 4 Americans crashes in southern Afghanistan

Press TV, Iran
A US Black Hawk helicopter has crashed in southern Afghanistan. The US military says four people, likely Americans, were on board the chopper when it went down, and blamed the incident on poor weather.

Another wave of deadly blasts hits Iraq

Dubai TV, UAE
Presenter, Male #1
A series of blasts struck the Iraqi capital Baghdad and other cities today, leading to 34 deaths, according to the latest figures. Ten people were killed in multiple car bombings in Baghdad, one of which targeted the health minister's vehicle. Meanwhile, six people were killed in Taji, north of the capital, and one person in al-Tarmiyah. In the north of Kirkuk, five people, including an officer, were killed, and six others were injured after their area was targeted by explosive devices. Meanwhile, the southern Wusta area of Kirkuk witnessed two car explosions, killing four police officers and wounding 20 civilians and police officers. Three al-Sahwa members were also killed in Samarra, and six others were injured in two attacks that used booby-trapped vehicles to target checkpoints.

Presenter, Male #1
Joining us from Baghdad is our correspondent Shafiq Abdul Jabbar. Shafiq, how do you explain the accelerating pace of violence and attacks in various regions, and who is responsible for these attacks?

Guest, Male #2 (Shafiq Abdul Jabbar, Dubai Correspondent)
Well, the logical explanation for this series of bloody attacks that took place today in Iraqi cities, or more accurately, Iraqi provinces, in addition to the capital Baghdad, are security breaches. Gunmen managed to break the security cordon and create a security vacuum, which caused today's damages. The series of attacks that hit the Iraqi capital Baghdad today was caused by the security vacuum and the weak intelligence work. According to the security observers, Iraqi intelligence institutions might be complicit, or could be cooperating with outside elements, which led to the series of attacks. As of this moment, no party has claimed responsibility for these attacks on the cities, but the Iraqi government often directs its accusation at the al-Qaeda organization. But until now, al-Qaeda has not claimed any responsibility for the attacks.

Presenter, Male #1
Shafiq, is the security situation now outside the control of government forces?

Guest, Male #2
A series of attacks cannot completely destabilize the security situation. There are security breaches, but security remains under the control of the security institutions. There are heightened security measures, checkpoints, and forces are widely deployed. Of course, this is what usually comes after the storm. A series of attacks happens, and are followed by strict security measures, checkpoints, checking IDs of passersby, and so on. But in general, security institutions are controlling the situation in Iraq.

Presenter, Male #1
So how will this security vacuum reflect on the already fragile political process in the country?

Guest, Male #2
There is a direct correlation between security and politics. Often, politics affect Iraq's security situation and cause its deterioration. But these attacks that hit Iraq today reveal that security might have affected the political scene. We will probably witness in the coming days a series of attacks or bombardments, but they will be politically motivated.

Bahraini activists organize 'days of rage' during Formula One race

BBC Arabic, UK
Presenter, Male #1
The Bahraini opposition escalated its protests in a number of Shiite villages in and around al-Manama on the eve of the opening of the Formula One car race in al-Manama. The demonstrations that started Wednesday night continued until Thursday morning. For their part, the authorities are heightening the security measures ahead of the event, but denying they expect the protests to impact the sporting event. However, eyewitnesses say security forces were forced to use tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protestors who threw Molotov cocktails and stones at the police in confrontations that left dozens injured.

Reporter, Male #2
This is one of the demonstrations that Bahraini opposition activists say are escalating in what they call the "days of rage." This video cannot be verified, but the person who uploaded it online says it shows a suburb of al-Manama, where hundreds of protestors are demanding the release of political prisoners and political reforms. And there is no better time than right now to have their voice heard by the world, only hours before the start of the Formula One race, and steps away from the venue. Despite the issues the authorities and organizers of the race are facing, they insist that no problems are expected, and that the country is unified in support of the event.

Guest, Male #3 (Zaid al-Zabani, F1 Organizing Committee)
If the media is really that conscious about human rights, take an 1.5 hour flight to Syria in the morning, inspect the situation there, and return here by lunchtime. Why is there so much concern about several thousand, or several hundred, who are protesting here in the street and then going home?

Reporter, Male #2
Khadija al-Mousavi also wants the race to be held despite her anger toward its organizers. Her husband is the prominent opposition figure Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who is on a hunger strike in prison.

Guest, Female #1
What makes me angry is people, such as Ecclestone, who decides to come here because he thinks everyone is happy. I assure him that I am not happy; my family's not happy.

Reporter, Male #2
As the race approaches, the tension escalates, and some here view this as another race.

Tunisians occupy Habib Bourguiba Avenue for book reading demonstration

Al Jazeera, Qatar
Presenter, Female #1
The Tunisian capital witnessed a unique demonstration; its organizers named it "the street reads". The demonstration aims to encourage reading and accentuate the importance of education to guarantee the success of the revolution's path and move the country forward.

Presenter, Male #1
This comes as some say people are reluctant to read despite the revival of the book market following the revolution, and its liberation from the restrictions of censorship.

Reporter, Male #2
This is a unique scene that Tunisians had not seen before in Habib Bourguiba Avenue. Politics and their noise left the site for books, even if for just a brief moment. Wherever you turn, you see people of different ages concentrating on their books of various topics, while their slogan echoes. It says, "The success of the revolution requires an educated society, and an educated society does not exist without reading."

Guest, Male #3
They should remember why education is very important, especially for our culture, our revolution, politics, the government, everything. For everything to succeed, we need educated Tunisians.

Reporter, Male #2
"The nation of 'Read' does not read" is an expression many Tunisians want to highlight through a demonstration to encourage others to make books their best friends, and enter the exciting world of reading. The fascinating world of books has many fans in Tunisia. One of their destinations is Nahj el-Dabaghin, or the old book market, in the center of the capital. Passersby might not grant the market much attention in light of the talk that Tunisians are reluctant to read; however, many people consider it their only pleasure.

Guest, Male #4
People still come here. It's true that a lot of them are older. Not many younger people come here. But some youths, who grew up reading, they return all the time.

Reporter, Male #2
The words of Khalid, a book seller for over 25 years, are reflected by student Iman, who is one of the bookstore's loyal customers.

Guest, Female #1
I get all my needs met here. Their prices are right and it's the perfect place for students. I also see my teachers here.

Reporter, Male #2
Despite the widespread use of the internet, the book remains a good companion for many Tunisians, and the successful old book market is the evidence. Hafiz Muribah, Al Jazeera, Tunis.

French presidential candidate calls for boycotting elections

Al-Alam, Iran
Presenter, Female #1
Francois Asselineau, president of the Popular Republican Union, called for boycotting the presidential elections, which he described as a farce. This comes as the first round is scheduled for next Sunday. The election is witnessing a fierce competition between the socialist front-runner, candidate Francois Hollande, and outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy, who finally admitted to having negotiated with the Gaddafi regime over supplying the country a nuclear reactor.

Reporter, Male #1
In a few hours, the French will choose a new president. It could be outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy, or his most prominent opponent, socialist front-runner, candidate Francois Hollande. But the competition could lead to another critical round next month. It seems the electoral battle in the upcoming phase will look more like a debate between the French presidential candidates. This, as polls reveal the popularity of right-wing candidate Nicolas Sarkozy receded, especially after recently receiving harsh blows from the media. Amongst these setbacks is the revelation of the obscure relationship between the French president and Arab leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, who was ousted by a popular revolution. At the time, France's Sarkozy was behind foreign intervention in Libya, which was accompanied by an operation to topple the Libyan colonel.

Reporter, Male #1
Sarkozy retracted his denial that he held talks with al-Gaddafi to sell Libya a nuclear reactor four years ago. The man tried in vain to get rid of the embarrassment caused by this scandal by justifying one of the contradictions that distinguish French foreign policy, which supported the dictatorship at one point then helped overthrow it. However, the entire presidential election was not spared from challenges to its credibility and integrity. The president of the Popular Republican Union, Francois Asselineau, is not the only one who questioned the illusion of having freedom of opinion and expression, as claimed by the French authority. He also objects to the media's dominance over the French political scene, serving the interest of one party over another.

Guest, Male #2 (Francois Asselineau, Popular Republican Union President)
If you are a candidate, and no one talks about you in the media before the first round of elections, then district mayors will not be able to know you, and will not endorse you. So there is no way for you to run in the presidential elections in France. This is an essential point. They say these elections are democratic, but they are not. There is censorship in both the political and media spheres.

Reporter, Male #1
Asselineau's statements seem accurate in regard to the French authority's restriction of freedom of opinion and expression. He was not allowed to meet with nearly 50 people in a conference hall, and had to resort to a lower hall in one of the public cafes. The reason may be that this man leads a party that lists France's withdrawal from NATO and the wars as its priorities. The party also calls for establishing good relationships with Arab, African, and Asian countries, in addition to taking his country out of the Eurozone and the European Union to solve its economic crisis. These goals may be red lines for the decision-makers within the French Republic.

Palestinian Authority PM Salam Fayyad ditches 'last-ditch' talks with Netanyahu

IBA, Israel
Palestinian Prime Minsiter Salam Fayyad stayed away from yesterday's meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Other Palestinian officials did show up at the prime minister's office, and presented Israel with a string of demands to renew talks. Zalman Shoval, an advisor to the prime minister, talks with IBA about how Netanyahu might respond to the Palestinians' letter.

Freed Palestinian hunger striker receives hero's welcome

Palestine TV, Ramallah
Presenter, Female #1
A celebration was organized in the town of Arraba in Jenin Province to honor freed prisoner Khader Adnan. In attendance were officials and individuals from all provinces.

Reporter, Male #1
It was a national wedding, a massive popular festival, the festival of the dawn of freedom. This was the name given to the celebration organized in honor of freed prisoner Khader Adnan, who embodied epic heroism. With his open-ended hunger strike that lasted 66 days, he defeated the occupation and its repugnant tools. Thousands of citizens from all provinces and political factions, both official and popular, attended the festival to honor freed prisoner Khader Adnan.

Guest, Male #2 (Issa Qaraqe, Minister of Prisoners' Affairs)
We are here to welcome the warrior prisoner, the national symbol Khader Adnan, who displayed legendary heroism with his open-ended hunger strike, which he overtook with outmost courage and bravery. We are proud of him for his confrontation of the administrative detention policy, and for his victory over the will of the Israeli warden.

Guest, Female #2 (Khalida Jarrar, Legislative Council Member)
We congratulate prisoner Khader Adnan and his family. We congratulate our people for Khader Adnan's victory in his battle and for his release. This is the message we're sending today, because there are thousands of male and female prisoners in Israeli prisons who have begun the battle of empty stomachs. We hope they will be supported, so they can triumph in their battle.

Guest, Male #3 (Ata Abu Armila, Fatah Secretary for the Jenin Region)
We put our trust in God, and promise our martyrs and our prisoners, the free people who began their open-ended hunger strike yesterday, that this journey will continue and solidarity actions will be taken by all of the Palestinian people, so that this year becomes the year of freedom for all the Palestinian prisoners in the occupation's jails.

Reporter, Male #1
National unity was reflected in its best form during this festival. The father of prisoner Khader Adnan, along with other attendants, sent a strong call for maintaining and defending that national unity.

Guest, Male #4 (Adnan Moussa, Father of Khader Adnan)
We're not partisans, or factional, or Hamas, or Fatah, or Islamic Jihad. We're all Palestinians! And we're united by the same concerns. God is great, and glory to Islam. May the banner of Islam be raised high, like the heads of these masses, until we retrieve our dignity!

Reporter, Male #1
The released prisoner Khader Adnan, the star of the dawn of freedom festival and the conqueror of the occupiers and their warden, did not forget his brothers and sisters inside the occupation's prisons. They are now following the footsteps of Khader Adnan, and have started an open-ended hunger strike in hope of living free among their people.

Guest, Male #5 (Khader Adnan, Freed Prisoner)
This is a celebration of their first victory. They triumphed when they started their hunger strike, when they looked to their Lord, when they abandoned the burdens of this world.

Reporter, Male #1
So it was a powerful welcoming celebration, a national wedding, and a significant occasion to demand strong national unity and unification. From the town of Arraba, south of Jenin, Nizal Samoudi, Palestine TV.

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