BBC news 2013-10-27

BBC News with Julie Candler

The German magazine Der Spiegel has published new allegations about American spy on Chancellor Angela Merkel. Setting secret documents, the magazine says her phone may have been tapped for more than a decade and was still on a national security agency surveillance list weeks before President Obama’s visit in June. Damien McGuinness is in Berlin.

According to Der Spiegel magazine, American agents have been bugging German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone since 2002 and listening in on her phone conversations until as recently as this summer just weeks before President Obama’s visit to Germany. The phone tapping was allegedly carried out from the US embassy in Berlin. President Obama apologized the Chancellor on Wednesday saying he knew nothing about the phone tapping, reports the magazine, siting a source in Mrs. Merkel’s office.

Hundreds of activists who oppose US surveillance have gathered in Washington to demand an end to government spying. Organizers say their petition has gathered more than half a million signatures. Kitty Waterston was there.

Armed with placards thanking Edward Snowden for his leaks in the past few months, others carrying placards say no to the national security agency in their spying. There are probably well over 1,000 people here all protesting over the mass surveillance activities here in the US. Former whistleblowers have spoken to the crowds as have politicians. One whistleblower read out a statement from Edward Snowden who criticized the government once again for its pervasive spying. People here are angry that privacies being compromise saying it’s costing the US billions and not having much effect.

Results from elections in the Czech Republic suggest the polls will not resolve months of political instability. With almost all votes counted, the Social Democrats have emerged as the frontrunners but do not have a large enough majority to form a government. Rob Cameron is in Prague.

After seven years in opposition, the Social Democrats were counting on a resounding victory instead this result just over 20% could spell trouble for them and more instability for the Czech Republic. The real winner of this election is Andrej Babis, a food and fertilizer billionaire whose ANO party claims second place. He could now be the kingmaker now as the Social Democrats are forced to revise their plans. The parties of the former central right coalition did poorly after years of corruption scandals that have left Czech’s disillusioned and even disgusted with their politicians.

Thousands have marched in the Portuguese capital Lisbon to protest against the austerity budget for next year that’s been debated in Parliament. The protesters including pensioners, unemployed and disabled people carried banners reading stopped the robbery and dictatorship. The new austerity measures are being proposed by the government in exchange for international financial aid.

World News from the BBC

The army in the Democratic Republic of Congo says it has regained control of the eastern town of Kibumba driving out rebels from the M23 movement. An army spokesman said the rebels had retreated towards the border with Rwanda. The clashes near the city of Goma erupted on Friday, days after peace talks broke down in the Ugandan capital Kampala. It’s the first heavy fighting in the eastern Congo in nearly two months.

Police in Somalia have raided the Mogadishu headquarters of the independent radio station, Shabelle, forcing it to go off air. Farhan Jimale reports.

The authorities say that five-day notice to vacate the building has elapsed and they are enforcing the law but radio Shabelle says it’s legally occupying the building under an agreement with the previous government. The radio station is well-known for being critical of senior officials. Media activists say that this move is the latest in a series of attacks on independent media and journalists in Somalia by both the government and the Islamist group al-Shabab.

Hundreds of vigilantes armed with machetes and guns have attacked a town in the Central African Republic. They were trying to wrest control of the town from an army dominated by former Seleka rebels. Many residents have fled the western town of Bouar. The vigilante group known as Anti-Balakas was established to fight the former Seleka coalition which toppled President Francois Bozize in March.

Egypt’s public prosecutor has received several complaints against the country’s most famous TV satirist Bassem Youssef not long after the first episode of his new series was aired. Mr. Youssef dubbed Egypt’s Jon Stuart is back on air after a four-month break. Until June the former heart’s sergeant poked fun at the Islamist president Mohammed Morsi who was removed by the head of the military general Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. Supporters of the general said the satirist had solid the armed forces’ honor and pride. Mr. Morsi’s followers accuse Youssef of insulting him.

BBC News