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Peru film wins Berlin Golden Bear

Claudia Llosa, director of Golden Bear winner The Milk of Sorrow - 14/2/2009
The Milk of Sorrow is director Claudia Llosa's second feature film

The first Peruvian film in the festival's main competition, it tells the story of a young woman who was born of her mother's rape in the 1980s.

It beat hotly-tipped The Messenger, starring Woody Harrelson, and My One and Only, with Renee Zellweger.

The runner-up Silver Bear was shared by Uruguay's Gigante and Germany's Everyone Else.

"This is beautiful... this is such an honour," said The Milk of Sorrow's director, Claudia Llosa, on receiving the award.

"This is for Peru. This is for our country."

Hit picker

The Messenger, which sees Harrelson play an army officer assigned to inform the next of kin about soldiers killed in combat, won the Silver Bear for best script for writers Oren Moverman and Alessandro Camon.

Woody Harrelson
The Messenger, starring Woody Harrelson, won best script

Sotigui Kouyate from Mali won the Silver Bear for best actor for his turn in London River as a French Muslim waiting for news of his son after the deadly bombings in London in July 2005.

The film also stars Brenda Blethyn and is directed by French-Algerian Rachid Bouchared.

The best director Silver Bear went to Iranian Asghar Farhadi for About Elly, the story of middle-class Iranians whose trip to the Caspian Sea turns to tragedy as they try to uphold their social customs.

British actress Tilda Swinton was this year's jury president.

The Berlin Film Festival is in its 59th year. Part of its appeal is its reputation for often picking out future hit films.

Last year's winner of the Golden Bear was The Elite Squad, a violent tale of corrupt drug-squad officers in Brazil.

The UK's Sally Hawkins was best actress for Happy-Go-Lucky. Last month she also won the Golden Globe for best comedy actress for the same role.

Iran's Reza Naji won best actor at Berlin last year for The Song of Sparrows.

US film-maker Paul Thomas Anderson took the prize for best director for There Will Be Blood.

Its star Daniel Day-Lewis went on to win an Oscar for best actor.

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Pakistan 'in fight for survival'

File photo of Asif Zardari, December 2008
Mr Zardari said many people had underestimated the Taleban

Pakistan's president says his country is fighting for its survival against the Taleban, whose influence he said has spread deep into the country.

In an interview with US TV channel CBS, President Asif Zardari said the Taleban had established a presence across "huge parts" of Pakistan.

The country had failed to increase its forces in response, he said.

On Saturday, officials said at least 27 militants were killed in a suspected US missile strike on a Taleban hide-out.

The missile hit a house in north-west Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan, where the US has carried out more than 20 air strikes from drones in recent months.

Islamabad has long argued that the strikes complicate its fight against insurgents, and violate its sovereignty.

Pakistani leaders had said they hoped US President Barack Obama's new administration would halt them.

But earlier this week Mr Obama said there was no doubt militants were operating in safe havens in Pakistan's tribal belt and that the US would make sure Pakistan was a strong ally in fighting that threat.

'In denial'

In his interview with CBS, which is due to be broadcast on Sunday, Mr Zardari rejected any notion that Pakistan was battling the Taleban on behalf of the US.

"We're not doing anybody a favour," he said.

"We are aware of the fact [the Taleban are] trying to take over the state of Pakistan," he said.

"So, we're fighting for the survival of Pakistan. We're not fighting for the survival of anybody else."

He also said the Taleban had extended its presence from the tribal areas to Pakistan's larger cities.

"[The Taleban] do have a presence in huge amounts of land in our side," he said, according to excerpts of the the interview.

"It's been happening over time and it's happened out of denial. Everybody was in denial."

He said that many people had thought of the Taleban: "They're weak and they won't be able to take over… they won't be able to give us a challenge.

"And our forces weren't increased… we have weaknesses and they are taking advantage of that weakness."

'Way of life'

Mr Zardari was elected months after his wife, former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated at an election campaign.

Pakistan cannot allow a repeat of the December 2007 attack, he said.

"I lost my wife to it. My children's mother.

"It's important to stop them and make sure that it doesn't happen again and they don't take over our way of life," he said.

"That's what they want to do."

Witnesses of Saturday morning's missile strike in South Waziristan said it targeted a house frequented by militants from Pakistani Taleban leader Baitullah Mehsud's organisation.

Mehsud is believed to be responsible for a number of atrocities, including Ms Bhutto's assassination.

The missile strike took place during a visit to the region by US President Barack Obama's special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, who is assessing strategic options for the future.

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Global warming 'underestimated'

File image of a polar bear in the Arctic

Professor Chris Field, an author of a 2007 landmark report on climate change, said future temperatures "will be beyond anything" predicted.

Prof Field said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report had underestimated the rate of change.

He said warming is likely to cause more environmental damage than forecast.

Speaking at the American Science conference in Chicago, Prof Field said fresh data showed greenhouse gas emissions between 2000 and 2007 increased far more rapidly than expected.

"We are basically looking now at a future climate that is beyond anything that we've considered seriously in climate policy," he said.

Prof Field said the 2007 report, which predicted temperature rises between 1.1C and 6.4C over the next century, seriously underestimated the scale of the problem.

He said the increases in carbon dioxide have been caused, principally, by the burning of coal for electric power in India and China.


Prof Field said the impact on temperatures is as yet unknown, but warming is likely to accelerate at a much faster pace and cause more environmental damage than had been predicted.

He says that a warming planet will dry out forests in tropical areas making them much more likely to suffer from wildfires.

The rising temperatures could also speed up the melting of the permafrost, vastly increasing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, Prof Field warns.

"Without effective action, climate change is going to be larger and more difficult to deal with than we thought," he said.

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