this is bbc news. the headlines at 2pm. thousands escape east aleppo as evacuations from the syrian city continue, including nearly 50 orphans who've been brought to safety after being trapped for months. seven—year—old ba na al abed, whose tweets about life in aleppo gained a worldwide following, is also rescued. thousands of workers stage a series of strikes, hitting trains, post offices and airlines in the run up to christmas. there's chaos at stormont as members walk—out in a row over a no walk out in a row over a no confidence vote in the first minister. and in the next hour, cycling bosses face questions from mps as part of an investigation into drug use. the uk anti—doping agency is investigating alleged wrongdoing at team sky and cycling's national governing body. coming up on bbc news, we look back at the incredible british successes at the rio 2016
olympic and paralympic games. that's review 2016: gold rush in rio with me, nick pope. with me, nick hope. good afternoon and welcome to the bbc news at one. evacuations in syria are underway again from both east aleppo and government controlled villages. good afternoon and welcome to the bbc news. evacuations in syria are underway again from both east aleppo and government controlled villages. almost 50 orphans who'd been trapped in a rebel held enclave in eastern aleppo for months have finally been brought out to safety. some are in a critical condition from injuries or dehydration. and a seven—year—old girl, bana al abed, who gained international attention after she began tweeting
about life in her home city, is also among thousands more who have been able to leave. but tens of thousands are still trapped in the city. richard galpin reports. many in east aleppo, including children, waited outside yesterday in freezing conditions. hoping the buses would take them away from the hellish conditions of this, the remnants of the rebel stronghold. but it was only in the early hours of this morning that finally the evacuations resumed. after a new deal was struck between the warring factions. already today, more than 4000 people have got out. for these families, huge relief. medicine and food now available. amongst them was this seven—year—old girl, bana al abed, whose plight has been followed by hundreds of millions around the world. of thousands of people around the world.
helped by her family, she wrote a series of tweets, she feared they would all be killed. we endured endless bombardment in aleppo. we have managed to escape the destruction because our house was reduced to rubble. i would like to say thank you to all those who have been asking about our news. also able to escape today was this group of a0 orphans who had been group of 47 orphans who had been trapped by the fighting, some critically injured. they, too, had used the internet to make a last—ditch appeal for help. this video going viral. translation: please let us to evacuate aleppo. we wish to leave so we can eat and drink. we love peace. but it is notjust the people of east aleppo being taken to safety today. these buses are carrying hundreds
of villagers who have been surrounded by rebel fighters in the nearby province of idlib. allowing these people to escape was a key part of the agreement reached at the weekend. translation: this agreement is a humanitarian one. those evacuated include injured or sick individuals, as well as elderly people. today, there is hope that most of these civilians caught up in the fighting here will reach safety. but many thousands more weight to be evacuated, and the ceasefire is very fragile. richard galpin, bbc news. thousands of workers have begun a wave of strikes in the run—up to christmas affecting rail and postal services. three thousand staff at hundreds of crown post offices are on strike today, tuesday and saturday in a dispute over pension changes, job security and closures. but the post office says fewer than 300 branches
across the uk will be affected. up to 300,000 southern rail passengers face more misery as conductors begin two more days of strike action. here's our business correspondent, john moylan. postal workers brought a special delivery for the government today. outside the department for business, mail bags containing 70,000 postcards from the public, backing a campaign to fight closures of flagship post offices. the dispute has been running for months but the five days of strikes this week when present a major escalation. we are defending postal services across the uk, the very future of high street post offices is under threat. we know the government and the company are lining up to make further announcements in january to close and franchise more of our high street post offices. the timing of the day's strike is designed to put maximum
pressure on the post office. this week is by far its busiest for handling parcels and letters, and christmas cheer would appear to be in short supply elsewhere as well, with a number of strikes. planes and trains are also at the heart of this christmas of discontent. southern rail passengers face more disruption as 400 conductors walk out today and tomorrow. airline travellers will also face double trouble this week, as baggage handlers for swiss port are set to strike this friday and saturday. this will mainly affect regional airports. and talks got underway this morning to try and head off a strike over pay involving thousands of airlines of british cabin crew. of british airways cabin crew. this could see flights disrupted on christmas day and boxing day. but why is it all happening now? the reality is that management is not listening to them, the reality is that sometimes workers feel that if management is not listening to them, they need to do something that shows they are serious about the issues that matter to them.
the post offers claims it is business as usual, the post office claims it is business as usual, while dozens of city centre sites are closed, post—office insists its modernisation plans will go ahead. what we can't do of course is change a strategy which is about improving post office services for customers in an increasingly competitive marketplace, with changing lifestyles. the post office needs to change and is changing. some say that union laws should be tightened to prevent this disruption. government says it keeps these issues under review. our correspondent daniel boettcher is outside the conciliation service acas in central london. what can you tell us about any progress at the dogs? at the moment we don't know whether there has been any progress. there might be strikes
on christmas day and boxing day involving some ba cabin crew. just over 2500 are members of the unite union. talk set between united and ba, air, but such welcoming the fight talks are taking place. british airways has put out a statement this morning in which it said it was planning to run a full schedule on christmas day and boxing day despite proposed industrial action. the german saying we are making sure that this attempt to ruin christmas for thousands of our customers fails. the company says over the weekend it has been working on detailed contingency plans. this
dispute is about pay and conditions. the unite union says people on these contracts are promised, at least it is advertised that the salaries will be between 21000 and £25,000. the union says actually they start at just over £2000 with £3 an hour flying time on top of that. so unite says that people on these mixed fruit contracts than just over minimum wage and below the national average. british airways disputes those figures and says that mixed fleet crew: what the company says is competitive salary package receiving a minimum of £21,000 a year. that is what is at the heart of this dispute. unite will be back here tomorrow at acas in a separate dispute with swiss sport. around 1500 unite union members work as baggage handlers. and cargo crew.
and 18 different airports. they are involved in a long—running pay dispute which will be at the centre of separate talks tomorrow. let's return to syria now. we were telling you that a few moments ago that the evacuations in eastern aleppo and into government supporting villages to the west and north—west of aleppo, those evacuations are continuing. let's get the latest now. our correspondent james longman is in nearby beirut. as far as you are aware those evacuations are continuing? that's right. they are continuing at quite apace. so far we understand that according to the turks 20,000 people have managed to be evacuated from east aleppo since midnight last night. they range from fighters,
theirfamilies, night. they range from fighters, their families, and also civilians. probably in the region around 20,000 possibly more still waiting to get out of east aleppo. they are making their way via bus convoy to staging posts west of the city, in the countryside, where they received minimal care, —— medical care and food and fuel. let's not forget there was an incredibly violent bombardment of that city in the last few months. there will be a lot of ca re few months. there will be a lot of care administered in this holding position and as you said people have been able to leave the areas of syria being laid siege to buy the rebels. government villages. this simultaneous process is ongoing and it is going very quickly indeed. i think where people possibly will ask questions is what happens next, particularly to these thousands of people leaving east aleppo. most of
them will choose to go to idlib, the last remaining rebel stronghold in syria. as i said it is a collection of fighters, their families, but also many thousands of civilians. will those fighters decide to continue their resistance against the government on what will the syrian government do about this huge enclave in a country which continues to be in opposition against the central government of president bashar al—assad. also facing them are these horrific conditions, this time of yearand are these horrific conditions, this time of year and is part of the world it is very cold indeed, a lot of people who are leaving east aleppo now, evacuees, are going to a place which they would probably prefer place which they would probably p refer to place which they would probably prefer to be evacuated from. so a lot of questions still yet to be answered. for the moment as far as east aleppo is concerned it looks like the evacuation is running smoothly. what do we know about the fate of the almost 50 orphans we have been reporting today have been
taken out of east aleppo, do we have any idea where they will end up? they will be taken along with all of the other people who are leaving east aleppo to this holding camp. their evacuation was a direct result of turkey's involvement, they made sure they could leave. we're told that many of them suffer from severe dehydration, malnutrition and many have injuries that they sustain during bombardments. we understand that all of these children lost their parents, it is claimed, during their parents, it is claimed, during the bombardments over the last 18 months. they will be taken by the turkish authorities and we presume given the same medical care that they have been able to offer the otherfamilies. but they have been able to offer the other families. but i they have been able to offer the otherfamilies. but i think they have been able to offer the other families. but i think the question as a saint which remains that these children, the seven—year—old bana that these children, the seven—year—old ba na al abed, that these children, the seven—year—old bana al abed, the young girl who was tweeting to thousands from east aleppo about the situation she and her mother were
facing, she, tamim, all these children and families are going to a place probably now which may well be just as dangerous as east aleppo was. unless a political solution to the problem in syria is found very quickly. thank you very much for that. james norman in beirut. mps have begun taking evidence in an inquiry into combating doping in sport. the culture, media and sport committee are putting questions to team sky, british cycling and the world anti—doping agency. and in the last few minutes they have in hearing from sir dave brailsford, team sky boss, and various allegations about sir bradley wiggins. our sports news correspondent richard conway gave us have we learned anything new from these hearings, richard 7 have we learned anything new from these hearings, richard? , colledge main issues under discussion, with some of the leading figures past and
present from british cycling. chief amongst them this question of medical package that was delivered to tea m medical package that was delivered to team sky in 2011. it was reported that this was a medical package delivered, the contents of which have always remained something of a mystery. sir dave brailsford, who is currently giving evidence to the committee, was asked about this by the daily mail a few weeks ago. he was unable to provide a satisfactory a nswer was unable to provide a satisfactory answer as to why the package was delivered. today he has told mps that the contents of that package was a non—prescription decongestant, he said that was part of a regular trip, someone coming out on a logistics trip, it is regularly available in france as well, which is where it was flown out to. that has caused some questions as to why
it was necessary to bring in from the uk. sir dave brailsford trying to clear up this matter about why this substance fluimucil was used, non—prescription decongestant, there was no wrongdoing on going. of course uk anti—doping have been looking into this for some time. they said earlier today that they we re they said earlier today that they were happy for questions to be posed to members of british cycling from mps. sir dave brailsford attempting to give some clarity on that specific issue. let's just dip into those hearings. you told us today the contents of the package was fluimucil, i'm not an expert but it sounds fairly innocuous. you told the daily mail, so innocuous. you told the daily mail, so that you use the word career, the gentleman? simon cope. to be there
to meet emma pooley when in fact she was 700 miles away. —— career. it looks like you are covering something up. i understand that. why, it looks like there is something to cover up, why do that? i have always said i hold my hand up that we did not handle that very well. at the time when this allegation was put to me, i was quite taken aback. i said what i decide to do and with hindsight it probably was not the wisest thing, it was to start gathering information that, and tried to piece together what had happened. as i was running through the collecting of information and talking to people it triggered each other‘s minds and memories and as i went through i relayed that directly to the daily mail. as a running commentary. there
we re mail. as a running commentary. there were some factual inconsistencies, thatis were some factual inconsistencies, that is clear. maybe simon had gone to see, it would be easy to check it, there was no question whatsoever of cover—up, it is just simply what i have been told. i was to hasty in ruling that information. i've also saidi ruling that information. i've also said i relayed information from our bus driver, who testified to anti—doping. saying they were on the back of the bus. it is not to have been the case. on my behalf it turns out there is absolutely no attempt to mislead in any shape orform but igrant to mislead in any shape orform but i grant you that i shouldn't have been so hasty and i should have waited and dealt with it in a more appropriate manner. final set of
questions. sir david, isn't it extraordinary that it has had to get to the house of commons select committee to get an answer and hopefully the truth about this elusive package? the topic that has caused untold damage, reputational damage to all involved and actually the cycling industry. what does that say about transparency, communication, processes, and indeed the government 's overall of uk cycling? it is a shame it has got to the situation but on the other hand it is quite, i feel quite the situation but on the other hand it is quite, ifeel quite happy the situation but on the other hand it is quite, i feel quite happy to be here, sharing my experience and sharing all of this information with you. but would you rather did not get to this point? it is as simple as that, we have run what i consider to bea as that, we have run what i consider to be a pioneering organisation for
nearly 20 years now. we have had u ntold nearly 20 years now. we have had untold success by many, many athletes. i would like to think that when we took over british cycling there was one gold medal and 76 yea rs of there was one gold medal and 76 years of olympic sports and we have ghani 46 medal since and none of that has been done in anything other than the right way. of course it should never have got here. but you know at that time on the allegation was made it seem to me that it was right to make sure we got to the truth will stop and in so doing i had to make it quite difficult decision which i think many people found challenging, i guess, insofar asi found challenging, i guess, insofar as i thought i would be given third—party information to the authorities and they can make sure that was the truth. i decided to make the decision that would try and anchor this and establish this in the truth, but with such short—term
obvious difficulties with bad press coming our way then that is the price of getting to the truth, then so be it and that is what we have done. studio: we will leave the hearings there in the commons, fascinating evidence from team sky boss sir dave brailsford on that mysterious package. so we'll be back there a bit later but that is evidence from sir dave brailsford to the commons culture media and sport select committee. the un's children's agency unicef says some of them are critically injured. tens of thousands of people are still trapped in the city. translation: we arejust seeing we are just seeing that the un security council has voted unanimously to deploy observers to eastern lebanon. joining me now is the unicef regional director for the
middle east. you must be immensely relieved you have got this far with the children which mark we are indeed immensely relieved that finally the voices from me children themselves have been hurt. and responded to. and at least that group of children is now in much safer areas and has a little bit of opportunity to get to safety. as we have been reporting some of them are really quite ill, where are they now? they are. at the request of the few carers who have been living with the children in the orphanage we managed to evacuate the children to idlib and they are currently in the centre being taken
ca re currently in the centre being taken care of, and we will ensure that children are being assisted by medical personnel. the children will also receive psychosocial counselling for what they have gone through in the last months, it is truly traumatic. the children are really in need of counselling, so we have dedicated councillors with them. and of course giving back some winter clothes and so on, we are just giving children a little bit of childhood. and of course you have a plan in the short term, this immediate care, medical care and physical and psychological care that you talk about. do you have a longer—term plan for what to do with the children as well? we absolutely have. this group of children is part
ofa have. this group of children is part of a much more important group of children in syria and aleppo who for a number of reasons are not any longer having any caregivers. hopefully inaudible reunify the junction with family members. of course with these partners we will try to get this children back into school. again let us children back into school. again let us not forget these children from eastern aleppo are just the tip of the iceberg. more than 6 million children in syria being affected by
the conflict. all of them need a political commitment in order to put their interests at the core of this. a very big and continuing task. thank you very much indeed for your time. a reminder that in the past half an hour the un security council has voted unanimously to deploy observers to eastern aleppo. and some news coming in from paris concerning the head of the imf, the international monetary fund, christine lagarde, she has been found guilty of negligence. this is over the huge compensation payment made eight years ago when she was the french finance minister. the court was hearing that there was a payment of more than $400 million to the tycoon bernard tapie and judges
have found her guilty of negligence for failing have found her guilty of negligence forfailing to challenge have found her guilty of negligence for failing to challenge that state arbitration pay—out to him back in 2008. but despite that ruling the judges have not handed down any sentence. she has denied the negligence charges. her lawyer says the team of looking into an appeal bird there is talk this might trigger an leadership crisis at the international monetary fund. christine lagarde found guilty of negligence by a court in paris. there've been chaotic scenes at the northern ireland assembly as politicians from most of the main political parties walked out of stormont. the first minister, arlene foster, had been about to make a statement over a controversial green energy scheme. but under norther ireland's rules, she's never allowed to operate without the support of her deputy, sinn fein's martin mcguinness. and that created turmoil this morning at stormont, from where our ireland correspondent chris buckler
now reports. members, having been given notice by both the first and deputy first minister... northern ireland's first minister arlene foster went to the storm arlene foster went to the stormont assembly today in an attempt to take control of what has become a financial mess. but proceedings began with chaotic scenes. opposition parties walked out and the first minister was left alone with her party, the dup, while outside their partners in power—sharing, sinn fein, put pressure for a full independent enquiry into a badly flawed green energy scheme. we need to establish all the facts and we need to know who benefited from this failed scheme. the first minister should stand aside to allow the investigation to take place. the controversial renewable heat incentive scheme originally worked like this: for every £1 of fuel a company uses, they are paid around £1.60, to encourage them to buy environmentally friendly boilers. but because initially
there were no caps or limits, in the scheme's 20—year life it is expected to go £400 million over budget, money which stormont is responsible for. the special advisers of the dup interfered in my decision—making. last week the former dup enterprise minister jonathan bell accused officials from within his own party of delaying crucial changes to try to prevent the scheme running out of control. that has being denied by the dup, and he has since been suspended that has been denied by the dup, and he has since been suspended by the party but the scheme was badly flawed. a confidential report seen by the bbc suggests those errors have allowed some firms to abuse it by heating buildings just for profits. northern ireland's first minister was the enterprise minister when the scheme was set up, which is why she is a politician under pressure. i am sorry that the initial scheme did not cotain cost control measures and that there were fundamental flaws in its design.
this is the deepest political regret of my time in this house. but stormont‘s other parties were not there to hear the first minister explain why she wants to try to sort this out. they had walked out of the assembly again, a sign of the sheer political heat about this issue in northern ireland. for many of us it is a largely cloudy day with some drizzly rainbird some beautiful photos being sent in, there's from perth just an hour ago. rather misty and great but still nevertheless beautiful. this is how much cloud is across the country. the best of the sunshine really through much of northern ireland and parts of western scotla nd ireland and parts of western scotland as well. through the night to night the cloud and showery rain will drift westwards but we will