welcome to bbc news, broadcasting at home and around the globe. our top stories: the israeli ambassador to the uk apologises — after an official is secretly filmed saying he wants to ‘take down‘ some british mps. in the wake of those hacking claims — donald trump defends his pro—russia stance, saying the country will respect the us more when he takes office. the iraq war veteran accused of killing five people at a florida airport is formally charged as the fbi face serious questions about the attack. and a cold wave blows over some european countries, bringing freezing temperatures, deaths and transport chaos. the israeli ambassador in london has apologised after an official at the embassy was secretly filmed saying he wanted to "take down" some british mps — including
the foreign office minister, sir alan duncan. the israeli ambassador said the comments did not reflect the views of his embassy or the israeli government. jane—frances kelly reports. the emergence of the footage is highly embarrassing for the israelis. it shows shai masot dining with, among others, an aide to the conservative education minister. mr masot, a senior political adviser at the israeli embassy, says he would like to bring down a member of the british government. sir alan duncan has been a fierce critic of israeli policy. just over two years ago, he described israel's control and division of the west bank city of hebron as nothing short of apartheid, where palestinians were treated as second—class citizens. in the covert footage, mr masot also describes sir alan
boss, borisjohnson, in less than flattering terms. sir crispin blunt, chair of the foreign affairs select committee, described mr masot‘s comments about sir alan as outrageous and deserving of investigation. the director of the conservative friends of israel said we utterly condemn any attempt to undermine sir alan duncan, or any minister or any member of parliament. in a statement, the foreign office said... while the british government is not taking any further action, the film raises uncomfortable questions about mr masot, and just how much influence he has been able to wield. jane—frances kelly, bbc news. the us president—elect, donald trump, has said having a good relationship with russia is a good
thing — and only stupid people or fools would think it was bad. posting on twitter, mr trump said that when he was president, russia would respect the us far more than it did now. from washington, our correspondent, barbara plett—usher. well, mr trump has been doing most of the news—making, as you were seeing there with his tweet on russia. he has renewed his calls for closer cooperation and warmer relations with russia. i think it's a signal that he doesn't want to change his approach to russia, even though the intelligence report accused russia of meddling in the election. he did have mr trump, after the briefing appearing to concede that russia may have been involved in some way, but he did not say anything about the conclusion of the report, that vladimir putin was trying to help him win the election. and he very much insisted that any hacking or any outside influence had not had any impact on the outcome of the vote. and i think what you're seeing, the underlying factor to mr trump's response to the intelligence
briefing is one that's been there all along, which is he simply can't accept that the russians tried to help him win, because he somehow feels that this would delegitimise his victory. you see that also in his tweets where he attacks the democrats and says they're driving this because they're sore losers, or he says that they're at fault for the computers being hacked because they had such poor defences. so he's gone on with that kind of response, although he did soften his tone towards intelligence agencies, and as i said, he did appear to concede that there had been some kind of cyber interference from the russians. the american war veteran suspected of killing five people at fort lauderdale airport in florida on friday has been charged with causing death and injury with a firearm. esteban santiago faces a possible death sentence if convicted.
gary o'donoghue reports from fort lauderdale. a mother, a grandmother, a great—grandmother, and a wife, olga woltering was born in britain, but had lived in the united states for decades. today, her church in georgia described her death as a tragedy, and paid tribute to a joyful, loving person. also among the dead, 57—year—old michael oehme, who was on his way, with his wife, for a caribbean cruise. three others died in yesterday's carnage, as the gunman used a semi—automatic weapon in the baggage hall, scattering terrified passengers, people running for their lives. once he had finished shooting, reports say he threw aside his weapon and lay spread—eagled on the ground, waiting to be arrested. this is the man police have named as the gunman. he is esteban santiago, a 26—year—old former member of the military.
his family say he had been receiving psychological help after his discharge last august. his aunt has said he was never the same after returning from serving in iraq in 2011. as things started to return to normal at the airport, it has emerged that santiago had been in touch with the fbi as recently as november last year. one anonymous source has said he told agents that the government was ordering him to watch videos from the islamic state group. the agents themselves noted the erratic behaviour. that concerned them and motivated them to call the local authorities to have him taken into custody, and evaluated at a medical facility for his mental health. questions are also being raised about the ease with which santiago was able to transport and use his weapon, in a supposedly secure place like an airport.
it is legal to put a gun in checked baggage in the us, as long as it is locked in a case and unloaded. but you can carry ammunition in the same case. santiago will appear on monday in court, on federal charges. but, while his motivations will continue to be probed, there are also serious questions about how a man who had already appeared on the authorities‘ radar could seemingly go on to commit such a heinous crime. gary o'donoghue, bbc news, fort lauderdale, florida. heavy snowfalls and sub—zero temperatures are continuing across europe, causing more than 20 deaths and bringing transport chaos. airports and ports have been hit and many roads are gridlocked. andy beatt reports. blaira
—— cold snap grips the continent. in some countries, below temperatures of the arctic will stop behind the beauty of this winter wonderland, are darker reality. at least ten people have died in poland, many of hypothermia. as temperatures plummet to -20 hypothermia. as temperatures plummet to —20 degrees, the vulnerable most at risk. shelters for homeless people are full and police are checking abandoned buildings for those forced to sleep rough. it was colder still in russia. daytime temp off —32 at night. as the orthodox church marked christmas that dignities, many stayed away. —— christmas festivities. some were buried in snow drift higher than fences. winter storms claimed at least seven lives in the southern italy. towns hit by lucky‘s
earthquakes face a new threat. here it amatrice, firefighters try to shore up buildings —— last year's earthquakes. ice is frozen on the fountains of st peter's square. in turkey, bitterly cold air and heavy snowfalls have brought parts of istanbul to a standstill. roads are blocked and hundreds of flights are cancelled. the bosphorus is closed to traffic. it has also hit greece, hitting thousands of refugees and migrants on the greek islands of lesbos more used to cold conditions —— warmer conditions. lesbos more used to cold conditions -- warmer conditions. all the people are very happy. even those seeking the snow, the cold proved too much. some skiers in bosnia decided to head home. translation: we came here thinking it would be ready and that
we could ski but it is cut to cold. too cold especially on our hands. —— it is too cold. it looks set to continue. forecasters warned that freezing temperatures will remain for a few more days at least. andy beatt, bbc news. at least 43 people have been killed after a car bomb exploded in northern syria. the bomb went off at a busy market in the town of azaz, which lies on the border with turkey. local residents suspect the islamic state group carried out the attack. alex forsyth reports from neighbouring lebanon. fear, panic and chaos, the aftermath of this morning's explosion. many were killed, others wounded, by the attack outside a courthouse in a busy commercial district in the centre of the city. translation: a car bomb went off in the city centre, near civilians. there are no fighters here. all of them are civilians. as rescue workers searched for both survivors and bodies, no—one had claimed
responsibility for this attack. but this city is no stranger to such scenes. azaz is a stronghold of turkish—backed syrian rebels involved in a major operation to clear so—called islamic state from northern syria, close to the turkish border. in recent days, turkish forces and rebels have continued to target is, which isn't included in the fragile ceasefire covering much of syria. azaz has become home to people who have fled fighting elsewhere. today's attack shows, despite the ceasefire largely holding, people in syria are continuing to die. alex forsyth, bbc news, beirut. the president of ivory coast says he's reached a deal to end a mutiny in the army. the defence minister, who'd been held by rebellious soldiers, has been released. catriona renton reports. it started on friday, when soldiers blocked the roads,
taking over the second—largest city, bouake. and the unrest spread to other cities. un troops queued up, waiting to try and calm the situation down. the reason — the soldiers want improvements in their living conditions, and better pay. the defence minister met soldiers in bouake, and it looked like a deal had been reached. translation: these were not negotiations. we came here to talk with our men, get their concerns, and to give a true account of our talks to the president of the republic. and then the president went on national television, saying he would take into account what they wanted. but he did chastise them. translation: i would like to repeat that this way of making demands is not appropriate. indeed, it tarnishes the image of our country, after all of our efforts in economic development and diplomatic repositioning. having marked my position, i call on all our soldiers to go back to their barracks.
and some appeared happy to do this. translation: all the blockades will be lifted. we're going to go back to our barracks, and the cars can move freely again. although the meeting with the defence minister seemed amicable, awhile later he was trapped in the house by some soldiers demanding to know when they will be paid, and how much. he has now been released. the situation appears to be getting back to normal, but some say this has brought back memories of the ivory coast's ten—year civil war, which ended in 2011. the question now is whether all the soldiers will accept the offer, and if the deal will hold. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: we look at what's behind the rising number of hotter, destructive ‘megafires' in the united states. the japanese people are in mourning, following the death of emperor hirohito.
thousands converged on the imperial palace to pay their respect when it was announced he was dead. good grief. after half a century of delighting fans around the world, charlie brown and the rest of the gang are calling it quits. the singer paul simon starts his tour of south africa tomorrow, in spite of protests and violence from some black activist groups. they say international artists should continue to boycott south africa until majority rule is established. teams were trying to scoop up lumps of oil as france recognises it faces an ecological crisis. three weeks ago, the authorities confidently assured these areas that oil from the broken tanker erika would head out to sea. it didn't. the world's tallest skyscraper opens today. the burj dubai has easily overtaken its nearest rivals. this is bbc news.
i'm gavin grey. the latest headlines: israel's ambassador to the uk has apologised after a senior member of his staff was secretly filmed saying he wanted to ‘take down‘ british mp‘s, including the foreign office minister sir alan duncan. the us president—elect donald trump has posted a series of tweets condemning those who oppose good relations with russia as ‘stupid'. a week of heavy rains and floods has left at least twelve people dead and thousands of villages submerged in southern thailand. according to the country's interior ministry, 700,000 people have been affected. forecasters are warning that the unseasonal downpours will continue for at least another two days. as david campanale now reports, the deluge has also disrupted beach holidays in several destinations popular with tourists — the islands of ko samui and ko phangan. heavy rains are hammering thailand's flood—ravaged south,
taking the death toll higher and leaving thousands of villages partially submerged. in some parts, the water has risen to the rooftops. the rain is turning roads into rivers, making them impassable. it's also inundated farmland and damaged more than 1500 schools. the downpour is expected to persist for another 48 hours, with thailand's meteorologists warning of possible flash floods. its severity is testing the capacity of locals to cope. translation: now we lack food and drinking water, but the water level is almost stable. many flights and train and bus services have been delayed or suspended, and power lines toppled in the region. boats are being used to evacuate flood victims, while military bases are being mobilised to help in the process. for many, the downpours and flooding could not have come at a worse time. tourism plays a vital role
in the thai economy, and this is usually peak holiday season, with weather normally both cool and relatively dry. social media showed some tourists making light of the floods, using inflatable rings to float down waterlogged streets. but others may choose to cancel or cut short their visits, taking away a desperately needed source of income for many ordinary thais. david campanale, bbc news. wildfires in north america are getting bigger, more frequent and more destructive, according to official statistics from the us government. scientists say a warming climate combined with a century of fire suppression by the people who settled in the west has produced the perfect conditions for so—called "megafires," fuelled by thicker and drierforests. our north america correspondent james cook reports from the colorado rockies. welcome to the furnace.
across large swathes of north america, this is the new terrifying normal. in the united states last year, there were more than 60,000 wildfires, and the trend is towards bigger and more destructive blazes. huge fires are transforming the landscape of the united states. here in the foothills of the rockies, a blaze burned through here 20 years ago, and still it looks like this. no longer dense forest, but essentially prairie. the buffalo creek blaze was one of several so—called mega fires here in colorado which destroyed homes, polluted water supplies, and left locals lucky enough to escape fearful for the future. it is terrifying. it's devastating, the destruction, it's traumatic. it brings into focus very quickly that there's something wrong here. so what is wrong? scientists say rising temperatures and years of drought are partly to blame, and so too is a century
of firefighting by the settlers of the west, who interrupted the natural rhythm of regular fires so they could preserve life, property and precious timber. the result — thicker forest, more fuel to burn, and often devastation. we are caught in this vicious circle. forests need fire — fire is as natural to a forest as sunshine and rain. no—one ever lost theirjob for fighting a fire. as a fire manager or a policy maker, the far more difficult decision is to allow a fire to burn, to manage a fire for its resource benefit. but sometimes you think that needs to happen? 0h, absolutely. the lead agency for wildfires, the us forest service, is caught in a trap — it can't find enough money for its programmes to thin out woodland and prevent fire because more than half its budget is being spent on firefighting. its boss says that has got to change. it's essential that we find a different way to be able to fund
fire suppression in this country, and simply to be able to recognise that 1—2% of these fires that start every year need to be considered a natural disaster, not unlike floods are, like hurricanes are, like windstorms are. for a time, some people thought they had tamed the wild west — nature is proving them wrong. james cook, bbc news, in the colorado rockies. in sri lanka, demonstrators have clashed with police over plans to evict thousands of villagers and set up a chinese industrial zone in the south of the country. they're angry at being forced to leave their land, despite promises of compensation. china says it will invest $5 billion in the project around hambantota port, creating around 100,000 newjobs. our south asia editor, jill mcgivering reports there was a court ban on protests, but it didn't stop them. hundreds of opponents
to this massive deal, led by buddhist monks, showed their anger. sirens wail some accuse china of acting like a new colonial power. many are sceptical about how local people will benefit from china's investment, and say a 99—year lease is simply too long. translation: because of this agreement, people who were born and living in this area are losing their land and houses. 15,000 acres means 12,000 houses, and 35 temples. we want to know where they are sending us. they did not seem to spoil the celebration inside. for china, this is a first step towards its own major manufacturing zone in southern sri lanka, close to the recently built port, which cost beijing more than $1 billion. it was only a loan, and this land deal is a way of getting its money back. the sri lankan government defends the deal, and promises to compensate those losing their land. translation: we are
starting a new journey. we are going to create a powerful sri lanka. nobody can stop the journey to create a powerful new sri lanka, which will give a bright future to the young people of this country. china has been a significant investor here for years now, and that seems unlikely to end any time soon. jill mcgivering, bbc news. tributes are being paid to the former president and prime minister of portugal, mario soares, who has died at the age of 92. as a left—wing lawyer, mr soares was jailed under the military—backed regime, before becoming the country's first democratically—elected prime minister. three days of national mourning will start on monday. two people have been arrested after a smoke bomb was let off during a protest outside harrods department store in central london. the protest, which blocked roads in the knightsbridge area was organised by the union that represents hospitality workers in the store — as part of a row over tips.
sarah harris has this report. chanting, a smoke bomb and arrests — not what is expected on saturday in the heart of knightsbridge. this demonstration was in support of harrods restaurant staff, who it is claimed are not allowed to keep most of their tips. just the day before yesterday, they did admit they had been taking 50%. they didn't give any explanation why they were taking 50%. that 50% figure is refuted by staff, and we have had access to internal records of harrods, and it is clearly more than 50%. many london restaurant staff are allowed to keep their tips. some managers say that does notjust bolster their relatively low wages. if it is a good establishment, if they make good tips, people are likely to be loyal and remain in the business for a long time. and if that happens,
the business benefits from the loyalty of the staff, and of those customers who are actually coming in and making the business a success. but there is anger over harrods and other businesses using a so—called tronc system of dividing up the service charge diners pay. in a statement, harrods said they employ a50 staff in 16 different restaurants, and they are all earning above the living wage. but they say they are looking into the way they distribute the service charge, to see if it can be improved. orthodox christians around the world celebrated christmas on saturday — they mark the day according to a different calendar. here's a look at some of the celebrations. bells toll chanting
those taking to the roads on sunday morning need to be wary. there will be fog around once again, especially over hills and around some of the coasts. the odd patch possible just about anywhere, even where we have seen clear skies through the night and sunshine in the morning. eastern parts of scotland and north—east england, here a bit on the chilly side. for most, a mild enough start to sunday. another grey day, though, and especially misty and murky and damp in the morning. for many, the shade of grey will lighten up into the afternoon, the exception being parts of western scotland. here it turns that little bit wetter. eastern scotland could see the odd splash of rain too. one or two in the north—east seeing a bit of sunshine through the day. northern ireland, the dampest spell around lunchtime. things drying out a touch through the afternoon. skies brightening up a touch. it will be very misty and murky over the hills of northern england. east of the pennines, like we saw on saturday, one or two brighter breaks and a bit of sunshine. maybe some sunshine to the north—east of wales too. but for the vast majority of england and wales, another cloudy, fairly mild day.
not desperately exciting weatherwise. hopefully action on the pitch for the fa cup third round will be much more exciting than the sky cover overhead. you will have to be wary of mist and fog forming if you are journeying home later in the evening. mist and fog into monday morning across england and wales. lifting for scotland and northern ireland because a breeze is picking up. into monday, heavy bursts of rain. generally, another mild night to take us into monday itself. that weather front across scotland and northern ireland, with its windy weather, will gradually spread southwards through monday. a wet start here, turning brighter but showery, and also colder. those brighter, showery conditions into northern england and northern wales later on. the heaviest rain doesn't really reach east anglia or the south—east until later in the day. ten degrees, but temperatures drop further north, only four or five. another spell of strong to gale—force winds and cold winds will work through. a brief cold spell monday into tuesday. it turns milder midweek with atlantic winds, lots of cloud and occasional rain. notice the blues to the end of the week. we start to push them across france into northern italy.
arctic air will be with us, and with it, we will see the chance of something wintry. next week, windier overall compared to what we have seen. it does turn colder, and that chance of something wintry. the greatest chance comes from thursday. let's hop forward to thursday. in the south, likely to be some rain and maybe sleet and snow over higher ground later on. frequent wintry showers elsewhere, and a slight dusting in places. we will pinpoint the details as we get closer to the day. bye for now. the latest headlines from bbc news. i'm gavin grey. israel's ambassador to the uk has apologised after a senior member of his staff was secretly filmed saying he wanted to ‘take down‘ british mp‘s, including the foreign office minister sir alan duncan. ambassador mark regev says those
views aren't shared by the embassy or the israeli government. the us president—elect donald trump has posted a series of tweets condemning those who oppose good relations with russia as ‘stupid' or ‘fools'. he says the country will respect the us more once he takes office. on friday, a us intelligence report said president putin had helped mr trump win the election. us prosecutors have charged the main suspect in the florida airport shooting. he could receive the death penalty if convicted. he's told investigators that the attack was planned. the fbi is also facing questions after it emerged he was known now on bbc news: week in, week out.