a very warm welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to our viewers in north america and around the globe. my name's ben bland. our top stories: donald trump lashes out on twitter against allegations he has stronger ties to russia than previously thought. the us congress takes the first step towards getting rid of obamacare. but there's mounting concern about what could replace the controversial health—care programme. the un is calling on european governments to do more as the cold snap sweeping the continent claims the lives of migrants and refugees. and a baby girl who was taken from a hospital in the us has been found alive and well by police after more than 18 years. the us senate's intelligence committee will investigate claims that russia attempted to meddle in last year's presidential elections. donald trump has accused
political opponents, including members of his own republican party, of putting together a dossier of what he called "totally made up" claims linking him to russia. in a series of tweets the president—elect described those behind the allegations as "sleazebags." from washington, nick bryant reports. there are storylines that could easily come from a cold war spy thriller and plot twists involving sex allegations and potential russian blackmail that even the tv series house of cards might baulk at. but this is reality, not a show, and the first episode of trump the presidency airs in just one week's time. at trump tower, he has been commending his nominees, many of whom who have been fiercely critical this week of russia. i could have said do this, do that, i don't want to do that. i want them to be themselves. footage has emerged
of christopher steele, the former mi6 officer who produced the dossier at an event at cambridge university. he is now in hiding, apparently fearing for his life. former colleagues defended his professionalism. it is certain that what he has reported is something he believes. he recognises that this is raw intelligence that needs validation and it needs further exploration. on capitol hill today, lawmakers received a behind—closed—doors briefing on the unverified dossier and the alleged interference of russia in the presidential election. many left demanding more answers. the american people are owed the truth. there is a great deal of evidence to say that this is an issue of high interest to the american people. the strength, the integrity of our own democracy. as yet, more intrigue.
a senior official confirming today that there were frequent contacts between the top national security adviser of donald trump and the russian ambassador here in washington and that those contacts took place on the day that president obama expelled dozens of russian officials in retaliation for the alleged hacking. it again raises questions about the trump team's ties with the kremlin. all this as barack obama performs his final acts. one of them took his deputy completely by surprise. but washington moves on. it has always been a city of political farewells. and next week this capital and this country will be under very different management. the us house of representatives has voted to begin the process to repeal the law known as obamacare. it's more formally called the affordable care act, and is one of president barack obama's landmark pieces of legislation. the senate has already approved the measure. laura bicker has the details from washington. all throughout the campaign,
the cry from donald trump was that he would repeal and replace obamacare and he has already praised the swift action of his republican colleagues by getting this through congress and saying that soon the ‘unaffordable care act‘ would be history. however there is that repeal process under way. it is a budget measure that has gone through today and that will make way for a repeal and replace bill. however there is yet to be a replacement. we spoke to people today in the house and there was a clear choice — keep affordable care or have chaos. they fear in the meantime amidst the uncertainty, insurance payments would continue to rise. there are also 20 million americans who now have insurance under obamacare who did not previously have it. the worry is what will happen to them. many have pre—existing conditions, be it multiple sclerosis, viruses, diseases, cancer, and many would not have health
insurance without obamaca re. what do they do? republicans have said that they will not pull the rug from under those people, that they want to repeal the act and replace it at the same time within the first 100 days of a donald trump presidency. so far the ideas coming forward have not been able to form into a cohesive plan that republicans can back. let's round—up some of the other main stories: talks to agree an end to the political crisis in the gambia have failed. the president—elect, adama barrow, has now left the country, while the african union says it will no longer recognise yahya jammeh, who's refusing to give up power. turkey says it will not withdraw all of its troops from cyprus, unless all greek troops also leave the island as part of any reunification deal.
the two sides have been holding talks aimed at resolving cyprus‘s future. the island was divided between turkey and greece in 197a. the authorities in france have launched an investigation into renault, over allegations the company tried to cheat emissions tests with some of their diesel vehicles. as a result the car—maker's share price dipped by 4%. earlier this week, volkswagen agreed to pay $4.3 billion in fines in the us for cheating similar tests. more than 65 people have died as a result of icy storms across parts of europe over the last week. the world metereological organisation said these cold outbreaks happen about once in 35 years. there's growing concern for refugees and migrants living in makeshift camps in freezing temperatures. the un refugee agency is urging governments to do more. sarah corker reports. hundreds of migrants queued in the freezing snow in belgrade to get a warm meal. this is their makeshift shelter
in the serbian capital. there's no running water or heating and they manage with what little they have. the men and boys are mainly from afghanistan and pakistan trying to find a route onto western europe. it's very cold and we are just making fire, but still we can't keep warm ourselves. we don't like to stay here, we are trying to leave this country and go to europe but we are stuck because of the border. inside this abandoned warehouse, temperatures aren't much warmer. aid groups warn that migrants are in danger of freezing to death. they are still in appalling conditions i would say, they have no electricity, they have very little running water, apart from some heat is provided by humanitarians they have practically no heating, they are burning scrap wood. cold airfrom siberia means temperatures are five to 10 celsius colder than normal. in serbia, 80% of migrants
are staying in government shelters while in bulgaria several migrants have died from cold and exhaustion. strong winds in northern france left more than 250,000 homes without power. the storm officially named egon also battered belgium and germany. but the harsh conditions haven't deterred migrants desperate to get to europe. 800 people were rescued from dinghies in the freezing mediterranean sea on thursday. at this refugee camp on the greek island of lesbos, the most vulnerable, mainly women and children, had been moved to local hotels until conditions improve. the un refugee agency is urging governments to do more to help as the worst of the weather heads eastwards. sarah corker, bbc news. a baby girl stolen 18 years ago from a hospital in the us state of florida has been found alive in south carolina. kamiyah mobley‘s biological family was told the news after dna tests confirmed her identity. a woman has since been arrested. localjournalist clark fouraker told me how police found the young
woman through a tip—off that came two months ago. somebody went to the national centre for missing and exploited children a couple of months back and as offices followed up on that tip, they came up here to south carolina earlier this week. they were able to get a dna swab from the now 18—year—old woman and match that to dna that had been preserved when she originally went missing back in 1998. they made the match overnight and then this morning notified the family of that match and arrested the woman, gloria williams, who here in walterboro was known as the mother and as the abductor in florida. i gather you saw the emotional moments between kamiyah and the woman whom up to now she had assumed was her mother? injacksonville everybody knows the name kamiyah because everybody
went looking for her. here in south carolina, nobody knows that name. she has a different name here. and, so, understandably a confusing time for that young woman and in the court room she said she loved her mother and said she was praying for her. they had an emotional moment over a gate that had a prisoner on one side and a young woman whose life has been upended on the other. what sort of reaction has there been among the community, neighbours and friend of the family there in south carolina? a lot of support and shock. people here are confused by all of this. the police presence here is more than they are used to. certainly a crime and tale of significance that is out of the ordinary but the woman who has been arrested, gloria williams, she was beloved in this community. she was involved the church, she was working in the veterans‘ association and had been around.
she was a good neighbour and a good friend and a lot of them are standing by her this evening saying that they still believe she is a good woman. they are not certain exactly what is going on and that it is hard to process this story but they are sticking by her. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: some words of wisdom from two former first children. the bush sisters give the obama daughters some tips as they leave the white house. day one of operation desert storm to force the iraqis out of kuwait has seen the most intense air
attacks since the second world war. tobacco is america's oldest industry, and it's one of its biggest, but the industry is nervous of this report. this may tend to make people want to stop smoking cigarettes. there is not a street that is unaffected. huge parts of kobe were simply demolished as buildings crashed into one another. this woman said she'd been given no help and no advice by the authorities. she stood outside the ruins of her business. tens of thousands of black children in south africa have taken advantage of laws, passed by the country's new multiracial government, and enrolled at formerly white schools. tonight sees the 9,610th performance of her long—running play, the mousetrap. when they heard about her death today, the management considered whether to cancel tonight's performance, but agatha christie would have been the last person to want such a thing. this is bbc news. the latest
headlines. donald trump has accused medical opponents, including members of his own republican party, of voting together a report of totally made up claims, he claims, linking him to russia. the first step has been taken in the us to dismantle the divisive obamaca re been taken in the us to dismantle the divisive obamacare health system, but there are concerns about what will take its place. more on donald trump's attack on fake news. earlier, i spoke to an editor and writer on us politics. i asked if she was worried about the effect of fa ke she was worried about the effect of fake news on american politics. i would say that it worries me. i think that it's only going to be more of a problem as we move deeper into the presidency, once the presidency actually starts.
we've already seen donald trump accusing actual news organisations like cnn of being fake news, so already we've seen that term sort of co—opted and corrupted, and seen it made into something that means something that it's not. and if anybody can start throwing around this word, and accusing people of being fake news, then distrust in the media is only going to get worse, and that's going to make it harder for the media to hold trump accountable. so i do see the rise of fake news, and just people calling things fake news, both as very separate, very big problems. so how, then, do you think the media and journalists should deal with that challenge? i think that there are a lot of people in the media world who are asking themselves that same question. i know in the coming days there's actually going to be a panel hosted at nyu, that's going to feature people from univision, cnn, i think the new yorker. a bunch of different places are coming together, and they're going to be discussing what they think the role ofjournalism is going to look like under a president trump. that being said, they're probably not going to reach any conclusions. this isn't something that has a one—size—fits—all solution. i think the best thing that we can
do is continue to be honest, continue to be straightforward, keep holding the president accountable, and hopefullyjust keep proving ourselves as trustworthy journalists, and people who citizens can listen to, and eventually turn to if they start questioning the president themselves. you say holding the president accountable. we have seen the difficulties that journalists face in doing that, a cnn senior white house correspondent being refused a question at a press conference by mr trump. right. how should otherjournalists respond and deal with that? honestly, that's a really good question. i think each individualjournalist is going to have their own way that they're going to do that. withjim acosta, for instance, the person who was denied a question at the press conference, he kept asking permission to ask a question. maybe what we should do in the future is just ask a question, stop asking permission, and just get in there, start asking a question. i saw so many people on twitter saying, why didn'tjim acosta just ask a question, rather than asking permission? and that is something we may have to start doing. maybe we need to start forging relationships with the communications people who are working under trump, people like kellyanne conway,
people like sean spicer, these are people we're going to need to build connections with, and work with, and try and get them to talk to us, even when he won't. that said, though, is there not an obligation on the other of course, i suppose the challenge that all media now face is that, when someone like donald trump has such a twitter following, he has access to the public, to get his message out, in some cases unchallenged. and how does the role of social media player into this, both twitter, facebook, instagram, the lot? when you said sometimes unchallenged, i would argue that it goes unchallenged almost all the time. every time that man tweets, it appears on cable news, and you have commentators and anchors offering opinions and talking about it, but it's still breaking news. you see the headline, breaking news, under every tweet.
and no matter what he says, even if people are contesting it, it's just there on the screen, constantly being broadcast to people. so the media is being complicit in sort of making his tweets into a big deal. but, that being said, he is the president—elect, and unfortunately his tweets are a big deal. as far as using social media, for other people who are not trump, i do believe thatjounalists need to develop their own skills when it comes to twitter, and maybe turn on the twitter alerts, so when he starts tweeting they immediately start tweeting back, again holding him accountable, even if it is just for show, constantly replying to him and asking questions. maybe that's what we need to do. maybe we also need to harness the power of social media. he must be onto something with it, if he got elected president, even with his crazy twitter. theresa may is expected to deliver a key speech on brexit next week, with just two months left until she's expected to trigger the formal process of leaving the european union. one of the areas up for negotiation is freedom of movement, which allows eu citizens to live and work here, and vice—versa.
many who voted brexit oppose it, claiming it costs britishjobs. it's a debate that's also being played out in the netherlands where the deputy prime minister has told the bbc he believes the system is open to abuse and needs reforming, as our economics editor kamal ahmed reports. 500 years old, a fort in amsterdam, and a reminder of a time when europe's borders were the subject of wars, not debates about freedom of movement. those borders are open now, open to workers who live in the eu to work within any other member state. but that has led to controversy, over wages being undercut, over unemployment. i met one of the netherlands‘ top politicians, and asked him why he thought resentment was growing. you can find a romanian or a portuguese painter doing the exact same work as a dutch painter who's standing right next to him, who is allowed to earn 200, 300, 400 euros less than that dutch worker. but that means, of course,
that the dutch painter is out of work, out of a job. and it means that the support for the principle, which is in essence good, is eroding. immigration is not, of course, a new issue for europe. this hotel where i've just interviewed mr asscher was built 100 years ago to house economic migrants from eastern europe on their way to south america to pick coffee. the search for an economic better life is as old as history. present—day history is dominated by that search, a core part of what it is to be in the eu. the free movement debate has become increasingly controversial. it is one of the four principles of the european union. the other three are free movement of money, goods, and services. agreeing to all four principles is necessary to be a member of the economically important single market. for some sectors, like flower—picking, immigrants are necessary, but union leaders say there is a problem of cheap labour from eastern europe. a polish worker is hired by a dutch
employer in the netherlands, there is full equal treatment, according to the dutch and the european rules. but, if this polish worker is hired by a temporary agency based in warsaw, and then he is brought with a bus to work in the agriculture or the bulbs, then all of a sudden he's falling under different rules. and that is really creating havoc. with leading politicians here in the netherlands at least willing to have a debate about free movement, could theresa may find some willing allies, as she launches her battle to keep open trade relationships with the eu, without keeping open borders? we have always been allies, and we are very important trading partners of each other. many people — my sister studied in the uk, i mean, there's so many connections. however, negotiation is negotiation. we should not go out there to punish the brits, no. we want them to prosper, with us. mr asscher wants europe to reflect
on why brexit happened. he doesn't want to close borders. he doesn't want britain to cherry—pick what it wants. but he does want to make reform of free movement a key part of the uk's negotiated exit from the european union. kamal ahmed, bbc news, amsterdam. lord snowdon, the photographer and former husband of princess margaret, has died. he was 86. he married princess margaret in 1960 but separated 16 years later and they eventually divorced. he had a long and successful career taking striking pictures of leading figures around the world. our royal correspondent nicholas witchell looks back at his life. he was the society photographer who took pictures of the royal family, and who married one of its leading members. it was in 1960, at the start of a decade of considerable social change, that the then—anthony armstrong—jones married the queen's younger sister, princess margaret. he was an untitled commoner.
she was the princess who, a few years earlier, had had to renounce her love for a royal official, because he was divorced. archive: ..with unbounded enthusiasm, acclaimed princess margaret and her husband when they appeared on the balcony. the couple brought glamour to the british royalfamily. they travelled widely. this was them on a visit to san francisco, a—list celebrities before the term had really been invented, presenting an image of britain more in keeping with the informality of the time. although he became the earl of snowdon, he continued to work as a photographer. this was a portrait of his wife wearing a tiara in the bath. he photographed many show business figures. this was a portrait of david bowie. he was also a talented designer. one of his proudest achievements was the aviary at london zoo. the queen wanted above all else her sister's happiness, and her sister seemed to have found happiness,
with this very different young man, who was extremely artistic, very talented, and i think people really respected him for that. by the late 1960s the couple had two children, but their marriage was in serious difficulty. both were having affairs. in 1976, lord snowdon announced that he and princess margaret were to separate. naturally, desperately sad, in every way. as a child, he had contracted polio. throughout his life he campaigned on behalf of disabled people, and in latter years, despite his own increasing frailty, he retained his passion for photography. i like these ones because they're simple, again... he could look back on a life notable for his marriage into the royal family, but which had also produced many professional achievements. memorable images, among them this one of the queen, which ended up on britain's postage stamps, or this relaxed 80th birthday portrait taken at his home. as for the photographer himself,
he shared the view of many an amateur snapper. it's all luck. i'm always relieved that they come out! the daughters of former president george w bush have written an open letter to sasha and malia obama as they prepare to leave the white house next week. in the letter, jenna bush—haager and barbara bush offered advice to obama sisters in their next chapter. the wrote: you can read the full letter on our website that's at bbc.com. finally, two astronauts from the international space station have been on a spacewalk. commander shane kimbrough and thomas pesquet from the european space agency have been upgrading the space station's power system with new batteries. it took several hours and during that time there was no food and no comfort break. every 90 minutes the space station orbits earth, so shane and thomas worked continuously for 45 minutes
in daylight and 45 minutes in complete darkness. impressive stuff. that's all for now moment. more shortly. hello there. it looks as if the cold weather will continue into the weekend. some have had snow, quite significant snow, as you can see from oui’ weather watcher here in lanarkshire. of course, there have been other concerns through the day on friday and through the night, this sent in from whitley bay earlier. and that is the combination of high tides and strong winds pushing down the east coast, and so for the immediate future there are still flood warnings, severe flood warnings, out from the environment agency. the floodline, if you are concerned, 0345 9881188. now, the winds will continue to ease through the remainder of the night and into the morning, but they are still blowing a gale in places, and it is
a blustery end to the night. still some wintry showers, something a little bit more organised crossing scotland, northern and western areas, which could just watch the salt off. it is going to be icy. that is a big concern if you are out through the morning. the rest of the night, temperatures widely below freezing, in the towns and cities, even. so it will be much colder out in the countryside, and it will be a severe frost because of the strength of the wind. now, as we pick up the forecast on saturday, the winds are starting to ease away, and you can see a subtle difference in where we will see the showers. more likely, i think, through western areas during the day on saturday. and again, the wintry element is there, especially over the hills, but there will be heavier showers for eastern areas, and if they come onshore, could have some hail, some thunder, and also we could have some sleet and snow over the hills. you can see a pestering of showers for northern ireland, northern england, across scotland again, and across the north—east, and it remains cold. the wind chill not as significant, just because the winds are easing away.
but it is still a breezy old day going into a breezy night, with another frost. and then we get a subtle change. we start to see some milder, slightly milder air, trying to come in off the atlantic. as it comes in, it turns to snow, or potentially freezing rain, so potentially some very icy conditions through saturday evening and overnight into sunday, as that falls onto frozen ground. and that is because we've got this wedge of slightly milder air, so rain—bearing clouds trying to come on top of the cold air. so there is the potential for some snow orfreezing rain. either way, some rather miserably raw conditions as we get going into sunday. slight easing in that patchy rain, sleet and snow later. but, as you can see, a grey day for many, and because we've got that milder air coming over the cold air, could be quite murky and grey as well. in eastern areas we could hang onto the wintry weather, the cold weather, for much of the day. so there is some uncertainty as we move into sunday. do stay tuned to the forecast if you have plans, but it looks as if chilly air could hang on into the south—east. the warnings, they are on the website. the latest headlines from bbc news.
i'm ben bland. donald trump has taken to twitter accusing his political opponents of cobbling together false claims that he has strong ties to russia. mr trump says the allegations are "fake news" and described those behind them as "sleazebags." meanwhile, the us congress has taken the first step towards dismantling the controversial obamaca re health—ca re law. however, lawmakers remain concerned about a lack of replacement for the controversial system that was championed by the outgoing president. the united nations and aid agencies are calling on european governments to do more to help thousands of migrants and refugees at risk of freezing to death. several people have already died in the sudden cold snap that has hit parts of the continent, including serbia and greece. it was intended as a light—hearted comedy about a rumoured road trip which michaeljackson, marlon brando and elizabeth taylor