welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is lebo diseko. our top stories: reports of chemical weapon attacks in the iraqi city of mosul. survivors fleeing the city describe the brutality of life under so—called islamic state. two of the security forces which freed them were killed and according these civilians many more are being kept by so called islamic state as human shields. frusration for francois fillon, the centre—right candidate in the french presidential race, after his campaign manager quits. a man appears in court accused of making eight bomb threats tojewish centres across the us. and the elusive british graffiti artist banksy opens a hotel on the west bank, with a message for the middle east. good to have you with us.
the iraqi government says militants from the so called islamic state carried out what seems to be a chemical weapons attack, during the battle for the city of mosul. it's thought to be the first time chemicals have been used during the fighting. 12 people are now being treated in irbil, but exactly what chemical was used is still unknown. our correspondent wyre davies has been to the hospital and sent this report. an 11—year—old boy rushed to hospital after a mortar struck his home in eastern mosul, releasing what witnesses described as a "noxious, nauseating gas". two incidents and 12 victims, including a month—old baby. no doubt, say doctors, it was a chemical weapons attack. we have mainly a section of the respiratory tract, so that some people have breathing problems, like a spasm in an asthma attack, and the majority
of the patients have developed different size of blisters, especially in the exposed areas. tonight, the international committee for the red cross said the chemical used was very likely to be mustard gas. is has threatened to use chemical weapons before, but what isn't known is what chemicals they have, how much they have and what weapons systems they have to deliver those chemicals effectively. fighting is fierce, but iraqi government forces are slowly gaining the upper hand against so—called islamic state. but, as we saw this week, what they say they are finding as they advance is evidence is has been stockpiling large amounts of chemicals. abu islam, a senior is commander, spoke to the bbc at the detention centre where he is being held,
in northern iraq. to him, chemical weapons, drones dropping bombs and using civilians as human shields are alljustifiable tactics to defend and prolong is control over mosul. translation: anyone who is in danger hides himself behind others. it's like if you are drowning you might drag someone down with you. even a member of your family. in order to survive, people do everything they can, even if it means using humans as shield. the fight for mosul has driven thousands of people to refugee camps, already full to overflowing, with 700,000 civilians still trapped inside western mosul. that is may now be using chemical weapons is a huge concern. sami mahmoud and his family survived the warped logic of is and say they are lucky to have escaped with nothing but their lives. "under is, having a phone
card or a woman refusing to cover her face could mean certain death", he says. this latest incident showing no—one is safe from an organisation that offers its own people precious little humanity. earlier, chemical weapons expert cindy vestergaard gave us her views on the attack. the icrc issued a statement 13 hours ago saying that there were seven victims that were being... ..or seven individuals being treated for symptoms that seem to be similar to what would be blistering agent. now of course it's always hard in the early hours to have independent confirmation of something like this. if it is blistering agent it causes redness in the eyes, it basically burns the eyes, it does what it says, it creates blisters on the skin, coughing, vomiting. the one thing about
a mustard agent is that it does not usually kill but it maims quite a bit. the so—called islamic state have threatened to carry out chemical weapons attacks in the past, haven't they? yes, and the opcw, the organisation for the prohibition of chemical weapons, in the hague, the implementor of the chemical weapons convention, they actually in a report in october last year did say that they pointed fingers at islamic state for a mustard attack in syria. as i understand there's also a report, a forthcoming report, that the 0pcw will be stating that isis also is responsible for a mustard agent attack in iraq as well, specifically against kurdish forces. so basically it's spreading. the use of chemical weapons is spreading from syria into iraq. obviously this is very problematic.
i suppose the main difficulty is that nobody knows quite what they have. there is no way of checking. how do civilians keep safe in a situation like this? unfortunately that's very difficult. military forces usually have protective clothing that would be needed. the thing with chemical agents, depending on whether it's in powder or gas form, it can settle on skin, it can be inhaled. so unless you're willing to be fully covered walking around in your day—to—day environment it becomes very difficult to do that. the same thing with whether you wear a bullet—proof vest everyday. so it becomes very difficult. other than making sure you wash your hands, those are the only basic things. but to be able to fully protect yourself, it becomes almost impossible to do so. and for more information on the battle to re—take mosul, go to bbc.com/news, where you'll find background information and analysis from bbc regional specialists and correspondents.
french presidential candidate francois fillon has suffered another blow as his campaign manager quit late on friday. patrick stefanini is the latest senior figure to abandon mr fillon, who's embroiled in a scandal over payments to members of his family. francois fillon denies paying his wife and children for parliamentary work they never carried out. in the last few hours, he made a video appeal to the french people to support him and attend a rally on sunday in paris. sarah corker reports. he's been putting on a brave face, but more cracks are appearing in francois fillon‘s presidential campaign. the scandal of allegations he misused public funds to pay his wife and family members won't go away. heavyweight supporters are abandoning him. the latest defections — his spokesperson and campaign manager. but in an effort to fight back, mr fillon made this direct appeal
to the french people. translation: i invite everyone to come next sunday at 3pm, with the calm and assured strength of those who respect our democratic institutions. you will make your voice heard. mr fillon has also lost the backing of the allied union of democrats and independents. many within his republican party are now calling for him to step aside. translation: we are in a countdown. it's either the stopwatch or detonator. this is likely to explode our political family and i don't want it. the election takes place in two rounds in april and may. on friday, one poll put emmanuel macron out in front on 27% in the first round on the 23rd april. he is followed by far right leader marine le pen, on 25.5%, though the pair remain close in popularity.
while francois fillon, once the frontrunner, is lagging behind on i9%. and in the scenario that former prime minister alain juppe replaced mr fillon, the same poll puts him in the lead at 26.5%. marine le pen also faces legal issues. her national front party accused of misusing eu funds. as mr fillon‘s campaign knows it's struggling, he strongly denies the fake jobs for family claims and fights on. let's round—up some of the other main stories. the united nations says the syrian government and a number of opposition groups have agreed a clear agenda for the country's future, during a week of talks in geneva. it's the first time for over
a year that the two sides have attended talks. they are due to meet again later in the month. the us vice—president mike pence says there's no comparison between his use of a personal e—mail during his time as indiana governor and hillary clinton's use of a private e—mail server when she was secretary of state. he contacted advisers on terrorism and homeland security via an aol account during his four years as governor, though he did nothing illegal. a row between ankara and berlin over a series of cancelled turkish political rallies in germany is continuing to escalate. on friday, the turkish president accused berlin of aiding and harbouring terror. recep tayyip erdogan said a german—turkish journalist detained by turkey was a german agent and a member of the outlawed kurdish militant group, the pkk. officials in ireland have found a significant quantity of human remains at the site of a former church—run mother and baby home. the discovery was made by a forensic team investigating reports that nearly 800 children died at the institution in county gallway between 1925 and 1961.
the democratic unionist party has edged sinn fein by one seat. 0ne seat is left to be declared and coalition talks will be to succeed to stop direct talks from happening with westminster. this election marks a moment for sinn fein. the time the leadership we re sinn fein. the time the leadership were keen to capture and remember. if walking out of government was a gamble for the party, it's paid off. they've increased their share of the vote, narrowing the gap between them and their old coalition partners, the dup. and that will feel as a personal triumph for sinn fein‘s leader at stormont, michelle 0'neill. i said consistently throughout
the campaign that we weren't interested in going back to the status quo. that remains the position. the dup beed to fundamentally change their ways if they want to go back into the institution. the democratic unionist party still have the largest share of the first preference votes, but only just. is deemed elected. arlene foster! and to an extent the dup leader arlene foster is putting on a brave face. she was forced from the office of first minister when sinn fein brought down power—sharing. now there is work to be done and work to quickly mend the relationship which have been frayed by the discord of this election. belfast has long had a reputation linked to divisive politics. if anything, this election in stormont has cemented that. people returned to the ballot box to make their choice, following a bitter fallout over many things. that's anything but a laughing matter for those who find themselves
voting again, just ten months after the last election. i think there's too much bickering and fighting. instead of what they were elected for, instead of looking after the people and trying to do something for the people, you know, there's too much in—house fighting. but if there is public frustration with that old battle between irish nationalists and british unionists, it didn't benefit stormont‘s opposition parties. i shall make my statement and leave the stage. this evening, the ulster unionist leader mike nesbitt stepped down, taking responsibility for his party's poor performance. in contrast, this now seems to have been a picture—perfect campaign for sinn fein‘s michelle 0'neill. some claim arlene foster may also have motivated republicans to vote, having compared them to crocodiles during the campaign. but it's sinn fein who have benefited most in this snap election. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: are we there yet?
this is the scene, streamed live from an animal adventure park in new york state, as millions wait for april the giraffe to give birth. first the plates slipped gently off the restaurant tables. then suddenly the tables, the chairs and people crashed sideways and downwards and it was a matter of seconds before the ferry lurched onto her side. the hydrogen bomb on a remote pacific atoll. the americans had successfully tested a weapon whose explosive force dwarfed that of the bomb dropped on hiroshima. i had heard the news earlier and so my heart went bang and bang. the constitutional rights of these marchers have their rights as citizens of the united states and they should be protected even in the right to test them out so they don't get their heads broken and are sent to hospital. this religious controversy,
i know you don't want to say too much about it, but does it worry you it's going to boil up when you get to the stage? well, it worries me, yeah. but everything will be all right in the end of the day. this is bbc news. i'm lebo diseko. the latest headlines: 12 people have been injured in what seems like a chemical weapons attack on mosul. the iraqi government said is militants were responsible. french presidential candidate francois fillon suffers yet another blow as his campaign manager quits. a man has been arrested and has appeared in court charged with making at least eight bomb threats againstjewish centres across the us. prosecutors in missouri say juan thompson, did it in order to harass his former girlfriend. federal officials are also investigating bomb threats made against nearly 100 organisations — nada tawfik reports.
a small breakthrough for law enforcement officers and a rise in anti—semitic threats plaguing jewish centres and organisations. juan thompson has been arrested in relation to eight of the incidents. prosecutors say the 31 urography engaged in a campaign in harassment against his ex—girlfriend. —— 31—year—old. she made hundreds of —— he made hundreds of vocals making it appear that she was framing him. federal papers detail his communications. 0ne federal papers detail his communications. one of the e—mails has a reference to the 2012 shooting atan has a reference to the 2012 shooting at an elementary school in connecticut where 26 students died.
prosecutors have charged him with stalking. 0ne prosecutors have charged him with stalking. one of the group that received a fake bomb threat thank investigators but expressed alarm. just because there has been an arrest today and around our bomb threat does not mean the threats will disappear or stop. hate towards the jewish community and will disappear or stop. hate towards thejewish community and other minority groups is very real. and deeply concerning. just this week, anotherjewish cemetery deeply concerning. just this week, another jewish cemetery has deeply concerning. just this week, anotherjewish cemetery has been desecrated. 16 headstones have been toppled and vandalised in new york. it follows a series of similar incidents nationwide. as anger and fear give way to sadness, many leaders in thejewish community and those that stand with them are asking if the divisive political environment is to blame. that was the bbc‘s nada tawfik reporting. all drivers applying for a minicab license in london will have to pass a written and spoken english test — before they can get behind the wheel.
that's because the taxi app, uber, has lost its high court battle with transport for london. uber‘s claim that the requirement was discriminatory was thrown out by the high court. the taxi firm says tens of thousands of drivers could now lose theirjobs as they can't pass the written test as sophie long reports. uber, the smartphone app that's become a popular way to get about town. but transport for london set a requirement that from october all private hire drivers, which include minicab and uber drivers, should not only be able to speak english, but pass a written test too. such a lovely man. he loves his comedy. hasan has been a private hire driverfor 15 years and driving for uber for three. he passed the speaking and listening test, but failed the written one. i took the test. they was asking me about mars. can you write anything about mars? i'm only a minicab driver in london. how i know about mars?
they can ask me anything about london, about prime minister's name, about any mp name, about uk, not about mars. i don't know what to do in the future. i have no idea. uber operates in 25 towns and cities across the uk. over 40,000 drivers have signed up to work with them. of those, the vast majority work in london, where they make over a million journeys every week. horns blare. traditional london cabbies protesting about the taxi app and changing regulations in part prompted the introduction of the test. uber challenged it, saying it would lead to indirect racial discrimination and result in more than 30,000 of their drivers losing their livelihoods. the mayor of london welcomed the ruling, saying, he's delighted the courts have backed his plans to drive up standards and improve passenger safety. and drivers of the traditional hackney cab are with him. i'm pleased it's coming,
because it keeps standards high in the capital. they've got to go through some sort of test. we have to go through a test. write an essay for a teacher about a festival in a country you know. you should give examples of what happens at the festival and explain why the festival is important. yeah, well, i mean, i don't know what to say about that to be honest. do you think it's fair enough? i'd say definitely, yeah. oh dear! the more difficult they make it for uber, the better it is for us london cab drivers, to be honest. uber say writing an essay has nothing to do with communicating with passengers or getting them safely from a to b, and they'll appeal. in the meantime, hasan and thousands of other private hire drivers like him will need to think about other possible routes ahead. sophie long, bbc news, london. the british street artist banksy has opened a hotel next to israel's
separation barrier in bethlehem. it's a hotel with a political message, making it a controversial addition to the city's tourist sites, as alex forsyth reports. steeped in irony — an artist's take on the grand hotels of a bygone age. this one claims to have the worst view in the world. the concrete slabs of the barrier israel has built in and around the occupied west bank are just feet away. this hotel as much a political statement as a new business. inside, echoes of an english gentlemen‘s club. but the artwork is a sharp contrast. banksy‘s critical view of life under israeli occupation, designed to persuade visitors of the palestinians' plight. as you lay down in your bed and you will look at the wall and you will look at the paintings all around you, and you will see the agony and the images of what could be a different future. and i believe that's the best mobilisation message for people
to get on their feet and act. the elusive artist has left his mark on the west bank before. there's even a shop selling his merchandise in bethlehem. his provocative art — not always popular — does attract attention. when banksy‘s work first appeared here in the west bank and then in gaza, there was some concern he was depicting palestinians as downtrodden, and some criticism in that by painting on the wall he was somehow normalising it, even making a feature out of it. and from an israeli perspective, undermining something they see as essential to their security. the architects of the controversial separation barrier have always defended its existence. we had so many terror attacks from the west bank to israel from 2000, until 2006, and even these days, there is still terrorists, that are trying to cross from the west bank to israel
and we have to stop them. but for critics the barrier is an infringement on freedom, a reason to protest, and now, an experience to pay for, with prices from tens, to hundreds of pounds a night, for a room with a view. alex forsyth, bbc news, bethlehem. a pregnant giraffe — due to give birth at a zoo in new york state — has become an internet sensation. the animal adventure park at harpursville has set up a live—stream so people can follow the pregnancy every step of the way, and it's proved very popular. andy beatt reports. millions around the world wait and wait for april to give birth. this celebrity resident is expecting her fourth calf. having been pregnant for 15 months, it cannot come a moment too soon. her keepers say, perhaps unsurprisingly, that she has become grumpy and breathless. it looks like the baby is just days, maybe even hours away. her appearance is suggesting end of pregnancy —
mammary development, back—end swelling, the way she is carrying the calf — we are close. nearly 20 million people are following online with the zoo live streaming from april's enclosure around the clock. there's also a range of april themed hats, t—shirts and baby wear — everyone, it seems, loves a giraffe. we are completely overwhelmed. i said to my team when we first put it up, wouldn't it be remarkable if we had 10,000 people watch her give birth. well, we're seeing a lot more than that. but some giraffe watchers are getting impatient. taking to social media to express their frustration. they say addition to the live stream is disrupting their life. there are even tongue—in—cheek claims that the whole thing may be fake news. for april though it is all too real. when her calf does finally arrive, weighing 70kg and standing 6 foot tall, it will spark celebrations across the globe. fans can then take a stake
in the future in a competition to name the new arrival. andy beatts, bbc news it seems like they have turned the lights out so that april can get some sleep. if you want to see how she is faring, just search for jarrah giving birth online. it is one of the first video is that pops up one of the first video is that pops up —— giraffes. now to kansas where traffic police found themselves dealing with more than just automobiles... some 60 cows were on the hoof in lenexa after their transport truck overturned on a nearby road. at least five police cars where brought in to round up the roaming cattle who were seemingly enjoying their new found freedom.
as you can see though they are not easily corralled and a number are still on the loose. good morning. for most of us, friday was a miserable day but, for the favoured few, it was glorious. if you don't believe me, look at the weather watchers picture. not a cloud in the sky hardly. a beautiful day across the far north of scotland. but for most of us it was grey and grim. a lot of heavy rain around and this poor old garden in barnsley, well, that tells the tale, doesn't it, really, and it could be a soggy affairfor some of us over the weekend. but not all the time. there will be some rain around but some of us could manage to get some dry weather in there as well. particularly when you look at where the low pressure is. it's centred to the north across scotland and circulating around that low on the outer edge there will be some stronger winds but further inland we should get a decent slice of dryer weather. so do try to put that in context. it looks as though scotland,
you will have a different day today. there will be a lot of cloud, rain around, snow to the tops of mountains, it will be cold as well. showery outbreaks of rain into northern ireland and a fair amount of cloud across northern england. just head a little further south and first thing on saturday morning it's not a bad start for wales and much of central and southern england. into the far south—west it will be windy and wet at times. the strongest of the winds circulating around the outside edge of that area of low pressure. but a central and eastern parts of england, for you, not a bad day. there should be a decent slice of sunshine coming through. and, with a little shelter, some sunshine, those temperatures will feel reasonable at around ten or 12 degrees. not so the case with the cloud and rain further north. but it does mean for many of the premiership matches it looks as though it will be a largely dry affair. we could see some showers for the liverpool—arsenal evening kickoff there. now as we move out of saturday, we were talking about the potential for the stormy weather across the alps, still the risk of snow, significant snow to come,
but for us a frontal system pushing into the far south—west brings a different story on sunday. for many it will be a pretty grim start to the second half of the weekend with some heavy rain moving its way steadily north and east as we go through the day, and the winds increasing as well. so it'll be a dismal start but a slow improvement, so i suspect for the tottenham match hopefully the bulk of the rain will clear away but sunderland—man city could be a soggy affair. as we move into monday and tuesday it looks as though we will continue to see an unsettled spell of weather. quite cloudy but largely dry perhaps down to the south. the headlines on bbc news: the iraqi government has blamed islamic state militants for an apparent chemical weapons attack during the battle for mosul. it is understood that 12 people have been hospitalised, but it is unclear exactly which chemical was used. the centre—right candidate in the french presidential race, francois fillon, has had another setback. his campaign manager has quit. it is the latest sign
that he is losing support in the face of a corruption scandal. a former journalist, juan thompson, has been accused of making bomb threats againstjewish centres, and of cyber—stalking his ex—girlfriend. it is alleged thompson sent threats to a jewish school in michigan, thejewish history museum in new york, and a community centre in manhattan. in about ten minutes we will have this week's edition of newswatch, but first it is time for click.