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tv   BBC News  BBC News  March 4, 2017 2:00pm-2:31pm GMT

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this is bbc news. the headlines at 2pm: sinn fein celebrates a surge in support in northern ireland's assembly elections. the dup is still the biggest party but with just one more seat than the republicans. president trump accuses the obama administration of tapping his phone during the presidential election campaign. concerns over the impact for 4,000 vauxhall workers in britain, as a french car company reportedly reaches a deal to buy general motors‘ european operations. a house of lords report says britain is not be legally obliged to make a final budget payment to the eu after brexit. also in the next hour: thousands of people march in london to demonstrate over nhs cuts. protestors have travelled from across the country and jeremy corbyn is expected to address the crowd. and we're visting hull as britain's city of culture for 2017. that's in half an hour
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here on bbc news. good afternoon and welcome to bbc news. sinn fein are celebrating their best ever showing in elections to the northern ireland assembly. with all the votes counted, they've won 27 seats, just one behind the democratic unionists. sinn fein‘s president, gerry adams, has described the result as "an end to the old status quo". the two parties now have three weeks to agree a new power—sharing coalition. from belfast, chris buckler reports. the battle between unionism and nationalism has been at the centre of politics in northern ireland for decades. and the harsh words of old returned during this election campaign. the dup leader even compared
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irish republicans to crocodiles. if you feed a crocodile, they are going to keep coming back and looking for more. this vote saw republicans bite back. the increase in support for sinn fein has left them just a single seat behind the democratic unionist party. until the start of this year, they worked in coalition with their old rivals, but now the animosity has returned, and that leaves major questions about the future of power—sharing at stormont. it is time for political leadership, it is time to get back to the principles of the good friday agreement. it is time to fix what is wrong. i think that is all doable if people come at it with the right attitude. but after such a bitter break—up, getting unionists back together with republicans will not be easy, and that is particularly true because of one demand sinn fein is making of the dup. they want arlene foster to step aside as first minister while a public enquiry takes place into a financial scandal linked to a botched green—energy scheme. last night, the dup leader left her count centre having refused
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all bbc interview requests. a lot of what they are asking for are undeliverable, because whilst they dress it up with nice platitudes and nice language, actually it is incredibly one—sided, it does not fit with the notion of partnership. for so long, the big beast of politics here, unionism is facing a fresh roar from nationalism. just months ago they seemed to be working together, but in unionist east belfast, where the cs lewis square has been built in honour of the author's mythical tales of battle, there is a certain concern about what is emerging. our whole government system is not working for the people who need it, because they are up there squabbling over very little, be honest. republicans are already gaining force, so they are, we should get off our backsides and get out and vote now. many see the current divisions as a return to the politics of the past, and once again a time
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of uncertainty for stormont. earlier chris buckler explained how northern ireland is experiencing turbulent times. brexit poses particular problems for northern ireland, which is remember the only pa rt ireland, which is remember the only part of the uk with a land border with another eu country. there's a lot of trade that crosses that border. this election result has had consequences. the ulster unionist leader has stepped down because of the poor result of his party within these elections. beyond that, the dup reduction in seats means they've lost the petition of concern, basically, a veto at stormont to block any legislation they don't like, for example, they used that to stop the introduction of same—sex marriage here. looking towards a future, the dup and sinn fein have to pick up the pieces to see if they can form a power—sharing government together that. is not going to be easy. it raises the prospect that westminster might have to take over, at least for a time, and run
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government here in northern ireland while they try to come to some sort of agreement. us president donald trump has taken to twitter to accuse barack obama of wire—tapping his office before the election. he described president obama as a bad or sick guy, but offered no evidence to support his claims. using his personal twitter account, mrtrump claims using his personal twitter account, mr trump claims that mr obama was behind tapping his phone during the election process. he likened the claims to the president nixon watergate scandal. he alleged the wire tapping took place in trump tower in new york. he said that a court had earlier denied a wiretap request. recent reports suggested the fbi sought a warrant last summer in order to monitor members of the trump team suspected of irregular contact with russian officials. the warrant was first turned down then approved in october, according to the reports. there's been no official confirmation. it's also not
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clear if this evolved into a full investigation. the french carmaker which owns peugeot and citroen is reported to have reached an agreement to buy vauxhall from general motors. talk of a deal has raised concerns about the future of vauxhall‘s two uk factories — at luton and ellesmere port — which employ more than 4,000 people. an official announcement is expected on monday. our business correspondent joe lynam reports. this vauxhall plant is one of the more efficient car—making factories in europe. 82% of the astras made here are exported, mostly to europe. but the workers here may have new bosses from monday, when it is likely that the company which makes peugeot cars, psa, confirms that it has bought vauxhall and 0pel. but with too many factories in europe and not enough demand, psa is likely to have a long, hard look at which plants to keep open. and that puts vauxhall under the microscope. vauxhall employs just under 2000 staff and its ellesmere port plant,
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which makes astras. it van—making factory in luton employees moo people, with around 18,000 jobs dependent on vauxhall throughout the uk. in all, vauxhall makes just under 200,000 cars a year, in the short—term we will see the ellesmere port plant staying open till 2021. you can't change things that quickly in the car industry. in the longer term it's very bad news for vauxhall manufacturing in the uk. it presents a lot of issues, psa has capacity to build more cars in its own plants. it doesn't need these plants in britain. 0f its own plants. it doesn't need these plants in britain. of course, there are obstacles in the way with currency fluctuations, the problems posed by brexit i freedom of movement, freedom of movement of parts as well. nissan said this week it now needs £100 million to support car manufacturing in sunderland. bmw said it might now make battery—powered minis in germany instead of britain. and ford looks like it could be shedding more than 1000 jobs at its engine—making plant
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in bridgend in wales. all of these companies are demanding sweeteners from theresa may to protectjobs. and they all need to knowjust as she is in the middle of intensive and possibly divisive talks about the future trading relationship with the eu. mercedes is recalling 75,000 cars in the uk because they're at risk of catching fire. they are among one million cars affected worldwide, after 51 fires were reported. the company says the risk is small and that nobody has been injured. many mercedes models built between 2015 and 2017 could be affected. police in birmingham have launched an investigation after a nine—year—old boy died from a suspected allergic reaction. the child collapsed at the al hijrah school in bordesley green yesterday afternoon. police say a postmortem examination will be carried out, to establish the cause of death.
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a group of peers has dismissed claims the uk could face a so—called "divorce bill" of up to £52 billion when it leaves the eu. the lords eu financial affairs committee says the government might not have to pay anything if there is no post—brexit deal — but says concessions are likely if the government wants to secure access to eu markets. baroness kishwer falkner, the lib—dem peer and chair of the eu financial affairs sub—committee, explained to my colleague maxine mahwhinney — the thinking behind the house of lords report. we took legal advice from a variety of experts, and where that legal advice conflicted, we tested that against our own select committee's legal adviser and came to a judgment that the two pertinent bits of law, one is of course article 50, everyone is very familiar with that, which says that you have two years to negotiate a withdrawal agreement, and if you do not do that within two years, at the end of the two—year
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period, the treaties, the eu treaties cease to apply, those are the words they use. then there is another treaty called the vienna convention on international treaties, which goes back to 1969. that says that when parties are breaking their legal obligations, pulling out of treaties, withdrawing from treaties, then they are still to some extent bound by their existing liabilities. we looked at that very clearly and it also said are only bound by their existing liabilities, unless there are arrangements in place in that treaty. so our conclusion is that, yes, if there is no agreement, the united kingdom can leave without having any legal obligations. that can be adjudicated by any court. what about sticking points in this? what about programmes that the uk is involved in or debts that should be honoured up until that point? interestingly, the government has
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acknowledged that there are some programmes such as the common agricultural policy, research funding, something called horizon 2020, that they have already committed to paying until the end of the budgetary period, which was supposed to be 2020. they have said that even if we leave we will continue to make up, this was to give confidence to farmers that the payments would continue. we expect the government to define in greater detail over the next period what other things it would expect to pay if it lost receipts, if the united kingdom lost receipts from the eu. £52 billion, that is a huge figure? we went to brussels, we spoke to a huge number of experts here and in brussels, it seems to us that the range is so wide at the bottom end, the figure we came up with was £15 billion, the top end, as you say,
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could go to 60 billion euros, which is £52 billion. so we came to a view that it was impossible to come to a settled figure until you decide what it is you will pay and how much you will pay to those. for very different things, for example, pensions, we came up with three figures. the pensions of united kingdom staff who have worked over the years in the eu, came to different figures of assets and liabilities, eu balance—sheet accounts are not regular balance—sheet accounts, so at the end of the day it will depend on the negotiation. is there a chance, do you think, that britain could be held to ransom to pay something for political reasons to continue a relationship? i would not use the word ransom, because the uk has itself... the prime minister herself in her white paper says that she wants to have a free—trade relationship with the eu, that she does not want a disorderly exit, that she wants to continue
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research and innovation funding with the eu technical funding. so the government have outlined the areas, even at this point, where they really want to continue. so on that basis, i would rather call it payments for access. so there will be certain things that the united kingdom decides it still wants to do with the eu — in light of that, it would earn goodwill by notjust paying into those programmes, but taking a longer—term view of its future relationship with the eu, the kind of relationship it wants, and then adjusting the figure appropriately. thousands of people are marching in london today to to protest at cuts to nhs services. 0rganisers say theresa may's demands on austerity in the nhs represent a real risk to patients and safety. you can see these pictures coming to
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us you can see these pictures coming to us from central london. people marching down whitehall. this is a demonstration that took place last year. it attracted apparently 150,000 people. so a very big march last year. this year the organisers predict tens ever thousands will attend. the nhs rally going on at the moment. earlier our correspondent richard lister spoke to one of the rally organisersjohn rees from the people's assembly. i think we've realised that the crisis in the nhs isn't going away. it got worse, than 2013, in 2014, worse again the following year. worse again now. this is an absolute bedrock service that every working person, who can't afford private health care depends on for their health care depends on for their health and livelihood and often their lives. you can't ignore this. it's been prioritised, it's been cut. when do we ever hear of 19 whole hospitals being closed in one go? the government has to change
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course on this. the government have argued that another £10 million in real terms has been given to the nhs by the end of 2021. that these are straightened times and the money, unlimited versions of money are not available any more. the government has had enough money in successive budgets to reduce corporation tax in this country, so that it's the lowest in europe and lower now than when margaret thatcher was the prime minister. perhaps, if wejust put corporation tax back up to the level that margaret thatcher found acceptable, we could find some more money for the nhs. do you think, to some extent, the debate about the nhs has been eclipsed by other political concerns like brexit over recent months? i certainly think that's true to a degree. now people have witnessed over this winter that something, which is absolutely fundamental to their lives is being privatised, that wages are being restrained. hospitals are being close. —— closed. they better do something about it for something we
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have depended upon all our lives. working people feel very aggrieved that they watch the wealth in the top of society piling up. they see corporate bonuses and they look round at the local hospital and services being cut. most people think this typifies everything that's wrong with this government and the way that it's dealing with problems in this country. the headlines on bbc news: sinn fein make big gains in northern ireland's assembly elections. the dup is still the biggest party but with just one more seat than the republicans. president trump accuses the obama administration of tapping his phone during the presidential election campaign. the president tweeted "this is nixon/watergate". there are fears for the future of vauxhall plants in britain after a french car company — which produces peugeot vehicles — reportedly reaches a deal to buy general motors' european operations. the foreign office has announced that borisjohnson will visit russia
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in the coming weeks. in the meeting, the foreign secretary is expected to hold talks with his russian counterpart, sergey lavrov. mrjohnson has stated that britain's policy towards russia is to ‘engage but beware'. discussions will focus on the uk—russia relationship, as well as current international issues including syria and ukraine. borisjohnson will be the be the first british minister to travel to moscow for an official visit in more than five years. with me is our political correspondent, ellie price. this is going to be interesting, borisjohnson has this is going to be interesting, boris johnson has been this is going to be interesting, borisjohnson has been quite rude about the russians in the recent past. yeah, makes for a quite awkward visit, i suspect. we've had borisjohnson suggesting that moscow has been guilty of war crimes in syria. he suggested that there's no case for relaxing sanctions over ukraine. 0f case for relaxing sanctions over ukraine. of course, the suggestion that russians have been up to dirty tricks with regards to cyber attacks. the russian embassy have
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countered that by suggesting that borisjohnson countered that by suggesting that boris johnson wants to countered that by suggesting that borisjohnson wants to re—open the cold war. it would seem much to talk about during this visit. weir told that this visit will be, during this visit, borisjohnson will be robust. there's no suggestion that this is co——ying up to moscow, but it might be in britain's national interest to engage with russia, as you said there, not to engage but beware. so plenty to talk about. there's another context here, of course, as well, we're waiting to hear what donald trump wants to do. there's suggestions that donald trump would like to engage with russia over the issue of counter—terrorism. the whole world is waiting to find out exactly how that relationship is likely to pan out. perhaps not that surprising that britain would like to re—engage with russia and re—engage with its own relationship. it is significant, isn't it? this is the first visit by a senior british politician in five years. the first visit by a foreign secretary in five yea rs. visit by a foreign secretary in five years. i think that gives you some kind of measure of exactly how
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strained these tensions have been. of course, theresa may and vladimir putin have been in the same room, talking about all sorts of things at different summits. yeah, it gives some sense ofjust how difficult these things can be. probably about time, cow say. all right, many thanks. malaysia says the north korean ambassador must leave the country in the next 48 hours. the two nations have fallen out after pyongyang was accused of being behind the death of kim jong—nam — the estranged half brother of north korea's leader. he was poisoned last month at kuala lumpur airport. meanwhile, a north korean held in malaysia in connection with the death says he is the victim of a conspiracy by the malaysian authorities. speaking in beijing after his deportation from malaysia, ri jong chol accused the malaysian police of threatening his family — and trying to tarnish the honour of north korea. the united nations estimates that over the past seven days,
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15,000 children have been forced out of the iraqi city of mosul, where a mass exodus of civilians is happening. iraqi government forces are pressing into the western side of the city, but are facing fierce resistance from so—called islamic state. the un says it has seen a significant increase in displacement in recent days. as david campanale now reports, the hamam al alil refugee camp is approaching maximum capacity. the desperate escape from fierce fighting in western mosul. an endless stream of thousands of people. these residents of iraq's second city have nothing on their feet. and un aid coordinators say they've escaped with nothing, no luggage and the bare minimum of clothes. inside the city, islamic state are using car bombs, suicide attackers and snipers to resist the iraqi army's advance. as battles rage in these residential areas, civilians are being forced out from their homes.
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but as they run, they must first evade the merciless tactics of islamic state fighters, who openly admit residents are useful to them as human shields. translation: we fled at night. families which are caught fleeing are beaten, the men executed and women are sent back home. we hardly managed to escape. iraqi government forces, backed by western allies, are making headway against the islamists, and are advancing north of a sprawling military base near the city's airport. but mosul has 750,000 inhabitants. those displaced by the fighting have to endure wet conditions as they wait for the military to organise buses or trucks near a checkpoint to the south of the city. translation: the number of people who have arrived at this point is around 1,000, including women, men and children. they're in a desperate condition.
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they're malnourished and in a dire need of water and food. they're in a very miserable condition and they need medical and health care. the camp intended for internally displaced people is now close to its maximum capacity, with 150,000 places already occupied. agencies are already calling the battle for mosul the worst humanitarian crisis they've seen globally in a decade, but they're expecting it may be about to get a lot worse, with is fighting to hold on to last foothold in iraq. construction is under way, the united nations says, to accommodate up to 250,000 people in just this one camp. schools in england are to get a share of £215 million to improve facilities for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities. ministers say the money can be spent on specialised classrooms and resources, but not on general day—to—day school budgets. it comes as many local councils complain of
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a crisis in school funding. 0ne teaching union has described the new money as a drop in the ocean, but the government insists it will make a difference. i know of one head teacher who spoke to me who said just a small amount of capital investment can have a huge impact. it could be putting a lift into the school, it could be putting a kitchen, enhancing specialism in the classroom, so these are really important parts of investing in those children who have every right to have a great education as any other. mps have launched an investigation into the ecological impact of takeaway coffee cups and plastic bottles. the commons environmental audit committee said the situation needs to be looked at because only 23% of the 2.2 million tonnes of plastic used in the uk in 2014 was recycled. the committee is concerned there could be more plastics in the oceans than fish by 2050. sir bruce forsyth has reportedly returned home,
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after spending five nights in intensive care. the 89—year—old was being treated for a severe chest infection. in a statement released by his agent, sir bruce said he wanted to "say a special thank you to all the nhs doctors, nurses and staff" for their "kindness and ca re". joe 0rton‘s plays shocked, amused and challenged the public‘s attitudes towards gay people, in a time when homosexuality was illegal. to mark 50 years since he was killed by his lover kenneth halliwell, 0rton‘s most famous play, "what the butler saw" — is being put on stage in his home town of leicester. 0ur midlands correspondent sima kotecha went along to the rehearsals. i went to the ordinary sort of school that all children go to and i didn't get the 11 plus because i was rather dim at school. i wasn't dim, but i didn't get the 11 plus. joe 0rton, speaking just days before he was murdered by his lover, kenneth halliwell. to some, the playwright
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is a gay icon who challenged attitudes through black humour and witty scripting. why is he wearing my uniform? he isn't a boy, he's a girl. why is she wearing my shoes? she isn't a girl, she's a boy. what the butler saw, for many, is one of his best plays. and the curve theatre in his hometown of leicester, actors rehearse the scene packed with sexual innuendo. one of 0rton‘s typical hallmarks. it is contentious. i mean, it is subversive, it is having a go and the way society is organised. his younger sister never knew he was gay while he was alive. of course during that era, homosexuality was illegal and punishable by jail sentences. what are your thoughts around homosexuality and society today? we're not there yet, as they say. there are still cultures that are not accepting of being gay.
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which i think is very sad. because, you know, you don't always choose who you're going to fall in love with. oh, this place is like a madhouse! you must help me, i can see naked men! 0rton‘s critics sometimes described him as confused and perverted but his discussion of taboo is in 1960s britain is often praised. there is still so much inequality and injustice when it comes to sexuality, gender identity, which is a massive theme within the play. women's equality, freedom generally. it feels like it was ahead of its time then and it certainly is now. his family understand that not everybody is a fan of his work but they hope his central themes of equality and diversity are embraced by his audiences. i always hope that the world
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is more accepting of people who want to step outside of what we consider normal. let's see what the weather's up to. thanks very much. good afternoon. a real mish—mash on offer today. some of it fairly unpalatable, especially for a weekend when you have plans as well. at its worse across northern scotland, that slow moving weather front — rain, snow wind in there — some of the showers hefty through wales, increasingly drifting, as i ta ke wales, increasingly drifting, as i take you through the evening, over towards the eastern side of england. some of them are quite heavy. always the heaviest of them to be found across western parts. they mayjust merge for a time for the next couple
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of hours across northern ireland. 0vernight, we push that band of rain ever further north. we 0vernight, we push that band of rain everfurther north. we introduce another one across the south—western quarter. it gradually, through the day, swings its way from wales towards the midlands, towards the far south of northern england, towards east anglia. brighter skies behind. the wind will be a feature across the south at times. some of the gusts 60mph. at least we get a brighter day across scotland. on monday, we do it all again. a new area of low pressure flirts with the south—western quarter, before it d rifts south—western quarter, before it drifts away. then it's a day—ish, sunny spells and showers. see you later. this is bbc news. sinn fein have been celebrating big gains in northern ireland's assembly elections. the dup is still the biggest party but with just one more seat than the republicans. the two parties now have three weeks to try to agree a new power—sharing coalition. president trump accuses the obama administration
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of tapping his phone during the presidential election campaign. the president tweeted "this is nixon/watergate". there are fears for the future of vauxhall plants in britain after a french car company — which produces peugeot vehicles — reportedly reaches a deal to buy general motors' european operations. britain is not be legally obliged to make a final budget payment to the eu after brexit, according to a house of lords committee. downing street has described the report as a "significant contribution". thousands of people are marching in london to demonstrate over nhs cuts. protestors have travelled from across the country and jeremy corbyn is expected to address the crowd. now on bbc news, we visit hull as britain's city of culture for 2017.
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