this is bbc news. i'm reeta chakrabarti. the headlines: the dup and sinn fein prepare to begin talks aimed at forming a new power—sharing government in northern ireland after the republicans celebrate a surge in support. the election yesterday was in many ways a watershed election, and we have started the process of reflecting what it all means. 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. police trying to find a convicted murderer who escaped during a hospital visit in liverpool last week have arrested four men in poole, in dorset. also in the next hour: thousands of people have been marching in london to demonstrate over nhs cuts.
0rganisers described the event as a rallying call to save the nhs. and sportsday is at 6:30 p.m.. sinn fein are celebrating their best ever showing elections to the irish assembly. they have 127 seats, just one behind the democratic irish unionists. gerry adams said it was a watershed election. the two parties now have three weeks to try to agree a new power—sharing coalition.
sinn fein believe they have changed the political picture in northern ireland. if this election was a battle in the long fight between unionism and nationalism, they are claiming victory. clearly the unionist majority in the assembly has been ended and the notion of a permanent or perpetual unionist majority has been demolished. the dup are still stormont‘s biggest party, but they can only watch as republican add to their sizeable lead from the last election just ten months ago. many voters were motivated by the harsh words of the campaign. at one stage the dup compared republicans to crocodiles. now they have bitten back. in order to go back into government sinn fein are calling for 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. it is a demand that has angered mrs foster's party. now we have got to pick up the pieces after a brutal election and the party which has got most to be concerned about as to how to repair the damage is sinn fein. for so long the big beast of politics here, unionism is facing a fresh threat from nationalism. just months ago they seemed to be working together, but in unionist east belfast with the cs lewis square has been built in honour, there is a certain concern about what is emerging. our whole government system is not working for the people who need it. they are up there squabbling over very little to be honest. republicans are out again in force, so they are. we should get off our backsides and go and vote. 0nce hailed as the champion of unionism, this statue stands outside stormont.
today his political successors are on their guard and no one is sure if a deal to restore power—sharing is within their grasp. 0ur correspondent gillian hargreaves is in belfast for us. she told me that during their press conference this afternoon sinn fein‘s leaders seemed a little more conciliatory. yes, the tone of gerry adams‘s news conference there was quite diplomatic. he said yes they would assert their mandate, because they have done very well in the poll, but he did say they would try to find a way to go forward. sinn fein‘s leader in stormont, michelle 0'neill, said that she was pretty confident that negotiations could take place if political parties went in with the right attitude, although she did acknowledge it wouldn't be easy. and gerry adams said that while his party acknowledged that arlene foster is the leader
of the democratic unionist party, they are saying they cannot work with her as first minister while there is this ongoing public enquiry into exactly how taxpayers‘ money was used in this botched renewable energy scheme which of course caused the last stormont administration to break up amid so much acrimony. and they don't have long to sort it out. no, they have about three weeks. on monday the new assembly members will go to stormont, that is a reception day, and then negotiations will start. they have until the 27th of march. the secretary of state then can either order fresh elections if people cannot agree. he can give them more time if he thinks that the parties do have some common ground and theyjust need to keep talking, or he could impose direct rule from westminster, and that means that whilst civil servants would be involved in the day—to—day running of northern ireland's affairs here, it would ultimately be ministers in westminster have the final say
on all sorts of policies and life over here. gillian, many thanks. donald trump has accused the obama administration of orchestrating a plot to tap his phones in the run up to last year's presidential election. in a series of messages on twitter, president trump accused mr obama of personally authorising the alleged tapping and compared it to the watergate scandal, but offered no evidence that it had taken place. in the last few minutes a spokesman for mr obama has rejected the claims and said neither mr obama norany white house official ever ordered surveillance on any us citizen, adding any suggestion otherwise was simply false. 0ur washington correspondent laura bicker reports. there is a protocol between presidents, even across the political divide — a peaceful handover of power even when the pair do not get along. in a tirade of tweets donald trump has trashed this tradition.
he accused barack obama of ordering a wire tap on his trump tower phone, not in one, but in four tweets. the last read: "how low has president obama on to attack my phones during the very secret election process?" "this is nixon — watergate. what a contrast to his tone during this week's address to congress. this was not the pivot to a different kind of president that many people thought. so were the trump towers phones tapped 7 the conservative news organisation breitbart seems to think so, and it blames barack obama. but no president has the power to order a wiretap, only the fbi can do that, with a warrant from the court. president trump is now facing calls to produce proof of his claims. the foreign secretary borisjohnson has announced that he will visit
moscow in the coming weeks, in an attempt to improve relations with russia. it will be the first such trip by a british minister for five years. talks will focus on british — russian relations, and disagreements over russia's actions in ukraine and syria. the foreign office said the trip did not signal a change in policy towards russia. the prime minister of somalia says over a hundred people from a drought—hit region in the country have died of hunger in the past two days. the drought was declared a national disaster on tuesday, and the united nations estimates that five million people are in need of aid. thousands have made their way to the capital in search of food. 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 the world. 66% of the vehicles made here are exported, may lead to europe. but the workers here may have new bosses from monday when it is likely the company that makes peugeot cars, psa, confirms it has bought vauxhall and 0pel. but with too many factories in europe and not enough demand, it says it is likely to have a look at which plants to keep open and that puts vauxhall under the microscope. it employs just over 2,000 staff at ellesmere. they make astras. it will affect a lot ofjobs in the area in ellesmere port. there is nothing here is vauxhall close. it is really bad news. its van making factory in luton employs 1,400 people.
i am optimistic about the plant in luton, but the prospect of car manufacturing in uk will come down to the kind of deal we get out brexit. in all, vauxhall makes just under 200,000 cars a year. psa has the capacity to build more cars, it does not need these plants in britain and there are obstacles in the way with currency fluctuations and problems posed by brexit with freedom of movement of people and parts as well. the government says it is cautiously optimistic it will be able to limit the job losses as a result of this deal possibly by providing the kind of us yours as it gave to nissan in sunderland. we do not know what those assurances are for sure, but there are quite a few british—based car makers who will be watching very carefully. this week nissan said it now needs £100 million to support car manufacturing in the north east. bmw said it might make battery—powered mini cars in germany instead of britain and ford may be shedding more than 1000 jobs in wales.
the pressure will mount on theresa may to support the automotive sector at the very time she will be entering talks with the eu over brexit. 0ur correspondent megan paterson has been outside the vauxhall plant in ellesmere port throughout the day, where she's been gauging reaction to the reports from those who work there. you can see behind me through the wire fences rows and rows of brand—new vauxhall cars and vans and behind that a factory building. the people inside that building have been worried greatly by the news today. it is uncertainty for the future and what it means the jobs here, not just the next years but next decades. the concern is psa is a french company and 14% of it is owned by the french state, and the worry here is that will mean jobs in france are protected, meaning a risk to those like here in ellesmere port and in luton. earlier we spoke to people in ellesmere port town centre, around ten minutes away.
everyone was quick to say how crucial this employer is for the town and area. lots of people saying there isn't another industry here to plug the gaps ifjobs were to go. they had concern notjust for those working in the building and their families, but also small businesses in the supply chain and the cafes and shops that rely on this site being busy. over the last few months politicians and union representatives have stepped up the campaign to get guarantees for the workers here and luton to get protection for them. it looks certain now that campaign will be stepped up over the next few days. we understand the jobs here would be protected until 2020, but what happens after that is a massive uncertainty. clarity expected on monday with an announcement about the takeover, but negotiation expected to go on over the coming weeks to give people here reassurance about the future. mercedes is recalling 75,000 cars
in the uk because they're at risk of catching fire. they are among 1 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. more now on the news that donald trump has accused the obama administration of tapping his phone during the presidential election campaign. let's speak to laura now — who's at a rally in support of president trump. that appeal we heard from president trump for unity several days ago did not last long. this morning, a series of four tweets rarely talks about being wiretapped. he says they
we re about being wiretapped. he says they were ordered by president obama and says they were ordered on trump tower in new york. he described president obama as a bad or sick guy for doing so. these rallies that you are seeing are in support of donald trump. they are gathering because they say they voted for this man because they believe in him and still believe in him. this is in response to protests that have happened across the country. these are boarders who say that he is enacting everything they asked him to. we can show you pictures in north carolina of the march they are, his supporters gathering all over the country, including here in washington, dc. but when it comes to the wiretapping, president trump says that he wants an investigation into president 0bama's conduct but is yet to put forward any confirmation or any evidence for his claims. we are waiting to hear more
on what he has to say when it comes to that. a lot of support from the president from the people behind you, but in the meantime president 0bama you, but in the meantime president obama has issued a statement responding fully and sharply to the allegations. yes, he has responded in the last 15 minutes, he said neither president obama nor any white house official ordered surveillance on any us citizen, any suggestion otherwise is simply false. that is a statement from president 0bama's spokesperson in response to those tweets this morning. when it comes to the democrats and how they have responded, they are saying this is the deflector in chief. what they are saying is that donald trump is trying to deflect from the controversy within his own administration and trying to deflect it back to president obama. and that
is because we saw members of the administration having to step aside because of claims over con tact with russian officials because he had met with a russian ambassador and failed to disclose it under oath during a senate hearing. also michael flynn had to step down after it was revealed he met the russian ambassador and talk to him about sanctions and then failed to disclose that to the vice president. when it comes to the russian controversy it does not seem to be going away. to his supporters here, none of that matters. they say this isa man none of that matters. they say this is a man who will continue to fight for what they believe in, but when it comes to his critics, they say this is a deflection and what they say is a need to investigate the russian links fully. the headlines on bbc news: the dup and sinn fein prepare to begin talks aimed at forming a new power—sharing
government in northern ireland after the republicans celebrate a surge in support. president trump has accused his predecessor, barack obama, of tapping his phone calls during last year's election campaign. a spokesman for mr obama has rejected the claims. 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. four men have been arrested in connection with the escape of a convicted murderer in liverpool. the arrests in the hunt for shaun walmsley were made in poole in dorset on friday. walmsley went on the run last month when two armed men confronted prison officers who were guarding him at aintree university hospital. police say none of those arrested were the escaped murderer. dan johnson has been following developments. there were armed police on the street with guns, they shot at the tyres in the car, so people knew something serious had happened.
it is only now we realise that this is connected to the disappearance of shaun walmsley, his escape from custody two weeks ago. dorset police ran this investigation and they have arrested four men all from liverpool in connection with his escape, and they have been handed over to merseyside police who are investigating, they will question these four men about exactly what happened, two 24—year—olds and two 25—year—old from liverpool. three others were arrested in liverpool already, two men and a woman, and no sign of shaun walmsley. do the police have any idea where he is? it does not look like it. they said this was going to be a national investigation. as in as he escaped the involved police forces across the country. so brad is no surprise that forces as far away
as dorset have been involved. speculation that he may have quickly gone abroad. he was serving a serious sentence, expected to do a minimum of 30 years in prison, he is a convicted murderer with gangland connections, the kind of person who might be able to disappear quickly. it looks like the police are working on this, they are building a network, getting an understanding of who may have been involved in the escape, but no sign of shaun walmsley himself. the remains of a young child have been found on the isle of sheppey, according to kent police. officers were called to broadway in sheerness around one o'clock this afternoon. they say the age and identity of the infant is not yet known, and neither is the cause of death. police say they are keen to locate the mother because they are concerned of her well—being. 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 try to establish
the cause of death. thousands of people have taken part in a march and demonstration in london today 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. people travelled from across the country to attend the march. the labour leaderjeremy corbyn addressed the crowd. theresa may could not wait to get to the united states to discuss trade agreements with donald trump. i tell you this, we are going to block any trade agreement that gives a green light for us health care companies to come here and strip out and take from our national health service. the united nations estimates that over the past seven days, 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. 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. 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. 0n the eve of china's biggest political event of the year — the people's congress — beijing has announced it will raise the country's defence budget by about 7%. it comes against the background of growing tensions in the south china sea — and donald trump's call for a big rise in us defence spending.
china will shift resources from land based troops to air and sea power. from beijing, stephen mc‘donell reports. china has an increase in military spending after president donald trump has said that us military budget will increase by ten percentage. there are fears of a regional arms race developing. it has become tradition for the chinese government to announce its military spending increase in percentage terms at least the day before the start of the annual national people's congress. translation: fundamentally speaking, the united states is probably worrying that china's and abilities might be catching up to or exceeding that of the us. in fact, china catching up to or exceeding that of the us. infact, china is catching up to or exceeding that of the us. in fact, china is a developing country still has a great gap with the united states in its capabilities. however, china's
military development and construction is to continue. this is the second year in a row for china to post a single digit increase in its spending. this followed increments over the decades of nearly ten percentage or more. however, some analysts have warned this country's official military budget is not reliable, and that the realfigure could be much higher. by the way china is seeking to match us so—called live to asia and washington is further increasing its presence in the region as a means of winding back what it sees as china's expansion. with the national people's congress opening on sunday, comparisons are being made this year between china and america, not only on the military front, and also on issues like free trade and renewable energy. a group of peers has dismissed claims the uk could face a so—called "divorce bill" of up to 52 billion pounds 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. earlier, baroness kishwer falkner, the lib—dem peer and chair of the eu financial affairs sub—committee, explained the thinking behind the house of lords report. we took legal advice from a variety of experts, and where that legal advice conflict and 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 article 50, everyone is familiar with that, which says that if you have a withdrawal agreement and if you don't do that within two years at the end of the two—year period the treaties cease to apply.
those are the words they used. then there is another treaty called the vienna convention, which goes back to 1969. that says that when parties are breaking legal obligations, withdrawing from treaties, they are still to some extent bound by existing liabilities. we look at that very clearly, and it also said they are only bound by their existing liabilities unless there are arrangements in place in that treaty. our conclusion is, yes, if there is no withdrawal agreement, the united kingdom can leave without having any legal obligations. that can be adjudicated by any court. interestingly, the government has acknowledged that there are some programmes such as the common agricultural policy, research funding, horizon 2020, that they have already committed
to paying until the end of the budgetary period which was supposed to be 2020. they said even if we leave will continue to make up... this was to give confidence to farmers that payments would continue. we expect the government to define in greater detail over the next period what other things and would expect to pay if it lost receipts in the united kingdom lost receipts from the eu. now let's get the weather. thanks, what a mishmash we had. it has been a busy day, nothing too extreme. i will not have made many friends on the north—eastern side of scotland, the north—eastern side of scotland, the rainfall totals adjusting over an inch of rain has fallen there, but if showers across the west, but as the sun went down they continue their journey theirjourney northwards and eastwards, some heavy in their own right. it will continue to move up
to the heart of scotland over towards the eastern side of the pennines as we get through the evening. then a new area of cloud and rain in the south—west. temperatures trickle down to one or two celsius at the worst. the rain will come to rest over the heart midlands and wales. the good news story is that scotland, northern ireland and the north of england will see more sunshine than was the case today. it won't be difficult, willett? the dup and sinn fein prepared to begin talks aimed at forming a new power—sharing government in northern ireland after the republicans celebrate a surge in support. the unionist majority in the assembly has been ended. the notion of a permanent or perpetual unionist majority has been demolished. president trump chooses his predecessor of tapping his phone calls during last year's election