a very warm welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to our viewers in north america and around the globe. my name's lebo diseko. our top stories: russia tried to hijack the us election through "propaganda on steroids," says a democratic senator investigating alleged kremlin political meddling. russia's president vladimir putin ordrered a deliberate campaign carefully constructed to undermine our election. behind bars — the former president of south korea is arrested over a corruption scandal that cost park guen—hye herjob. we return to homs, with the syrian conflict in its seventh year, to meet some of the city's children. and blast—off for space x, as the company makes history by sending a used rocket back into space. russia tried to hijack
the us election through "propaganda on steroids," the startling words of a senior democrat who's on the senate intelligence committee, as it began investigating alleged russian interference in last year's us election. our correspondent in washington is laura bicker. she has all latest for us now. just a little bit of breaking news that i can tell you, that there have been reports that general michael flynn, now, he was one of donald trump's close advisers during the presidential campaign, and also he was appointed as national security adviser, now it is understood that
he was asking, and is in discussion with, the senate house and house intelligence committee is, about giving testimony in return for being granted immunity or protection from what he calls unfair prosecution. now, it is worth remembering that general flynt was the national security advisor but was forced to resign from the administration after it was disclosed that he misled the vice president at about the nature of his calls with the russian ambassador, and the fbi is investigating his links to russia. but he is lawyer in a letter says he has a story to tell and very much wa nts to has a story to tell and very much wants to tell it to the senate and house intelligence committees, he says, but no reasonable person would submit to questioning in this witch—hunt environment without insurances against unfair prosecution. so that is the latest that we have on michael flynn, who may or may not give evidence. but
with regards to the evidence that has already been heard, here is what democratic senator mark warner had to say. russia's president vladimir putin ordered a deliberate campaign carefully constructed to undermine our election. russian propaganda outlets, like rt and sputnik, struck at our political institutions by electronically breaking into the headquarters of one of our political parties and stealing large amounts of information. the committee heard about a sophisticated operation that was alleged to have taken place. cyber security expert said that in key swing state they were operations under way, fake news operations, to disseminate this information to those who may be persuaded to vote. and when it comes to some of the
information that russian agents are alleged to have put out there, many believe, and certainly it was the belief of cyber security experts, that they were trying to target donald trump himself. clint watts is a former fbi agent testified that when it came to online habits they we re when it came to online habits they were monitoring the then campaign and wondering when he was online in the hope that he would see the fake news and then repeat it at one of his rallies. and he also said to the senate that they should follow the dead bodies because he said several russian officials that may have been involved in this have been killed in recent months. vladimir putin has a lwa ys recent months. vladimir putin has always denied any involvement. translation: did the russian government attempt to influence the result of the us election? translation: at one time he said,
read my lips, no. we are expecting to hear in the coming weeks from donald trump's rather in law, jared kushner, and his formerforeign campaign manager, paul manafort. both have been scrutinised for their contacts with russian officials during the election. donald trump has said repeatedly that he has never been involved in any of this, and he says that — and he has dismissed it as fake news. all right, laura, thank you very much. edward—isaac dovere is the chief washington correspondent for politico. first of all, i just want to get your reaction to this announcement from michael flynn's lawyer. well, i can tell you that politico has verified he has made a request through his lawyer, we obtained a letter he sent to the committee, although the committee at this point says that they are not calling it immunity that he has asked for, so it isa immunity that he has asked for, so it is a little, maybe, legaljargon here, but flynn is certainly seeking
some level of protection in exchange for testifying, they say, because of the crazy political environment that we are in. and tell me, in terms of today's, or the opening of the hearing, strong words from the democrats and also marco rubio. how surprised or you do hear that from a republican? well, it is not only that marco rubio spoke about the russian hacking, but he said that he had been subject to it, that his campaign had been hacked, or there was an attempt to hack it, during the campaign when he was running for president last year and there was as recently as a feud as ago another attempt at a former campaign staff at... and that it was traced to a russian ip address —— staffer. so, what we are seeing here is more and more admittedly circumstantial evidence, but evidence that points toa evidence, but evidence that points to a lot of rushing attempts to be involved in american politics —— russian. it doesn't mean necessarily
that the attempts were directed from the kremlin although we saw from the intelligence assessment may publicly at the end of the obama administration that the intelligence officials were tracing it to the highest levels of the russian government. you think these sorts of allegations have any effect on donald trump's presidency? he does have a very strong core support, doesn't he? he definitely does have strong core support although you see his approval rating at the beginning of this week according to the gallup poll was just 35%. now that means he is back down to essentially the republican base and maybe a few others, and that means that there is not probably that much further he can sing. however, this is clearly an anchor around the neck of the presidency, around the administration —— sink. every week brings one if not five new revelations. circumstantial, some dismiss them as being, as
inconsequential as some dismiss them as being, they just inconsequential as some dismiss them as being, theyjust keep coming. and we have seen just this week that jared kushner, the president's son—in—law and senior adviser met with a russian banking officialfor reasons that are completely unclear. maybe that was an innocent meeting, maybe it wasn't, but it is just more and more that it keeps piling up on this, when you also things like marco rubio talking about hacking he experienced, paul ryan, the house speaker, also the subject of a hack, and more information that is coming out all over the place about what is going on. all right, very interesting days indeed. thank you very much. the ousted south korean president, park geun—hye, is being held in a cell after being arrested on corruption charges. ms park, who denies wrongdoing, is accused of allowing a close friend, to extort money from companies in return for political favours. steve evans joins us from seoul. steve, how did it get to this? well,
this scandal‘s been swirling around for about two years now, and it is a raft of allegations, but the main allegation is that the president brokered a corrupt deal to her best friend and the big conglomerates at what happened at three o'clock in the morning was that she learnt that she will not be allowed her freedom pending a trial. so, she came into the court at 10am the previous morning, listened to the hearings with the prosecutor arguing, well, if she is allowed to go three she might destroy evidence, very serious allegations. and she then sat that out while the justices debated her argument and the prosecutor's argument, and then at 3am a rude awakening, she was told, you can't go free. she was put in a black limo with law enforcement officials and taken to a detention centre, where she will remain for at least three weeks. at the expectation is that the prosecution will come back
before that and say, we need an extension and furthermore charges are being brought. so, she could now face an extended period injail if she is found guilty. and this, remember, is a lady who three weeks ago was in the presidential palace. the averagejail ago was in the presidential palace. the average jail cell ago was in the presidential palace. the averagejail cell in ago was in the presidential palace. the average jail cell in korea, ago was in the presidential palace. the averagejail cell in korea, the standard jail cell in korea, is five square metres. basically her length by her length — a little bit more. no bed, only her mattress, you do your own washing—up. it is a change in lifestyle. steve, really, macri, difficult days for her, certainly andi difficult days for her, certainly and i know that you will keep across this for us. steve evans in seoul. in other news: israel has announced that it's to build the first new settlement in the occupied west bank in more than 20 years. the settlement near the palestinian city of nablus was approved at a meeting of israel's security cabinet on thursday.
palestinian officials have condemned the new plan and called for international intervention. south africa's president jacob zuma has sacked his finance minister pravin gordhan in a cabinet reshuffle. it comes after days of speculation that rocked the country's financial markets. despite many senior officials opposing mr gordhan‘s removal, he's been replaced with the man who was home affairs minister — malusi gigaba. there has been growing criticism of venezuela's president maduro after he allowed the supreme court to take over responsibility for lawmaking on the opposition controlled national assembly on wednesday. the head of the organisation of american states said that the decision had dealt the final blow to democracy in the country. part of a motorway in atlanta has collapsed after a major fire underneath an overpass. local reports say police believe it was caused by an electrical wire. so far, there are no reports of casualties. people are being advised to avoid the area. a ferry that was raised
from the bottom of the sea in south korea last week is being towed to port, where it will be searched for the remains of missing passengers. more than 300 people died when the sewol sank in 2014 but the bodies of nine people have never been recovered. now, it's being called one small step for a technology company — one giant leap in the search for cheap space exploration. a used rocket the falcon 9 has made history by being sent back into space. three, two, one... normally rockets are only used once before being discarded. are more cost—effective. spacex has now developed a way of landing its rockets safely back on earth after a mission. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: century of the selfie
— the new exhibition exploring the history of the social media phenomenon. the accident that happened here was of the sort that can at worst produce a meltdown. in this case the precautions worked, but they didn't work quite well enough to prevent some old fears about the safety features of these stations from resurfacing. the republic of ireland has become the first country in the world to ban smoking in the workplace. from today, anyone lighting up in offices, businesses, pubs and restaurants will face a heavy fine. the president was on his way out of the washington hilton hotel, where he'd been addressing a trade union conference. the small crowd outside included his assailant. it has become a symbol of paris. 100 years ago, many parisians wished it had never been built. the eiffel tower's birthday is being marked by a re—enactment of the first ascent by gustave eiffel. this is bbc news.
i'm lebo diseko. the latest headlines: a senior democrat on the senate intelligence committe has accused russia of trying to hijack the us election through what he calls "propaganda on steroids." the former president of south korea, park guen—hye, has been arrested over a corruption scandal that led to her impeachment. the us representative at the united nations says her country is no longer making president assad's removal a focus of its policy in syria. ambassador nikki haley said america's priority would now be, as she put it, to look at how best to make a difference for the syrian people. meanwhile, the syrian government has re—taken control of the city of homs, once the de facto capital of the revolution against him. our chief international correspondent, lyse doucet, has returned to the city, and his this report. winter 2014.
the old city of homs in rebel hands. besieged and bombarded for two years. the government finally allowed some families to leave. including baraha. eight years old. one of the most traumatised children i'd seen in this war. and what do you want to do now? look at her now. a wish come true. three years on. back in school. back in her old neighbourhood. baraha is now one of the oldest in her class. war forced her out of school.
now she's catching up. a crowded classroom. these eager kids know learning matters. so many syrian children aren't in school. you know, in some ways, of course, this is terrific to see, children just being children here in syria, in a place which has seen some of the worst fighting of the war. and now, an ordinary day, with children going to school and having fun. i walk with baraha to her home. through the alleyways of the old city, now in government hands. the last time i was here, it looked like this. looted. and a mortar hit the kitchen, killing her brother, decapitating her mother.
later, a mortar almost hit baraha and her sister. you 0k? something's landed, 0k. so, i met you three years ago, and now you are almost 12. so, how has baraha changed? translation: i am much happier now. we are back in our house. you are ok, you are sleeping at night, you don't have bad memories? translation: thank god i forgot everything. when i go to bed, i remember when i had a part in a play, i remember school, what i did during the day. it's all good stuff. no bad memories. hard for her father to forget, now bringing up four daughters on his own. heading into herfuture, this little girl has already been through so much. it's the same for all of them, children all across this country. their fate still lies in syria's hands. lyse doucet, bbc news.
and earlier, lyse explained the significance of the city of homs in terms of the wider syrian conflict. you travel here for mile after mile after mile and all you see is utter ruin. syria is entering its seventh year of war. the city once called the capital of the revolution which once saw some of the most peaceful protest, now the last fighter is leaving the last stronghold on this side. that means homs will be back in government hands. that does not mean it is old and control of the government and the army and allies. —— back in the. there were recent
suicide bombings in recent weeks as opposition becomes increasingly radicalised in some groups linked to al qaeda carrying out suicide bombings. sometimes it becomes quiet but then war comes back in a different shape. lyse doucet in homs there. australian authorities have told about 40,000 people to evacuate to higher ground as flash flooding after cyclone debbie gets worse. the storm hit queensland's most populous region on thursday after pummelling the north—east coast for two days. we spoke with deputy commissioner mark roche a short time ago, and first asked him about the latest rainfall in the region. we have got some significant rain. none in the past few hours, but in the past few days. overnight, some of the south coast and old ghost and queensland have hit well over 600 millimetres of rain. —— gold coast. that means many people have been rescued. people were surprised by
how quick the water came up. we are maintaining support for the community. we have had well over 5600 requests for assistance. we are out helping the community. we have had over 100 floodwater rescues that we are still dealing with at the moment. we knew it was going to be a big and long event. we actually knew that by probably late afternoon, yesterday afternoon, we would get 400- 500 yesterday afternoon, we would get 400— 500 millimetres of rain. that did occur. many in the committee we re did occur. many in the committee were surprised. but many did listen to the warning. it is good to see the community has been listening. because we have oui’ the community has been listening. because we have our troops out there. not only from queensland, but some from interstate to assist with the clean—up after the devastation of this cycle. and you can find out more about australia and the impact of cyclone debbie on our website.
ok, so, what do you do when the president of the united states calls up to play golf? greg norman is among those who have had to answer the question and it's not as easy as you may think. recently he spoke to the bbc and started by giving his assessment of president trump's form on the course. his flexibility for a 70—year—old guy is pretty darn good. he hits the ball out there are a fairly long way. you are notjust being nice? no. i have played with him a few times. i am not embellishing his golf swing. i am just telling you. i would mention if he had a bad one. he hits it extremely well. are you surprised with the stick that rory mcilroy got? he did get a lot of it, and wrongly so. if the president of the united states asks you to play golf, you have to play golf with the president of the united states. it is as simple as that. i don't care. a great story, to give you an analogy, i got a phone call from the white house saying the president will be in australia on this day.
i said, i am not a democrat. i don't want to play within. so what i did was i called up president bush 41. and i said, mr president, i need your advice, it is free. ijust got a call from the white house and president clinton requested i played golf with president clinton. i said i am not a democrat, i am a republican. he said, greg norman, let me tell you, respect the position of the president of the united states. you go and play golf with the president. i said "yes, sir." that is why i say with complete authority within myself that i prejudged the president. i was an idiot. it created a great friendship that i still have two this day. you just have to respect the position of the president of the united states. that is all i ask anybody out there globally. it is a common sight in many parts of the world. someone holding up a camera phone and taking a selfie. now, a new exhibition devoted
to this most modern form of self expression is opening in london. and it turns out the selfie may be older than you think. the bbc‘s tim allman explains. no matter where you are, no matter who you are, an actor, a politician, a religious leader, the selfie is almost unavoidable. this exhibition claims to be the first to explorer its history, going all the way back to the works of rembrandt. though their selfies took more time and effort. in the 21st century it seems to bea effort. in the 21st century it seems to be a clash between self—image and realities. and the latter may not a lwa ys realities. and the latter may not always come out on top. it is how we would like the world to see us, rather than who we are and what we are. it is more to do with social circumstances, social standing, how we would like people to see us in an ideal world. critics say the selfie
is inane and disposable, but is undoubtedly popular. in a world of cctv cameras and biometric technology, is it really sticking around? translation: if you have a credit card, you already have a selfie. the banks know what you bought and your geographical position and so on. the selfie is not optional. it is part of our identity for good, but mostly bad, creating and controlling society. nonetheless, millions more will carry on smiling for the camera. good or bad, the selfie is here to stay. tim allman, bbc news. and michael flynn's lawyer says he will give testimony of russian interference in exchange for protection from prosecution. michael flynn had to stand down as national
security adviser after he misled people on his mobile phone conversations. there were no assurances of unfair prosecution. don't forget, you can get in touch with me on twitter. thank you for watching bbc news. hi there. it was the warmest day of the year so far yesterday, with temperatures reaching 22 degrees celsius in the east, and 72 degrees fahrenheit. it wasn't warm and sunny everywhere. pulses of rain affecting north and western parts of the uk. the rain affecting this part of the country in the next 12 hours. the front very weak, though, as it goes south—east. the wettest weather will always be in the north and western parts. however, wherever you are in the morning, it is going to be a mild start to the day. temperatures around 11—12 degrees for many of us. but there will be some rain around.
i think it will be a wet start to the day across south—west england and wales. fairly heavy rain. a few spots getting across the midlands and hampshire. but not amounting to much, and east of this line it will probably be largely dry. the front will be very weak as it moves on later during the morning. northern ireland, a cloudy and wet note. the rain moves through quickly. skies will brighten up. a different story here in scotland. heavier as the day goes by, with some strengthening winds in the north. north—west england, some wet weather around lancashire and cumbria, though the rain rather patchy. cheshire and merseyside as well. as the weather front goes across south—east england, it will be so weak in the south—east it will bring little rain. the weather will brighten up with sunshine. and there will be some sunshine for a time in northern ireland. temperatures on the mild side, 22 degrees. then, during the night—time, well, low pressure will be swinging towards the south—west approaches, bringing a number of showers across wales and south—west england overnight. quite a bit of cloud elsewhere. damp for northern ireland in scotland. now, this weekend, mixed fortunes. saturday is a day of sunny spells and showers. they clear through overnight.
quite chilly. then a fine day will follow, so sunday the better of the two days for getting out and about. low pressure towards south—west england and wales. that is where we will see the most frequent of showers on saturday. the showers will be slow—moving showers, not much wind to push them through. if you catch one it could be around a while and a hefty downpour too. a chilly night to follow. mist and fog to start sunday. high pressure building in, which means the weather should become nice and quiet for sunday. early morning cloud breaking, sunny spells coming through. similar temperatures ranging from ten in the north to 17 towards the south—east. that's your latest weather forecast. bye for now.
the latest headlines from bbc news. i'm lebo diseko. a lawyer for a lawyerfor one of a lawyer for one of president trump's aid says he offered to give testimony about russian meddling in the election in exchange for protection from prosecution. general flynn resigned from his position as national security adviser over phone conversations with the russian ambassador. south korea's ousted president, park geun—hye, has been arrested on corruption charges. they're the same charges that led to her political downfall when south korea's constitutional court backed parliament's decision to impeach her. a californian company has made history by launching a used rocket back into space. spacex has developed a way of landing its boosters, which are the most expensive part of a rocket, safely on earth. traditionally, rockets have only been used once to get satellite payloads into orbit before being discarded. now it's time for a look back