this is bbc news. ironjulian iron julian worricker. th? h%éé!in%% £119“ = tusk says there'll be no talks on trade until there's a deal on the divorce. starting parallel talks on all issues at the same time, as some have suggested in the uk, will not happen. hard decisions for the nhs in england — why improvements in a&e and cancer care could mean longer waits for routine operations. president trump backs former adviser mike flynn, sacked over his links to russia, and says he should ask for immunity from prosecution. and on newsnight. return to mosul: we follow a bbc journalist exiled from the city and now reunited with his best friend, and will we all be cyborgs soon? we explore transhumanism. hello, good evening, and welcome to
bbc news. the president of the european council donald tusk has warned of tough and sometimes confrontational talks ahead, as britain and the european union start two years of brexit negotiations. the eu today published its strategy, refusing theresa may's request to have parallel talks on a future trade deal. mr tusk said there had to be "sufficient progress" on issues such as the status of citizens in each other‘s countries, and the border between northern ireland and the irish republic before future relations could be discussed. and, for the first time, the issue of gibraltar featured in the eu's argument. our europe editor katya adler reports. but brexit has changed all that.
this is my first divorce... donald tusk, president of the european council, today presented the draft brexit guidelines. the mood music — polite but steely. the talks, which are about to start, will be difficult, complex, and sometimes even confrontational. mr tusk was the recipient of the prime minister's brexit letter this wednesday. why him? because he represents all eu countries here in brussels and they call the shots on big eu political decisions. the eu says it doesn't want to punish britain. it wants to keep the uk close with trade and security ties. but gone are those words of sadness and regret that poured out of brussels after the brexit vote.
now that the formal process of leaving has begun, the eu's message today: we're ready for you. the eu is committed to a phased approach to brexit. phase one — the divorce. top priorities for the eu — safeguarding the rights of eu citizens in the uk and of britons across the eu. agreeing a one—off exit fee for the uk to cover outstanding financial commitments. and resolving ireland's land border issue without harming the good friday agreement. phase two — discussing future eu—uk relations, but only once significant progress has been made on the divorce. phase three — making traditional agreements, if needed, to bridge the end of article 50 talks and start a new era in eu—uk relations. but there are bumps in the road aplenty, british and european ones even before negotiations start.
today there was a surprise row over gibraltar. the eu draft guidelines say no future agreement with the uk can apply to gibraltar without a nod from spain, which disputes britain's sovereignty over the territory. while the foreign secretary had to defend the prime minister's brexit guidelines, the eu perceived a uk threat to withdraw security cooperation if it didn't get a good trade deal. the uk's commitment to the defence and the security of this region, of europe, is unconditional and it is not some bargaining chip in any negotiatiations. but eu countries are wary. if we see the letter that has been sent by the british prime minister, some would say it was a little bit aggressive. and that's not the attitude that we will be having around the table. i mean, yes, we are willing to come to an agreement, but if you ask too much, then maybe there is no agreement,
and i'm not sure if that's a good thing for the british. picking and choosing is fine, in belgian chocolate shops. but brussels says britain can forget having a bit of this and none of that when it comes to the single market. there is goodwill on both sides, but having cake and eating it will be one of britain's brexit challenges. katya adler, bbc news, brussels. well as katya mentioned, the european council's draft guidelines state that after britain leaves, no agreement on britain's future relationship with the eu may apply to gibraltar without agreement between madrid and london. earlier, i spoke to gibraltar‘s chief minister, fabian picardo, who said brexit was complicated enough without spain trying to complicate it further. well, i think it is clear that what spain has done is what she has traditionally done so she became a
member of the european union. it is to use the eu, now in the context of the brexit negotiations, to steal a margin of her claim to the sovereignty of gibraltar. these are d raft sovereignty of gibraltar. these are draft outlines, we are ready see spain making emus she might have made as five minutes to midnight. with an agreement ready, she is doing that now. and frankly, i think it is singling out travolta unfairly. gibraltar is not the culprit of britain and should not be a victim of brexit. a letter from the scottish government formally requesting the power to hold a second referendum on scottish independence has been delivered to the prime minister. in the letter, the first minister, nicola sturgeon, repeats her call for a vote within the next two years. theresa may has already said it won't happen "before brexit is complete". the head of the nhs in england has admitted that it can't meet one of its key targets — giving people routine operations, such as hip and knee replacements, within 18 weeks of being referred by their gp. simon stevens, who set out his
priorities for the health service today, said it was part of the "trade off" for improvements in other areas like cancer care. he's been speaking to our health editor, hugh pym. the nhs serves patients from cradle to grave, but there are difficult choices, and the message today is that it offers high quality care in many areas, but something has to give, and that's waiting lists for routine surgery, for patients like christine. she waited 22 weeks for a heart bypass operation, longer than nhs england's 18—week target. it's caused her a lot of anxiety and she's decided to go private. the sword of damocles hanging over my head, because i couldn't plan my life. i couldn't say categorically "i'm going to be able to do something". i feel i am getting not worse, but more tired. the head of nhs england explained his immediate priorities,
including a&e and cancer care, to health staff today, but waiting lists for routine operations, for a while, will get longer. might more patients be waiting longer and might they be very disappointed with this? we need to fix the most urgent problems first. i think most people can see that ensuring that our a&es and gp services are able to properly look after people across the country has got to be the top priority. and then, having done that, we want to be able to also ensure that we are meeting the waiting times guarantees. but that's worried some medical leaders, who say longer waits for operations can be dangerous. we know that people occasionally die on waiting lists, waiting for heart surgery. the longer you wait, the more the likelihood that will happen. this health centre, where mr stevens was today, provides a whole range of services and treatments to patients. there's also a dentist and pharmacist as well as gp practices. the idea is to treat as many people
as possible away from hospitals. he wants to see more of this sort of thing around the country, but that will take time. it will also take time to improve the nation's health, but they're starting young here at schools in lancashire. children run a mile a day, with the nhs promoting the initiative. we know that we want to change things for the future generation. 50,70 years‘ time, we don't want people dying in their 50s and 60s of heart disease we can prevent. and we want to tackle some of the major stuff we're seeing around diabetes. so we've built a fantastic partnership with the schools, here, and we are teaching children to be really active. all that's for the future. for now, a key question is whether the nhs budget is fit for purpose. more money would make a difference? there's no doubt that with the extra money the nhs has got, we should be able to bring about the improvements we're setting out today. obviously, decisions for the future are for the future. today, we're talking
about the practical steps that we want to bring about. in other words, we're doing what we can with the money available, but asking for more at some stage is not being ruled out. hugh pym, bbc news. president trump has again come to the defence of his former national security adviser who was sacked after lying about phone conversations with the russian ambassador. mike flynn said he was prepared to give evidence to investigators who are looking into claims that russia tried to influence the us election, but only in return for immunity. president trump tweeted his agreement, and said mr flynn had been the victim of a "witch hunt". our north america editorjon sopel has the latest. the allegations that just won't go away — that there was collusion between the russian government and the trump team during last year's election. and much of the attention is now focused on this man, general michael flynn. until a few weeks ago, he was the national security
adviser, and one of those closest to the president. but his fall from grace has been swift, after he was found to have lied to the vice president over his contacts with the russians. michael flynn held conversations with the russian ambassador in washington, which, among other things, discussed the lifting of us sanctions against russia — which he denied. he was paid $45,000 to attend a dinner in moscow, hosted by the tv station russia today, and was seated at the same table as vladimir putin. he also lobbied on behalf of another foreign government, turkey, although that wasn't disclosed at the time. today, donald trump rallied to his side with this tweet: "mike flynn should ask for immunity, in that this is a witchhunt, excuse for big election loss by media and dems of historic proportion." but this is what donald trump and michael flynn said during the campaign, when it emerged that clinton aides had sought immunity over disclosing information about her use of a private e—mail server. if you're not guilty of a crime, what do you need immunity for? when you're given immunity it means
you've probably committed a crime. so is there worry at the white house that his information could implicate the president? no — he believes that mike flynn should go and testify. he should go up there and do what he has to do to get the story out. in the meantime, the russians are again dismissing as fake news suggestions that they've been up to no good. lots of americans, they do think that yes, russian hackers are everywhere, russian hackers are in every fridge, russian hackers are in every iron and so on and so forth, but this is not true. but the defence secretary james mattis, who's in london at the moment, expressed about russia, stretching beyond their involvement in the most recent presidential election. russia's violations of international law are now a matter of record, from what happened with crimea, to other aspects of their behaviour in mucking around inside other people's elections and that sort of thing. 0n capitol hill, investigations into russian activity go on, but sources are saying it's unlikely
that michael flynn will be given the immunity he seeks. the driver of a bin lorry that crashed in glasgow killing six people in 2014, has been banned from driving for three years. harry clarke was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and will be tagged forfour months. the 60—year—old had already admitted culpable and reckless driving. lorna gordon reports. three days before christmas, and in eight glasgow street packed with shoppers, a bin lorry driven by harry clarke went out of control. he lost consciousness, and for 19 seconds, the lorry pass through the centre, and ploughed through people.
the fatal accident enquiry that followed found the tragedy could have been avoided if harry clarke had not lied about his history of blackouts. he had his licence revoked on medical grounds. nine months after the craft to make crash, and he was seen driving out ofa car crash, and he was seen driving out of a car park near his home. he played guilty to culpable and reckless drive in. in sentencing him, he was described by the judge as reprehensible and irresponsible. he said that in so doing, the six—year—old had placed the public at risk. i use sorry harry clarke? he was never prosecuted over the bin lorry crash, an attempt by the families of some who had died to bring a private prosecution failed. harry clarke stated through his lawyer, today, that nothing said in mitigation was intended to diminish the losses suffered by 70 people as a result of that accident. they said
it was a gross error ofjudgement to drive his car in nine months late, knowing he was unfit to drive. now on bbc news it's time for newsnight with kirsty wark. the return to mosul. we are with the bbcjournalist as he visits his shattered home city for the first time since is swept in. but the fight with is continues in western mosul, where hundreds of thousands of civilians are caught between the murderous terrorists and coalition air strikes. i will ask an iraqi brigadier if many more civilian casualties in mosul are inevitable. also tonight...