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tv   BBC News  BBC News  April 5, 2017 8:00pm-8:31pm BST

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this is bbc news, i martine croxall. the headlines... president trump says the syrian gas attack on children had a big impact on him, describing it as an affront to humanity. i will tell you, it's already happened, that my attitude toward syria and assad has changed very much. one of the us president's closest advisers, his chief strategist steve barnett, has been removed from his position on the national security council. labour's ruling body will review ken livingstone‘s status in the party following his comments about hitler and zionism and his suspension for another year. a service of hope at westminster abbey to remember those killed in the attack two weeks ago today. members of the royal familyjoint victims, their runner turns on the emergency services at the multi—faith event. at 8:30pm we will have a special edition of hard talk as the show celebrates its 20th
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anniversary. good evening and welcome to bbc news. the un security council has held an emergency session to discuss the suspected gas attack on a rebel—held town in syria. the attack is believed to have killed more than 70 people, including children. the syrian government has denied responsibility, while its ally russia says the gas came from rebel weapons on the ground. but those claims have been widely rejected by western governments, as our chief international correspondent lyse doucet reports. all this five—year—old knows is he went to sleep in his spider—man suit and he woke up in a nightmare. now he's in hospital bed, grandparents at his side. his father is among the dead.
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the many victims of a toxic cloud which enveloped their village yesterday. breathing in poisonous gases as they slept. my grandchildren were sleeping, everyone woke up to a loud noise. they went outside and that is when they came across the chemical attack. they just fell to the floor and died. world leaders arriving here in brussels this morning have seen attacks in syria time and again. many in no doubt who was behind this latest atrocity. i have seen absolutely nothing to suggest that, or rather to lead us to think that it is anything but the regime. i called out to the un chief, was this attack a test of the un resolve? i do not think we need to quantify if it is a test or not, everything we do is a test to some extent. with every attack in syria, the words grow stronger. but they are essentially the same.
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condemnation of yet another atrocity, calls for an investigation and warnings of a price to pay. but time and again it is syrian civilians who continue to pay the heaviest price of all. russia says the syrian military did carry out an air strike. but its military spokesman said they struck what he called a terrorist warehouse with an arsenal of toxic substances. a weapons expert told the bbc the chemicals were most probably dropped from the air. the claim is implausible if the facility on the ground was hit by munitions dropped from the air you would get other materials as well as the particularly poisonous materials being spread. they have been accidents in production plants before, these have not produced the same kind of spread of materials as we are seeing here and this leads me on the evidence we can see so far to believe that this poison was from weapons
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dropped from the air. this horrific attack is the deadliest that syria has seen in four years. the world said then that president assad had to give up all his chemical weapons. but it is clear that syria is still a country with the worst kind of weapons and the will to use them. our correspondent nick bryant is in new york and sent us this from the united nations. a very angry and very impassioned emergency meeting of the security council this morning. the british ambassador pointed the finger of blame at the assad regime. but also blasting russia and china for vetoing a un resolution in february that would have placed sanctions on the assad regime for using chemical weapons in previous attacks. he said that sent a message of encouragement
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to damascus. by far the most mattek—sands electrifying moment came when the new ambassador for the trump administration spoke. she got up trump administration spoke. she got up to her feet, trump administration spoke. she got up to herfeet, which is rare in the security council, and branded photographs of the children who had died. she asked pointedly of the russians, how many children need to die before russia cares? we arejoined by we are joined by a webcam we arejoined by a webcam by we are joined by a webcam by an expert on russia from london kings,. thank you forjoining us. thank you very much. why is it is strategically at portage relationship for russia to have an alliance with syria in the way that it does? it is very important for russia for a variety of reasons, primarily because russia is trying to make sure that there is not a colla pse to make sure that there is not a collapse of the assad regime and a ta keover collapse of the assad regime and a takeover by sidnei insurgents,
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radical islamists or isis. for them it is particularly pertinent to make sure there is a secular regime in place in damascus that can fight off any kind of rubble insurgency which will be taking a much morejihadist tone because of a lack of support from the international community. for the russians tremain —— remains key to make sure that the regime of assad remains in power. they are very worried about any kind of ta keover of very worried about any kind of takeover of power in damascus by people from the streets or a regime change, may be promoted from the ground by people themselves, that often occurs in a very disorderly and disorganised manner and creates and disorganised manner and creates a vacuum of power. the russians are very worried about that much rather preserve the transition of power where you have to negotiate a deal
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between assad and the opposition. i think they would not be opposed about. as long as those taking or sharing power have no direct connection with all the groups fighting on the ground against assad. there is a geopolitical interest in having at least a military or naval base on the mediterranean, having a foothold in an area which is very close to other sensitive areas where the united states has a particular interest. there are many reasons why the russians are going to, i think, fight it tooth and nail to make sure assad or that regime does not fall, that puts the trump administration ina very that puts the trump administration in a very challenging position. under what circumstances would russia agreed to a resolution against the assad regime? you wonder
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what moore has to happen when we had seen what moore has to happen when we had seenin what moore has to happen when we had seen in 2013 chemical weaponry used against the syrian people by their own government and, as we are being told, that seems to have happened again. you will not see russia supporting a deal against the assad regime, but there will probably be a similar deal to what the obama administration conducted in 2013. could imagine the trump administration putting so much pressure on the russians that they are forced to tell assad to somehow stop these kinds of attacks and hand all the weaponry. a lot will be, i think, played out at the level of diplomacy, but not in the open air. it will be a kind of diplomacy behind—the—scenes. i expect the
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trump administration to put a lot of pressure on russia and russia to put a lot of pressure on assad. the big difference is whether now the trump administration is ready to use force against the assad regime. the situation is much more complex than it was when obama made the famous state m e nts it was when obama made the famous statements about the direct line, because at the time although the russians had a lot of military support to the assad regime they did not really have a military presence on the ground to the extent that they have now. now it will be even more difficult to envisage a military involvement by dewey united states against the assad regime, with russia on the ground. —— military involvement by the united states. i expect it would be a strong states. i expect it would be a strong pressure on states. i expect it would be a strong pressure on russia to put pressure on assad, to hand in the r pressure on assad, to hand in the weaponry and do it in a much more effective and efficient way. it worked for a while, during the first months there were lots of chemical r months there were lots of chemical weaponry is disposed of, but now the
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whole process lost momentum and i think we might see now a lot more pressure for this process to com plete pressure for this process to complete itself. i really don't know, it is unknown whether the trump administration is ready to conduct another regime change operation as they did in iraq. as i said, the russian presence makes that very difficult. thank you very much. thank you. us president donald trump said the suspected chemical attack had crushed many lines. when you kill innocent children, innocent babies, babies, little babies, with a chemical gas that is so babies, with a chemical gas that is so lethal, people were shocked to hear what gas it was, that crosses many, hear what gas it was, that crosses any hear what gas it was, that crosses many, many lines. president trump speaking earlier. let's speak to alexander vershbow, who was deputy secretary general of nato between 2012 and 2016
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and is also a former us ambassador to russia. hejoins us from our washington newsroom. thank you very much forjoining us on bbc news. you were at nato when syria signed the chemical weapons convention in 2013. how convinced i use that president assad has broken that agreement? -- how convinced are you that? nudges yesterday but some earlier attacks using chlorine gas suggest that assad is increasingly ignoring his obligations under those agreements, right back 2012, 2013. he seems to have maintained at least some chemical weapons in his arsenal despite supposedly eliminating 100%, or handing them over to the russians. this is a very serious situation and, of course, the effects on the victims are quite ghastly. how might he have hidden
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such weapons, given that the international community was clearly watching? the russians were supposed to provide the main guarantees that he would deliver all of the chemical agents that he declared. he may not have declared everything in the inventory submitted. whatever the case, he clearly has some in his arsenal because i think the evidence increasingly points towards the regime, the russian efforts to shift the blame to some of the rebel groups seem the blame to some of the rebel groups seem to be falling apart very quickly based on things which just don't work out in terms of the timeline of events. the russians now have big responsibility to rein in assad, their clients, but the international community seems frustrated by the fact that the security council is deadlocked once again, by russia shielding assad from an investigation of what happened. where does this leave the
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united nations security council in terms of its integrity and value if it can't even get a resolution through? at least when it comes to the syrian conflict, the security council looks increasingly irrelevant. if russia persists in protecting its clients at every turn, the security council is impotent and the member states concerned about this will have to think of other ways to hold assad accountable. the us ambassador to the un spoke in a way that surprised a lot of people today, showing photographs of the children who had been killed and hurt in this attack. she said if the un does not act on syria, the us might. what sort of action could she be talking about?” don't know exactly what she might be referring to but both her comments and president trump's statement that
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this is unacceptable, that it crosses many lines, at least raises the possibility that the us might ta ke the possibility that the us might take some kind of military action, particularly as president trump is criticising obama, criticising him today, for not having acted upon his red line three years ago. it is a bit ironic that trump at the time cautioned president obama against action, but be that as it may there is clearly a question of us credibility still at stake. if assad is crossing the line, some kind of punitive attack cannot be completely ruled out. is the way to get to president assad is via president putin, halys pressure applied to russia to do that? —— how is pressure applied ? russia to do that? —— how is pressure applied? russia could be pushed to press assad to own up to the fact that he still has chemical weapons in his arsenal, but that would require the russians to com pletely would require the russians to
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completely flip on the position they have taken in the last 2a hours in denying assad's culpability in trying to shield him from any international criticism, so i'm not sure whether pressuring the russians, although it might be a first step before any punitive steps are taken, will make a difference. the former us ambassador to russia and the former deputy secretary to nato, aleksander vershbow, thank you for joining nato, aleksander vershbow, thank you forjoining us. later tonight we'll discover how this and many other stories are covered in tomorrow's newspapers. my guests at 10:a0pm will be kate mccann of the daily telegraph and dan bilefsky of the new york times. one of donald trump's closest advisers, his chief strategist steve bannon, has been removed from his position on the national security council. mr bannon's appointment had prompted widespread criticism and accusations that the council was being politicised. i'm joined from washington by our correspondent gary o'donoghue. gary, do we know why he no longer
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has a seat? there is some internal tension that has probably led to this, a new national security adviser called hr mcmaster who took over after the high—profile general flynn had to be sacked. he has taken a couple of hits in the last week or two having to keep staff. this might be him putting his stamp on things. steve ba n na be him putting his stamp on things. steve banna might be being removed from the principals committee of the national security council but it does not mean his influence will be less significant on donald trump. he is at his right hand all the time, he has the ear of the president and is central to this administration's decision—making process. ithink is central to this administration's decision—making process. i think the idea that his influence will be diminished in any significant way is probably fanciful. thank you, gary o'donoghue in washington. the headlines: president trump says
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the syrian gas attack on children had a big impact on him, describing it as an affront to humanity. one of mrtrump was my it as an affront to humanity. one of mr trump was my closest advisers, chief strategist steve banna, has been removed from his position on a national security council. labour's national security council. labour's national ruling body will review ken livingstone's status in the party following his statements about hitler and zionism and his suspension for another year. sport now and a full round—up from the bbc sport centre. good evening. there are some important fixtures in the premier league this evening. none more so than for the leaders, chelsea. they're hoping to at least retain their seven—point lead at the top of the table but have a real test in pep guardiola's manchester city. it's currently 1—0 after 15 minutes. belgian eden hazard taking advantage of some room in the box to sweep home, helped by a slight deflection off the city captain vincent kompany. spurs can close the gap to chelsea
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on 4 points if results go their way. they are currently trailing swansea 1-0 at they are currently trailing swansea 1—0 at the liberty stadium. elsewhere, arsenal and west ham is goalless. it's level at 1—1 between hull and middlesbrough in a crucial game at the bottom. —— middlesbrough lead 2—1. and bournemouth have the lead with their first goal at anfield since 1968. southampton trailer towed to crystal palace and, as we see, spurs really need to turn things around against swa nsea need to turn things around against swansea city. —— southampton trail at home to crystal palace. newcastle can go top of the championship if they beat burton. huddersfield are hoping to use their game in hand to go back to third in the table but that is also goalless. champions celtic are looking to continue their unbeaten run. after winning the title at the weekend, scottish premiership champions celtic are looking
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to continue their unbeaten run. it is currently goalless at home to partick thistle. all the games in scotla nd partick thistle. all the games in scotland are currently goalless. olympic showjumping champion nick skelton has announced his retirement from the sport. he recovered from a broken neck in 2000, returning to the saddle two years later. at london 2012 he helped great britain to a team gold medal before the 59—year—old achieved his number one ambition of olympic individual gold at the rio games last summer on his horse, big star. the win in rio was the icing on the cake, i don't think it can get better than that. big star has had a few problems but he is fine now and in good order. just last week i road—macro him and jumped him and he felt really good. i think it is time now for him. he is still young at 1a and has a good career at stud.
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i will be 60 this year so i think now is a good time to stop. the traditional par 3 tournament that takes place at augusta on the eve of the masters has been cancelled because of severe weather warnings. a tornado threat forced officials to close the course part way through practise. the event often sees family members or celebrities serving as caddies to the professionals. this is the first time it's been cancelled. the forecast for the first round tomorrow includes strong winds. that's all the sport for now. chelsea are still reading, looking like they will go ten points clear in the premier league. more sport later. labour's ruling body nec will review ken livingstone's status in the party following his comments about hitler and zionism and his suspension for another year. the labour leaderjeremy corbyn has issued a statement. mrcorbyn said... well, earlier on i spoke
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tojenny manson, a labour party member who isjewish and gave evidence at mr livingstone's tribunal. she explains why she does not think the former mayor of london's comments were anti—semitic. as to mentioning hitler and zionism, it may offend some people. but i've been offended by some things such as describing there being rampant anti—semitism in the labour party. you've never found that? i've never found any. i've had no experience of anti—semitism in the labour party. all five of us have had experience of anti—semitism, but not in the labour party. but can you not understand why, if it's not anti—semitic exactly, offence is taken when hitler is described as being in favour of zionism, when he was anything but in favour of wanting to allow jewish people in the 30s to be self—determining?
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ken livingstone has not said that hitler was in favour of zionism. what he said and, by the way, when he said it he was defending something that naz shah tweeted, and he didn't know what she had tweeted, so when he was asked why did she mention hitler, if i remember he said it was over the top but he had assumed that what naz shah was referring to was the agreement between some zionists and hitler to encourage jews to go to palestine. now, this isn't a very comfortable bit ofjewish history and it's much contested, and i'm not an authority, but it can't be a no—go area, it can't be onlyjews who are allowed to talk about it, which they do. in my view, everybody, including non—jews, has the right to talk about what hitler did unless they say something anti—semitic like what a good idea it all was. which, of course ken livingstone would never say. my other feeling is that there is becoming increasingly a no—go area for non—jews to say anything
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about israel, about hitler. and my experience is that there is a division creeping up between jewish members of the labour party and non—jewish members of the labour party, and wider in the community, which will lead to a real anti—semitism, the sort of anti—semitism i terribly fear. a real anger that a certain community is refusing to allow debate. how can the policies, for example, of the israeli government be criticised without being regarded as anti—semitic? well, it's a terribly good question. i mean, i think it's almost impossible, in my view, to be anti—semitic if you criticise the actions of the israeli government. to be anti—semitic would be to say "look what those jews are now doing in governing israel." labour party memberjenny manson. the european parliament has voted to take a tough stance on brexit negotiations,
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setting out red lines that can't be crossed. meps have said there can be progress made until substantial progress has been made on the progress of the uk's departure. there were heated exchanges as nigel farage accused meps of behaving like the mafia, while the parliament's brexit negotiator blamed brexit on a catfight in the conservative party. theresa may says ministers will take into account the encouragement given by past governments for drivers to buy diesel cars. her comments come as more details emerge about plans to tackle the environmental damage caused by some diesel engines. owners of diesel cars have expressed anger and confusion at the various proposals. alexandra mackenzie reports. when buying a new car, do you go diesel or petrol? it can be confusing, and is possibly a bit of a gamble. a lower vehicle tax introduced by the then chancellor gordon brown has encouraged motorists to opt for diesel. it is regarded as more economical and, in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, less harmful. here is a diesel car being tested.
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it meets the required standard. but there is increasing concern that diesel cars omit dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide, thought to have caused thousands of premature deaths in the uk. air pollution limits have been repeatedly exceeded in places, including birmingham, leeds, glasgow and london. tell me what this is! it's a poster about air pollution. the london mayor described the city's air as lethal. in fresh proposals, he says all but the newest diesel cars will face a charge to drive in the city's ultra—low emission zone. the prime minister appeared to be offering help for diesel owners. she told reporters... the government has required to produce a new air quality plant later this month.
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it comes after the european commission sent a final warning over breaches of legal air pollution limits in the uk. alexandra mackenzie, bbc news. a service of hope and reconciliation has been held in westminster abbey a fortnight after the attack near the houses of parliament. khalid masood drove a car into pedestrians on westminster bridge, killing three people and fatally stabbing a police officer, before he was shot dead. the duke and duchess of cambridge and prince harryjoined families and the emergency services attending the multi—faith service. our royal correspondent nicholas witchell reports. you lot, get undercover now! get undercover! two weeks ago the area around the abbey at westminster was caught up in the chaos of that afternoon. nearby on westminster bridge, there were casualties. closer still, just inside the gates of the houses of parliament, an unarmed police officer was killed. one of the four innocent
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people who died that day. gunshots. two weeks after those events at westminster abbey, a service symbolising hope. leaders of the different faith communities from across the united kingdom werejoined in the congregation by the duke and duchess of cambridge and prince harry, together with members of the emergency services, some of the bereaved families, and some of those who were injured. candles were lit to represent the light which can never be extinguished by the darkness of terror. in his address, the dean of westminster recalled that amongst those who were directly affected by the attack were people from britain and 12 other nations. he posed the question so many have asked.
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why? what could possibly motivate a man to hire a car and take it from birmingham to brighton, to london, and then drive it fast at people he'd never met, couldn't possibly know, against whom he had no personal grudge, no reason to hate them. and then run at the gates of the palace of westminster to cause another death. we weep for the violence. for the hatred. for the loss of life. for all that divides and spoils our world. prayers were offered pledging respect between different communities. the best of muslims is the one who utters beautiful words. who does virtuous deeds. two weeks after the westminster attack, from an ancient abbey which has borne witness to so much,
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a message of hope. nicholas witchell, bbc news. four imams have met pope francis in an effort to improve relations between muslims and christians. it's the first time a formal delegation of british muslim leaders has gone to the vatican. the four imams serve communities in leicester, birmingham, glasgow and london. pope francis said the interfaith gathering furthered humanity's most important work — listening to each other. let's ta ke let's take a look at the weather with darren. it has been a fine spring day today, some sunshine around. this is the satellite picture from earlier. more coders spilling in notjust across northern ireland but other parts of the uk. rather thin clouds, some clearer skies for a while across the south. tending to increase the cloud
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amounts to the cause of the night, but the best of it is likely to be in north—east england and scotland. we will be around 7 degrees or so. high pressure dominating on thursday, light winds are many, the cloud will be thin, sunshine at times. the best of the sunshine used in scotland and pubs north—east england, western scotland seeing more lower cloud and drizzle. otherwise it should be mainly dry, temperatures 11 to 13, get some sunshine and it could be a couple of degrees higher. very quiet, tried that fairly cloudy weather over the next couple of days. more sunshine over the weekend, particularly in england and wales, and the temperatures will rocket. hello. this is bbc news. the headlines. president trump says the syrian gas attack on children had a big impact on him — describing it as an

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