hello, and welcome to bbc news. a public show of unity, but russia and america failed to resolve their differences over the syrian chemical attack and president assad's future. there is a low level of trust between our two countries. the two foremost nuclear powers cannot have this relationship. we report from pyongyang as donald trump talks about north korea with china. new zealanders brace themselves for another tropical storm, just a week after being lashed by cyclone debbie. 100 years of history. we meet chairman mao's secretary, who ended up defying the communist party. live from our studios in london and singapore, this is bbc world news. it's newsday. it is 1:00am in london,
8:00am in singapore, and 3:00am in moscow, where the us secretary of state has been trying to improve faltering relations between two of the world's biggest powers, but in the end, there was no hiding the differences. after nearly two hours of talks with his russian counterpart, and president putin himself, rex tillerson told his russian counterpart there was a disparity between the two countries. we will get the view from washington a little later on newsday, but first of all, from a place in moscow, here is our reporter. the last time he was in russia, rex tillerson was an oil man, doing multibillion—dollar
deals with the kremlin, drinking champagne with vladimir putin. he even got an award from him. but in moscow today, it was a political deal secretary of state tillerson was seeking over syria, not easy with us—russian relations at their worst since the end of the cold war. he met his russian counterpart, sergei lavrov. then, behind closed doors in the kremlin, president putin. there was a lot to talk about, including this. last week, america launched cruise missiles, targeting a syrian air base. an act of aggression, said russia, against moscow's ally. washington claimed it was an appropriate response to the recent chemical weapons attack in the syrian town of khan sheikhoun. today, america and russia publicly disagreed about who was behind it. the facts that we have are conclusive, that the recent
chemical weapons attack carried out in syria was planned, and it was directed and executed by syrian regime forces. translation: we saw no evidence of this. and, from tv pictures and eyewitnesses who were at the base when the planes took off, it's clear there were no signs of any chemical substances present there. there was disagreement, too, over president assad. moscow appears unwilling to do what america would like it to, stop supporting him. today, donald trump called president assad "truly evil", and criticised russia for backing him. clearly, our view is that the reign of the assad family is coming to an end, and they have again brought this on themselves with their conduct of the war these past few years. translation: we've been through this before, this obsession with ousting dictators, and we know only too well
how it all ends. rex tillerson may in the past have drunk champagne with vladimir putin, he may even have got a medal from him. but that was business, this is geeo—politics. the reality is that russia believes it has nothing to gain and a lot to lose from abandoning president assad, and until that changes, it is not going to do it. later, at the un security council, russia vetoed a draft resolution on the chemical attack, one that would have required the syrian government to co—operate with an investigation. tonight, moscow and washington acknowledged that relations must improve. but so deep are the divisions over syria, and other issues too, it is hard to see how that improvement is going to happen. steve rosenberg, bbc news, moscow. we will get the view from washington shortly. and you can get the latest
on the twists and turns of the washington administration on our website. staying with us diplomacy, donald trump has been speaking about his country's other superpower rival, china. at a news conference with the head of nato, mr trump said he had good chemistry with president xi. and he suggested there might be a trade—off, if china helped the us deal with north korea. president xi wants to do the right thing. we had a very good bonding, i think we had a very good chemistry together. i think he wants to help us with north korea. we talked trade, we talked a lot of things, and i said the way you're going to get a good trade deal is to help us with north korea. 0therwise we'lljust go it alone, and that will be all right too. so, is the us pressure on china over
north korea working? an editorial in chinese state media has urged pyongyang to halt what it called provocative nuclear activities. the bbc'sjohn sudworth is in the north korean capital. behind me you, canjust make out in the gloom the skyline of an eerie and quiet pyongyang, a city that finds itself at the centre of an increasingly tense international crisis, with a us aircraft carrier strike group on its way to these waters, and north korean media warning that if such provocations continue, there could be devastating consequences. the chinese and us presidents have spoken by telephone, with xi jinping calling for calm, and telling president trump that he will work for the denuclearisation of the korean peninsula. it is worth pointing out that crisis and brinksmanship have been part of the pattern for the korean issue
for a decade or more. experts say the government uses such things for its own strategic advantage. but, that said, the country is preparing to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of its founding president, kim il—sung, on saturday, and there is speculation there could be further missile tests, or even a nuclear test, to come. john sudworth, bbc news, pyongyang. also making news today: two women charged in malaysia with the murder of kimjong nam, the half—brother of the north korean leader, are expected again in court shortly. doan thi huong from vietnam and siti aisyah from indonesia, are accused of smearing deadly vx nerve agent on mr kim's face in kuala lumpur airport. they could face the death penalty if convicted. the european champions league football quarter—final between borussia dortmund and monaco has taken place in germany, a day after the home team's bus was hit by three explosions.
two people were wounded in the attack. police have arrested one person who they say has islamist connections, and are examining three letters found at the site. lawyers for a passenger forcibly removed off a united airlines flight have filed an emergency request in a chicago court for the airline to preserve evidence. the video of david dao being dragged by security guards has been watched hundreds of millions of times around the world. bangladesh has executed a top islamist militant leader and two of his associates, who were convicted of a grenade attack on the british high commissioner in 200a. last month the supreme court upheld death sentences handed to mufti abdul hannan. marvel has sacked x—men artist ardian syaf, after he hid religious references in a current issue of the comic. the publisher says that the indonesian artist's contract has been terminated immediately, but that his work will still be seen on shelves.
ardian referenced a verse from the koran and the date of a jakarta protest in the first issue of the comic. let's return to our top story, relations between the us and russia. president trump has met the nato secretary general in washington. he has been speaking about that alliance, and more on syria. we must also work together to resolve the disaster currently taking place in syria. we are grateful for the support of nato members and partners in their condemnation of assad's murderous attack, using the most horrible weapons. the secretary general and i had a discussion about what more nato can do in the fight against terrorism. i complained about that a
long time ago, and they made a change. and now they do fight terrorism. i said change. and now they do fight terrorism. isaid it change. and now they do fight terrorism. i said it was obsolete. it is no longer obsolete. 0ur correspondent laura bicker was at that press conference, and earlier she told me she's been speaking to the nato secretary general, jens stoltenberg. during my interview i pressed him twice on whether or not he felt he could rely on president trump, who once called nato obsolete. and he said, during his talks over the last two days he's had with president trump, he feels assured that donald trump is fully committed to nato, and he said that he would try to urge nato members to contribute more money, which is one thing that president trump has been calling for. he wants countries to spend 2% of their gdp on defence, which is something america already does. he feels that not enough is being spent by nato allies. and he believes that
nato, and he thought that nato should do more to fight terrorism, and it seems the nato secretary general has reassured donald trump on that front, and donald trump said today that he felt that nato was doing more to fight terrorism, and that's something that the allies could do together. but, during that press conference, there were also some extraordinary words to do with syria and russia. when it came to bashar al—assad, when asked about whether or not president trump was correct to send those 59 tomahawk missiles to hit that syrian air base last week, donald trump said he made the right decision, and he described bashar al—assad as a butcher. and then he went on to describe relationships with russia, which he said at the moment are at an all—time low. absolutely, and this kind of twisting and changing, these u—turns,
the american press are describing this as geopolitical whiplash. where do we go from here? well, when it comes to a relationship with nato, it seems jens stoltenberg is reassured, it seems they will work together. perhaps even — i asked him about cyber warfare, whether or not they would work together on that. it seems they have a number of projects they can work together on. when it comes to russia, donald trump said they would work together to try to improve that stance, and they do not want another cold war. but it's difficult to see how, because syria is certainly a dividing point, and it will be interesting to see how far both sides push on that one. people in new zealand are bracing themselves for more severe weather, just after cyclone debbie caused so much devastation. this time, it is what is left of cyclone cook, which has now been
downgraded to a tropical storm, but it is still packing enough destructive power to cause concern. a local state of emergency has been declared for the bay of plenty, on north island. tv nz‘s reporter will hine is in fitianga, in the coromandel. he told me about the preparations there. good morning, yes, it is relatively calm, although we have been here half an hour calm, although we have been here halfan hourand calm, although we have been here half an hour and the wind has been steadily picking up. this coming from the north, that is where the cyclonic system is coming through. so we are seeing a few gusts coming through, light rain, there have been a few heavy showers but we really expect the heaviest whether to setting in about five or six hours oi’ setting in about five or six hours orso, at setting in about five or six hours or so, at about 3pm local time. we are expecting the reins to start coming down, and that is when these waterlogged soils across the north island, including here in coromandel, that is when they will be put to the test. because as you said there before, they have been
two really significant storm systems which have come through in the last couple of months. auckland has had its wettest march on record. it has already had a couple of weeks worth of rain injust the already had a couple of weeks worth of rain in just the first week of april. it is much the same story across the eastern bay of plenty, across the eastern bay of plenty, across the eastern bay of plenty, across the north island, and so as i say, these soils will really get a testing in the next six or eight hours or so. indeed, you talk about the soil that, but what about communities? at had a chance to recover from the impact of the other storm systems, including ex— cyclone debbie? well, one community that was really thumped by that last system was edgecombe, that is in the bay of plenty here. and the problem for edgecombe was that an adjacent river burst its banks, and a torrent of water into the town, the whole town effectively has been flooded, with several dozen houses condemned. so the waters have only reallyjust receded from that talent after six
days of flooding, and the fear of course is that the repaired bank might not hold, that the riverbank could burst in another part, and that those parts of the eastern bay of plenty, edgecombe and the surrounds, would again find themselves awash with water. you are watching newsday on the bbc. still to come on the programme: the chinese centenarian who has been communist, a dissident, and secretary to chairman mao. also on the programme: america's first lady melania trump wins damages and an apology from the daily mail after false claims that she worked as an escort. pol pot, one of the century's greatest mass murderers is reported to have died of natural causes. he and the khmer rouge movement he led were responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million cambodians. there have been violent protests
in indonesia where playboy has gone on sale for the first time. traditionalist muslim leaders have expressed disgust. the magazine's offices have been attacked and its editorial staff have gone into hiding. it was clear that paula's only contest was with the clock and as for a sporting legacy, paula radcliffe's competitors will be chasing her new world best time for years to come. quite quietly but quicker and quicker, she seemed just to slide away under the surface and disappear. this is newsday on the bbc. i'm sharanjit leyl in singapore. i'm kasia madera in london. our top stories: after hours of talks in moscow, russia and america fail to resolve their differences, over the syrian chemical attack, and president assad's future.
president trump hints at trade progress with china if beijing helps the west tackle north korea. and this story is popular on bbc.com. chinese customs officers have seized more than a ton of mammoth tusks. state media are reporting that the massive haul came from russia. let's take a look at some front pages from around the world. we start with the japan times, which quotes its sources as saying that even before president trump held a summit with china's president, xijingping, the us had told japan that it could resort to military action against north korea. the sydney morning herald reports on the official investigation launched after an emergency on a qantas flight that flew from melbourne last week.
15 people are believed to have been injured when the aircraft neared hong kong, after pilots reported feeling "airframe buffeting," that's a potential warning the plane is about to stall, while in a holding pattern at 22,000 feet. and finally, the gulf news says the united arab emirates want to be the first country of the region to reach mars. the ruler of dubai was among the officials at the launch of an ambitious space programme. the focus will initially be to send the first emirati astronaut to space. you are the —— up—to—date on the papers. remember when experts predicted that 2017 would be the year when wearable technology would really take off? well, there's at least one wearable that, according to the head of chinese tech firm, huawei,
doesn't have much of a future. eric xu said he doesn't see the point in smartwatches. however, the company is playing it safe, having just launched a device during the recent mobile world congress in barcelona. by the fact of his age alone, li rui has seen some incredible changes. born 100 years ago in the chaos of the fall of china's empire, he joined the communist party and became a secretary to chairman mao. yet the fervent communist then became a dissident, and spoke out in favour of democratic reform. as our china editor, carrie gracie, found out, li rui remains an independent voice to this day. oh no, i am in trouble. a failing cameraman as well. born in 1917 and growing up mid—civil war and famine, he dreamed of becoming a communist.
born in 1917 and growing up mid—civil war and famine, he dreamed of becoming a communist. the 18—year—old didn't listen, but did not get killed either. soon, the communists were ruling china, and he was secretary to chairman mao, who he later described as terrifying and inhumane. but it's dangerous to talk like that now. i think i do understand.
when li rei dared to speak out about the mistakes of chairman mao, he was expelled from the party and spent eight years in solitary confinement. after chairman mao's death, the party let him back in. but then came the tiananmen square democracy protests. he spoke out again. after the massacre, the party saw enemies everywhere.
they never published. america's first lady, melania trump, has accepted damages and an apology from the publishers of the daily mail here in the uk, after it printed allegations about her past career. the paper had suggested that work undertaken by mrs. trump in the 1990s went "beyond simply modelling." the paper has paid substantial damages too, as our media editor, amol rajan, reports. the daily mail is arguably britain's most powerful newspaper and its website, which often includes headlines too salacious even for the paper, is the most widely read english language newspaper website in the world.
but the mail's owner, associated, may have met its match in the form of us first lady, melania trump. the former slovenian beauty queen sued the mail titles for libel in september. the cause of her ire — allegations printed in both the paper and online that she worked notjust as model prior to meeting donald trump, but as an escort. here at the royal courts ofjustice, a statement was read out this morning which said that the claims about mrs trump's professional work were both false and defamatory. as a result, both the mail and the mail 0nline have agreed to publish both a retraction and an apology. they accepted an article which questioned the nature of her work as a professional model had no evidence to support its allegations. the mail group will now pay damages and costs close to $3 million. but, of course, we have to remember
she was claiming about, well, something close to $300 million. so a settlement of around 1% of that, at $3 million, including costs and damages, is not an enormous victory, but it still has a chilling effect on free speech. newspapers make expensive errors all the time, but rarely do they lead to such high—profile settlements. today will go down in fleet street history as the day the mighty mail was trumped. amol rajan, bbc news. you have been watching newsday. will leave you with pictures that don't initially look inspiring, but they will inspire you. —— we'll. two giant pandas have arrived in amsterdam after a marathon 8,000 kilometre journey from china.
the two bears will spend the next 15 years at a zoo in the east of the country, where a special facility has been built for them. good morning. it looks like it will be on the cool side for the easter weekend. more on that in a moment. we've introduced cooler air at the moment behind this very weak weather front that moved down across the country. this north—westerly airflow. particularly chilly first thing in eastern scotland and eastern england, but with the cloud more broken in the countryside, temperatures briefly not far from freezing. at least we have early sunshine through lincolnshire, east anglia and the south—east. the tendency through the day is to increase the cloud from the west. that's already happening in south—west england, across wales and in the north—west cloud is thick enough for some light rain or drizzle, mainly over the hills. again, fine to the east of the pennines. as it will be in eastern scotland, with sunshine. western scotland is dull and damp. sunshine for northern ireland too. through the day it clouds over across the eastern side of england and scotland. at the same time in the afternoon we open up a gap in the cloud
across south wales, south—west england and that should push into the south—east. here we have the best of the sunshine in the afternoon and the highest temperatures still only 13—111. furthermore north, a lot of places dry. around the western hills primarily we get the damp weather. over the easter weekend temperatures disappointing for the time of year. a cool feel. warm when the sun is out, but on the whole there will be a lot of cloud. probably not much rain around. just a bit a nuisance. these weather systems coming into the uk for good friday are going to be very much on the weak side. but across england and wales we will have a lot of cloud. there will be some pockets of light rain or drizzle here and there. no great amounts. but a bit of a damp picture, especially for south wales and south—west england. to the north of northern england, scotland and northern ireland, something a bit brighter, but also showers. a strong wind will make it feel chilly in scotland. maybe sneaking a 16 in the south—east if we are very lucky. those weather systems pull away and we are back into the cooler north—westerly airflow.
so we fluctuate almost from one day to the next over the easter weekend. on saturday, easter saturday, much drier and brighter. most places will have a fine day. a little sunshine at times, not doing an awful lot for temperatures. there could be a few showers in the north of scotland. then we are back into the fluctuation again for easter day. more weather fronts arriving across the uk. higher pressure in the south. those weather fronts again are fairly weak. most of the rain over the hills, across scotland, northern ireland and northern england. to the south, it should be dry and brighter. 15 perhaps in london, nine in glasgow. i'm kasia madera, with bbc world news. our top story: russia and the us have failed to resolve their differences over the future of syria, despite hours of talks in moscow. the us secretary of state, rex tillerson, spent nearly two hours in talks behind closed doors with president putin. afterwards, he said the level of mistrust between the two superpowers could not continue. president trump has hinted at trade progress with china, if beijing helps tackle north korea. he told a news conference
that he had forged a good chemistry with xi jinping at their recent summit in florida. and this story is proving popular on bbc.com, because inside these nondescript—looking crates is a consignment of pandas, destined for a new home in the netherlands. after a marathon 8,000 km journey from china, they will spend the next 15 years in a zoo in the netherlands. that's all from me now. stay with bbc world news. and the top story here in the uk: the health secretary has ordered an investigation into failings at the shrewsbury and telford hospital trust, in shropshire, after it emerged