welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: president trump fires the director of the fbi, james comey, the man leading the investigation into possible collusion between his election campaign and russia. leading democrats say the sacking reeks of a cover up, and call for the appointment of an independent special prosecutor. the american people need to have faith that an investigation as serious as this one is being conducted impartially, without a shred of bias. south korea's new president says he favours more dialogue with the north. he is starting his first day in office after victory in tuesday's election. and fine—tuning one of the world's iconic buildings. renovation gets under way to improve the acoustics inside sydney's opera house. hello.
president trump's decision to fire the director of the fbi has been met with widespread shock and a mass of questions. james comey was the man in charge of investigating russian interference in the us presidential election, and whether or not the trump campaign colluded with the russians. the white house says mr comey has been dismissed on the recommendation of the attorney general, jeff sessions, and his deputy. their letters to him have been made public. president trump told the fbi director he was not able to effectively lead the bureau, and went on to say he was hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately, and that it was essential to find new leadership. the democratic leader of the senate, chuck schumer, told president trump he was making a big mistake. the first question the administration has to answer
is why now? if the administration had objections to the way director comey handled the clinton investigation, they had those objections the minute the president got into office, but they didn't fire him then. why did it happen today? we know the house is investigating russian interference in our elections, that benefited the trump campaign. we know the senate is investigating. we know the fbi has been looking into whether the trump campaign colluded with the russians, a very serious offence. were these investigations getting too close to home for the president? it is troubling that attorney general sessions, who had recused himself from the russian investigation, played a role in firing the man leading it. so what happens now?
deputy attorney general rosenstein sat in the judiciary committee and promised to appoint a special prosecutor at the appropriate time. that time is right now. the american people's trust in our criminaljustice system is in rosenstein‘s hands. mr rosenstein, america depends on you to restore faith in our criminaljustice system, which is going to be badly shattered after the administration's actions today. this is part of a deeply troubling pattern from the trump administration. they fired sally yates. they fired preet bharara. and now they fired director comey, the very man leading the investigation.
this does not seem to be a coincidence. this investigation must be run as far away as possible from this white house, and as far away as possible from anyone that president trump has appointed. given the way the president fired director comey, any person who he appoints to lead the russia investigation will be concerned that he or she will meet the same fate as director comey if they run afoul of the administration. the american people need to have faith that an investigation as serious as this one is being conducted impartially, without a shred of bias. the only way the american people can have faith in this investigation is for it to be led by a fearless, independent special prosecutor. if deputy attorney general
rosenstein does not appoint an independent special prosecutor, every american will rightly suspect that the decision to fire director comey was part of a cover—up. the white house has rejected the democrats‘ charge that the fbi director was fired for political reasons, while kellyanne conway, counsellor to president trump, said the sacking had nothing to do with russia, but everything to do with whether the current fbi director had the president's confidence, and could faithfully and capably execute his duties. the bbc‘s north america editor jon sopel has been absorbing events in washington. surprised is a word that is rather mild for the tectonic shift of the political plates that has unfolded this evening in washington.
as i understand it, james comey, the director of the fbi, was addressing agents in los angeles. an aid goes up to him and hands him a note, and says you'd better read this. and he reads it, looks down, addresses the audience and says, i've just been fired. he knew nothing about it. no—one else knew anything about it. it was a bolt out of the blue from the white house. they didn't see it coming. and james comey had been determined to carry on with his work, to carry on the investigation. and you talked about the white house saying, look, this is nothing to do with the inquiry into russia. as we all know, in politics, perceptions matter, and it looks like the person who was conducting the investigation has been fired by people who didn't want him to carry on with it. and it is going to take an awful, uphill struggle for the white house
to convince the public that it was more innocent than that. i think it's a rather fraught relationship, and it always has been, and in particular over this particular issue, and russia in the narrowest sense, and russia in the widest sense. you remember that, when donald trump first became president, he refused to accept the assessment of the intelligence services that russia had intervened in the election by hacking the democrats‘ e—mails, by affecting the outcome in that way. then it was confirmed byjames comey, the head of the fbi, that there was an ongoing inquiry by the agency into whether there were links between russia and the trump campaign. donald trump was absolutely insistent, and remains absolutely insistent, there is nothing there, there is nothing to be seen. but the person who was leading the investigation has now been
fired, and the reason being given is because of something that happened a year ago, when he was looking into the use of hillary clinton's e—mails, which didn't result in a prosecution. and so you had those words from donald trump, the kind of brutalfiring of the head of the fbi. you are hereby terminated, removed from office, effective immediately. i think what it says is that he doesn't want much dissent. he wants to have his own people in, and that is, you know, fair enough. a president will kind of — you know, if you're the chairman of the board, you quite like appointing your own chief executive officer. dare i say it, in broadcasting, if you want to change the way a news station looks, you fire your presenters and bring in some of your people that you like. but this just has a different resonance, because it looks like, and the word that is being used tonight in the us is nixonian, it looks like this is a throwback to richard nixon's second term in office, when he fired the special
prosecutor who was called to investigate him. and people are using that phrase, and we heard it from chuck schumer there a moment ago — cover—up. that is deeply damaging, and i've heard it being reported that there is some surprise in the white house that this is causing the ructions that it is. i am astonished that anyone thought the reaction would be anything other than what it is. it is the start of a new political era in south korea, as a new president takes the helm. a short while ago, the national election commission formally confirmed the victory of moonjae—in. it was the highest election turnout in 20 years, and mr moon won with just over 40% of the vote, almost double his nearest competitor. the new president is expected to be inaugurated shortly. his victory ends almost a decade of conservative rule, and could also herald a more conciliatory approach toward north korea. let's go live to the south korean
capital. joining me from seoul is chung—in moon, distinguished university professor at yonsei university, and also editor—in—chief of the magazine and website global asia. he was an adviser to the government of kim dae—jung. soa human so a human rights lawyer is now the president of south korea. what difference do you think it is going to make? it will make a big difference. as you point out, he was a very famous human rights lawyer, therefore he knows the virtue democracy he does how to heal the pain ofa democracy he does how to heal the pain of a polarised korean society andi pain of a polarised korean society and i think that he will make a great contribution to the maturing of democracy and south korea. one of the most divisive issues, i think, and south korea, is how to behave towards the north, how to handle the north. how do you think he will do that? he will pursue a policy of
active engagement with north korea, he will be a daunting challenge of harmonising inter— korean relations with our key us alliance. and in addition, there are quite a large number of conservative forces who we re number of conservative forces who were extremely critical of north korea. it will be his main challenge, how to combine those challenges and produce a more productive approach towards north korea. and yet surely a major factor in what happens with north korea is the trump administration's attitude. south korean voices have been rather absent from consideration in washington, has and that? yes, it is called the career passing. therefore president moonjae—in will try and ove i’co m e president moonjae—in will try and overcome the syndrome of career passing and take a more active role in inter— korean relations and shaping a new order surrounding the korean peninsula. so do you expect a
return to the sunshine policy? do you expect significant changes? yes, i think nothing wrong with the sunshine policy. its first principle is non— provocation of north korea, second, abandonment of the idea of sovereign north korea, and the third one, to promote exchanging cooperation and pursue peaceful coexistence, and tried to materialise two factor unification. and i think there is nothing wrong with the sunshine policy, and the new president, moon jae—in, with the sunshine policy, and the new president, moonjae—in, will pursue the ideal and practice of the sunshine policy. crucially, though, professor, how do you think yong gang will approach the new president? they are likely to test him soon, aren't they?” president? they are likely to test him soon, aren't they? i hope not. if north korea test moonjae—in with another nuclear testing or a missile test, then that really will screw up inter— korean relations. therefore north korea must be must —— much
more cautious this time until there isa more cautious this time until there is a major breakthrough made by president moonjae—in. is a major breakthrough made by president moon jae-in. confessor, thank you very much. —— professor. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: following the treacherous journey by sea from libya to europe. we speak to some of the migrants being brought ashore in italy, to face an uncertain future. i, nelson rolihlahla mandela, do hereby swear to be faithful to the republic of south africa. after six years of construction and numerous delays, the channel tunnel has been formally opened by the queen and president mitterrand. the tunnel is still not yet ready for passengers and freight services to begin. for centuries, christianity and islam struggled for supremacy. now the pope's visit symbolises their willingness to coexist. roger bannister became the first man in the world to run a mile in under four minutes.
memories of victory as the ve celebrations reach their climax. this night is dedicated to everyone who believes in a future of peace and freedom. this is bbc news. the main story: president trump has fired the director of the fbi, james comey, the man leading the investigation into possible collusion between his election campaign and russia. more now on that. sarah kendzior is an american political journalist, who's critical of the trump administration. i asked her why she thought mr comey had been fired now. james comey‘s earlier testimony
accumulated a large array of damning information that can hurt the trump administration and could possibly lead to impeachment. trump is an autocratic leader who has been pushing back against semiconductor existence of checks and balances and he will manipulate those laws and use them to protect himself from prosecution, even if that's not in the spirit of american democracy. we have democratic members of congress talking about an extraordinary injustice. the problem with this presumably is that special prosecutors have to be appointed lady attorney general who has just
sacked james comey. yes, and that attorney general is also implicated in the investigation. this is part of the problem. essentially we are running out of time. this should have been handled months ago and hopefully under the obama administration. it's now been nearly one year that the public has had some information about what role russia played in the election and was trying to playjoin the campaign and a lot of that information hasn't been revealed to the public. i think the odds of us getting a non—partisan, independent investigation are lower each day. however, i think that is what is needed and i hope democrats and patrons it republicans who are briefed on this intelligence issues step forward and inform the public. harry reid last august that we needed to know because it could potentially falsify the election results. that's a big deal and we still don't have that information. that was a politicaljournalist. it's buddha's birthday today and millions of people around the world are marking the religious occasion. but in his birthplace in nepal,
rising air pollution is causing alarm. bbc world service environment reporter navin singh khadka has been to lumbini to see how monks and pilgrims are coping. sacred and spiritual. this is where buddha was born more than 2600 years ago. worshippers from around the world gathered in lumbini for prayer. while the spiritual spot may be good for the soul, it's not so beneficial for your health. a be good for the soul, it's not so beneficialfor your health. a murky, der jihadis beneficialfor your health. a murky, derjihadis lingers in the air. —— dirty haze. we have difficulty breathing and we cough. we have meditated as the centre who have had an asthma condition and during their stay here it has badly affected the
meditated. the historic site is a major tourism draw but many visitors feel uneasy breeding in the air. seeing the sky, the smog, you can't see some buildings and modern street in the distance and, yes, i mean here in lumbini, and the kathmandu valley, it is my impression, of course i am not a scientist, but i feel quite sure that it's getting worse. the sacred site is already a pollution hotspot because dirty air blows in from india. but there's also an area down the road. factories should be at least 15 kilometres away. but many are as close as eight, breaking the government's regulations. when the wind blows towards lumbini the pollution deposited at the holy site is more than ten times the world health organization's standards. the
filter paper in this machine will tell us the level of pollution in lumbini. wow! that's almost black. this filter paper was like that, playing white, when it was placed here 20 hours ago. scientists have warned that the rising air pollution is already damaging historic artefacts. the government is aware of this and says it is investigating where all the pollution comes from. it knows it can't put off forever the decision to shut down local factories to save the religious site. there's been a sharp rise in the number of migrants making the dangerous journey by sea from libya to europe, as we reported yesterday.
the numbers attempting the crossing are already 50% cent higher than last year and attitudes to this influx in europe also seem to have hardened. reeta chakrabarti was with some of the migrants being brought ashore in italy to face an uncertain future. a new day and perhaps a new life. after days on the deck of this rescue ship, it's the first glimpse of europe for people who left the shores of libya unsure they'd survive to see this. trying to cross continents in these dinghies felt like their only hope, said several. like this young nigerian man, who said he'd been working in libya as a welder until his foot was blown off by an explosive. he preferred not to give his name. everybody don't have a choice, nobody have a choice. even me i think this water, i'm going to cross, if i am dead, it's gotten away. he said he couldn't return home because of boko haram. now, first off the ship,
he's helped to safety. 0n shore, there's chocolate and panettone for breakfast and, as people are checked and processed, a warm welcome italian style. where are you from? gambia! many look dazed. the contrast with what they've come from is stark. this is the end of the long sea journey. the injured came out first, then women and children and now the rest. but they're arriving in a europe where attitudes are hardening against them, the future for many is uncertain. all humanity is present on these treacherous crossings and the rescuers make no distinction between the persecuted and the poor. but europe does, existing fears about migration and the fact that over 43,000 people have arrived this way this year, mean the reception they can expect will be very mixed. for those who have arrived, anotherjourney has started. they may have reached their longed
for goal, but admission here in europe and acceptance might still elude them. reeta chakrabarti, bbc news, in calabria, southern italy. it's one of the most iconic buildings in the world, but did you know that the sydney opera house has bad acoustics? a four—year renovation project is now under way to address this and other issues. hywel griffiths has the story. it's the building that defines notjust sydney, but australia's place in the world. bold and bathed in sunshine, the opera house's tall sails are iconic. but inside, the sound is not so stunning. for the resident symphony orchestra, it's a source of frustration. the shape of the concert hall makes it hard to hear themselves and each other play. it is a bit like playing football on a pitch that's surrounded in fog. you know your teammates are out there somewhere, but they're a bit hard to see and for us the issue
is they're a bit hard to hear. often i don't feel like we're really always playing together and then, with some of the other sections of the orchestra, we can have time delays at times as we are following the conductor. the problem dates back to the very beginning. changes were made to the original design. the architect fell out with the engineers and never saw the finished building. after decades of trying out different fixes, a new system of reflectors and risers has been tested and it is claimed will finally deliver crystal clear sound. it was honestly like someone had just lifted a perspex box off the top of the orchestra and you could hear them so much better. the sound sounds a lot closer to you. you feel as if you're actually hearing the bow hit the string. the famous tall sails that form the outside of this building have always placed a limit on what can happen inside. this concert hall is too big for orchestral concerts, for example. the real challenge over the next few
years is making sure what happens inside here matches the quality of what people see out there. but there's a mountain to climb. the building with hundreds of steps doesn't offer easy access. special tunnels will be drilled inside to help wheelchair users. but many of the changes will be behind the scenes. it's quite fantastic. it's very doctor who. much of the equipment used here was ordered 50 years ago and was built into the structure. with 2000 shows a year, there's been a lot of wear and tear since. there's literally someone pulling up and down as you're watching? yep, someone standing in the dark, tugging on a rope is how it's still done for some of the scenery here. this will be the first time the opera house will close any of its main theatres, but there will still be music within these walls, as they try to fine tune one of the world's best loved buildings. finally, let's take you live to the
south korean capital where a new president hasjust been south korean capital where a new president has just been sworn in. south korean capital where a new president hasjust been sworn in. he has just won 40% of the vote, almost double his nearest competitor. it was the highest election turnout in many years, the start of a new political era. after almost a decade of almost conservative rule, moon jae—in faces multiple challenges from the aftermath of the corruption scandal that toppled his predecessor and the tensions with north korea. it is expected he will take a much less confrontational approach with the north. he is a human rights lawyer. president moonjae—in, just taken office as the new south korean president. much more any time on all the news on the bbc website and you can reach me and most of the team on twitter. and for watching. hi there.
we had some glorious sunshine yesterday across western parts of the country once again. these were the clear skies in abersock, north—west wales. we have had a lot of sunshine over the last few days across western parts of the country. but if i run through the last few days in the east, you can see rather cloudier weather in from the north sea, with pesky winds bringing cloud across much of central and eastern england in particular. it hasn't felt warm either under the cloudy skies. however, the weather is going to change because the wind is changing direction. we're not bringing cloud from the north sea. the pressure is relatively higher on wednesday. the winds will be a little bit lighter. it will be sunny and warm day for many parts of the country. yes, warmth on the way but it will be a chilly start to the morning. temperatures start around two or three degrees in the countryside. there will be a few spots see temperatures below freezing in the coldest areas. cloudy in scotland. a bit of rain for the northern isles. 0therwise, mainly dry.
we should see sunshine from the central belt southwards across scotland, northern ireland, england and wales, mostly starting fine and sunny with a few patches of cloud to start the day for east anglia. i think for most of us temperatures come up quickly with light winds and blue skies overhead. and that's really the way the weather will stay through the rest of the day. again, prone to a few spits and spots of rain across the far north of scotland but otherwise essentially it is a dry picture with sunshine. and temperatures across parts of central england towards the south—west, eastern wales, could reach the 20s, so it's going to be warm and pleasant in the sunshine. heading through wednesday evening and overnight, we keep cloudy weather for scotland. and late in the night we might see just a few showers pushing in from the near continent. signs of a change in the weather on the way. temperatures overnight around 7—9 degrees, so thursday morning starts off something like this — most of us start off on a sunny note and then showers move up from the continent, some of those could turn thundery through the day. still, for many areas it is a decent day with dry weather, warm sunshine, temperatures rising, 19 degrees or so in london.
but then through thursday night and on into friday it looks like we will see some thunderstorms pushing in from the near continent. hit and miss in nature. but some of the downpours might be intense. there might be some hail mixed in. the wind will start to get stronger and then it will be cooler for eastern scotland with cloud and rain here. for the weekend we will have some relatively warm conditions. some bright spells intermingled with one or two showers. that's your weather. this is bbc news, the headlines: president trump has sacked the director of the fbi, james comey, the man leading the investigation into possible collusion between his election campaign and russia. in a letter, mr trump told mr comey that he was unable to effectively head the fbi and new leadership was needed to restore public trust in the organisation.
the democratic leader in the senate, chuck schumer, said it was now time to appoint a special independent prosecutor to take over the russia inquiry. otherwise, he said, the american people would be entitled to suspect that removing mr comey had been an attempt to stifle the inquiry. the new president of south korea, moonjae—in, has been sworn in following his victory in tuesday's election. mr moon is a liberal human rights lawyer who has called for co—operation with north korea and questioned the deployment of a us missile defence system. now on bbc news as part of hardtalk‘s 20 year anniversary we broadcast an interview first transmitted in july 2015.