welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: as he prepares to give evidence to congress, former fbi director, james comey, details inappropriate and ‘very concerning' meetings with president trump. the authorities in iran say they hold saudi arabia and the us responsible for wednesday's deadly militant attacks. more tributes to the victims of the london bridge attack. eight people are known to have died and police make further arrests. and rewriting the history of evolution. why a series of new discoveries means humans could go back a lot further than we thought. hello. the former fbi director, james comey, has dropped another bombshell ahead of his much anticipated appearance before congress later.
his opening statement has been published on line. in it, he says that president trump repeatedly asked for his loyalty. on a separate occasion, mr comey says the president urged him to drop an inquiry into his national security adviser, michael flynn, who had just been forced to resign. rajini vaidya nathan reports from washington. he has become more famous than me. there was a time when president trump had nothing but praise forjames comey. but a firm grip injanuary turned into a firing in may. he sacked the fbi director, reportedly calling him a nut job and more. he is a showboat, a grandstander. the fbi has been in turmoil, you know that, i know that, everybody knows that. most people know the president's version of events. now, james comey will go public with his. just like his testimony in march, it all comes back to russia. the fbi, as part of our
counter—intelligence mission, is investigating the russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the trump campaign and the russian government. on the eve of his appearance before the senate, james comey released a written statement. he said "the president isn't being investigated as part of the russia enquiry," confirming statements made by donald trump in the past. if it is possible, will you let me know "am i under investigation?" he said i am not under investigation. butjames comey did say during a dinner injanuary, he was asked by the president for unwavering support. "i need and expect loyalty," he said the president told him. the white house has denied this. but how far did he expect the loyalty to go? james comey says he was told to drop the investigation into the former national security adviser, michael flynn. donald trump said "he is a good guy, and i hope you let this go." we are interested in learning
that the president took steps to interfere and obstruct the investigation. there is no question the president wanted an end to the wider russian inquiry. but james comey says that donald trump told him it was a cloud over him. it is notjust congress looking into the donald trump campaign's ties to russia. there is also an ongoing fbi investigation. in the saga that is washington politics, james comey‘s testimony is a must see moment, but it is just one act of what is becoming a long and drawnout political drama. josh gerstein is the white house reporter for politico, the on—line current affairs journal based in washington. he focuses on national security, legal affairs, and transparency.
he told me mr comey and the president's view of events appear to contradict each other. it does seem like a very selective statement from the president's attorney, pulling out one perhaps helpful phrase in comey‘s prepared statement and ignoring just about all the other very troubling things brought up, including this general statement that he wanted comey to "lift the cloud hanging over the presidency." and there is also the other question with all of the exchanges between james comey and the president, of course, the ultimate firing of james comey, even though there was no attempt to obstruct the investigation up to that point. what was the intention of dismissing him then? his supporters are saying this is just the normal new york conversations of the others say it is unorthodox, possibly illegal and inappropriate, and grounds for impeachment, a case of obstruction ofjustice. where do you think we are on that huge spectrum? i think it is certainly
inappropriate conversation. i have seen some people try to defend it saying you have a novice in the white house. he is not familiar with the role of the president. they are in the realm of most multinational corporations, large institutions, they would be nervous about getting into the territory mr trump got into in these exchanges with mr comey. whether the result of this is a crime or leads to his impeachment, ifeel like we have not gotten to that point yet. but it is certainly something that even his allies are as saying is inappropriate at best. just to be clear, this isjust the opening statement. there will be full testimony and questioning, of course, earlier on thursday and there will be likely more detail in that testimony if james comey is asked the appropriate questions. yeah, that's right.
it appears mr comey does not want to draw conclusions on what the president's intentions were. he talks about his own reactions in these cases. there are some other conversations james comey alludes to in his statement but does not detail. he will probably be asked about it, but whether he talks about it is not clear. there have been press reports about awkward talks, for example, president trump calling james comey without any agenda. it's strange for two very busy, busy men. it is weird for them to have a weekday conversation with no item to resolve. and you can get all the very latest on the upcoming testimony, including detailed analysis, from our correspondents on our website. that's bbc.com/news. just follow the links. the revolutionary guards in iran have accused saudi arabia and the united states of involvement in twin assaults in in tehran. suicide bombers and gunmen
killed at least 12 people and injured dozens more. saudi arabia has denied having anything to do with the attack which so—called islamic state said it carried out. our diplomatic correspondent, james landale, reports. gunfire. it is the middle of the morning, and iran's parliament is under attack as never before. four gunmen, some reportedly dressed as women, have burst in, armed with grenades and explosive vests. security forces surround the parliamentary complex, as those inside, including children, try to escape. incredibly, as the attack continues, some mps in the chamber carry on with their parliamentary business. the group that calls itself islamic state claims the gunmen are theirs. is is fighting iranian backed militias in syria and iraq, but this is the first time the sunni jihadis have struck in the heart of shia iran.
as the attack progresses, is posts a video supposedly from inside. one gunman says, "hold on", in english, another shouts in arabic, "we're staying forever." afterfive hours, the attackers are dead, leaving 11 people killed and many more injured. and there's more. a second, almost simultaneous attack a few miles away, another suicide bomb, at the shrine of the ayatollah khomeini, the founder of the iranian republic. there can be few more symbolic targets. one man is dead and others wounded. iran's powerful revolutionary guard has accused saudi arabia and the us of being involved and promised revenge, deepening even further the long—standing tensions between shia iran and sunni arab states. james landale, bbc news. eight people are now known to have
died in the london bridge attack on saturday night. police searching for a frenchman who went missing during the attack have found a body in the river thames. xavier thomas who was 45 had been in london with his girlfriend for the weekend. police have made three further arrests. ed thomas has this report. in the most darkest moments... returning to london bridge. the police officers who were the first to face the london attackers, and comfort the injured, here to lay flowers and remember those who died, in a city grateful for the bravery of officers like pc green. it is really important to have that support from the public and, you know, obviously, our thoughts are more so with the casualties and everything that happened here. and today, police searching
for xavier thomas from france say they recovered a body from the thames. he was on holiday in london and his girlfriend. she's now in hospital seriously injured. and confirmed dead today, ignacio echeverria from spain, last seenjumping off his bike to help a woman being stabbed. also named, australian, sara zelenak. she was 21 and working as an au pair. her family said she was a beautiful daughter and sister. in france, the family of sebastien belanger confirmed he was also killed. it brings the total number of deaths to eight. while police continue to look for evidence, today, this family home in ilford was raided, as offices pieced together more about the killers. —— officers. khuram butt, a known islamist extremist, rachid redouane, a moroccan libyan who once lived in dublin, and italian moroccan youssef zaghba.
police in italy suspected he wanted to join so—called islamic state and say they told british intelligence agencies. today, his mother spoke anonymously. translation: he was closely followed when he was in italy, but he wasn't at all in the uk it seems. i was very happy with the work the italian police did. from what i read, it seems in the uk they knew nothing, they weren't pursuing anything. this investigation now reaches towards morocco, italy and ireland, but the focus has always been here, east london, and those unanswered questions of how all three men met and planned their attack. men known to british security services who went on to kill. police insist there was no intelligence an attack was being planned. and we pray for those in our hospitals nearby... this afternoon, prayers
from all faiths on london bridge. a message from a city to those who caused so much pain. ed thomas, bbc news, east london. let's take a look at some of the other stories making the news. south korea's military says north korea has fired a number of missiles off its east coast. it's believed the tests, fired from the coastal city of wonsan, were of land—to—ship missiles. they are the latest in a series of tests pyongyang has carried out in defiance of un sanctions. nations with some of the worst records for polluting the world's oceans with plastic have promised to start cleaning up their act. delegates from china, the philippines, indonesia and thailand told a un summit they would work harder to keep plastics out of the sea. much of that plastic comes from ten major river systems in asia. four workers at a nuclear research facility injapan have been accidentally exposed to dangerous levels of radiation. the accident occurred when workers were checking on the storage
of radioactive materials, when a bag containing radioactive dust split open. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: fresh air bnb. the swiss hotel and the ultimate room with a view. the day the british liberated the falklands, and by tonight, british troops had begun the task of disarming the enemy. in the heart of the west german capital, this was "gorbymania" at its height. the crowd packed to see the man who, forthem, has raised great hopes for an end to the division of europe. michaeljackson was not guilty of all charges. the screams of the crowd testament to his
popularity and their faith in his innocence. as long as they'll pay to go see me, i'll get out there and kick them down the hills. what does it feel to be the first man to go across the channel by your own power? it is pretty neat. good to have you with us on bbc news. the latest headlines: the former fbi director, james comey, is set to testify to congress later that president trump asked for his loyalty a few months before firing him. the authorities in iran say they hold saudi arabia and the us responsible for wednesday's deadly militant attacks, claimed by so—called islamic state. officials in myanmar say they've found bodies and debris from a military plane which had gone missing over the andaman sea. it was carrying i22
it was carrying 122 passengers and crew, most of them soldiers and theirfamilies, when crew, most of them soldiers and their families, when it crew, most of them soldiers and theirfamilies, when it went missing. our correspondentjonah fisher is in yangon. what is the news on this? bleak news, as we were perhaps expecting. the burmese army has it, it confirmed they have discovered some wreckage from his plane which went missing yesterday afternoon. they discovered these are the thai, bodies, floating in the water. —— tyre. they are now sending planes to the urgency that they can find. but there appears to be little prospect now of finding survivors. as you mention, more than 120 of the plan. it was a military plane, a transporter, going from myeik in southern myanmar, to yangon. not to
soldiers, theirfamilies. southern myanmar, to yangon. not to soldiers, their families. and southern myanmar, to yangon. not to soldiers, theirfamilies. and we believe there will be a sizeable number of children amongst those died. any indication of the cause? some will be wondering was terrorism. no. there is no indication as to what might have happened. it should be pointed out that this is monsoon season here in myanmar. the weather can be particularly bad at the moment with some very intense storms. we don't know if that was a factor. at the moment, the focus is getting to the wreckage, and seen what can be found there and ascertained from that. all we really know is that this plane was flying north from myeik, and about half an hour into the flight, its sadly disappeared and sub making any correspondence with a traffic control. that is when the surge began. now the wreckage has been discovered, the question as to what exactly happened, what has caused
this crash, in probably what is the worst aviation disaster in burmese history can at the question is will begin to be asked, and there will no doubt be investigators here looking to ask questions and work out what happened. clearly more to come. thank you forjoining us. a teenager has been killed during opposition protests against the venezuelan government. witnesses said the 17—year—old was hit in the chest by a tear gas canister fired by a police officer at point blank range. the country is in the midst of a severe economic crisis and widespread demonstrations are being held on an almost daily basis, as sarah corker reports. for more than two months, violent demonstrations have overwhelmed the venezuelan capital, caracas. protesters angry with the government of president nicolas maduro and demanding early elections to remove him. they blame him for the country's desperate economic crisis. despite vast oil reserves, venezuela's economy has collapsed. translation: we are afraid of losing an eye due to gas,
a bomb blowing up in our skull, but we are even more frightened this repression will last forever. translation: because i believe in freedom and justice. and these youngsters are our heroes, the present and future of venezuela. a 17—year—old boy was killed in these latest clashes, taking the death toll to 66 since april. hundreds more have been injured, and thousands arrested. and an increasing number of foreign companies have now suspended operations in the country. tyre manufacturer pirelli says a lack of raw materials means it is halting production in venezuela indefinitely. it comes a month after general motors said it was leaving the country, and earlier this week colgate—palmolive announced it would no longer produce dishwashing liquid and detergent in venezuela, again, due to a lack of raw materials. and from july, united airlines is suspending its houston to caracas
route due to a lack of demand. but mr maduro said the crisis is a us—backed conspiracy, and brands the protesters insurgents and terrorists. there have been pro—government demonstrations too. while the us ambassador to the un had these stern words for mr maduro. .. the venezuelan government is in the midst of destroying human rights and democracy in venezuela. it is conducting a campaign of violence and intimidation against unarmed demonstrators, businesses, civil society and freely—elected political opposition. the head of venezuela's military has warned his troops not to commit atrocities against protesters and, with venezuelans facing severe shortages of food and medicine, these demonstrations show little sign of abating. sarah corker, bbc news. fossils discovered in north africa have cast new light on how modern humans evolved.
they revealed that homo sapiens existed 100,000 years earlier than most people previously thought. they were present all across africa, notjust the east, which was previously thought to be the cradle of humanity. pallab ghosh reports. this is the face of one of the very first of our kind, and more casts of bone fragments of the earliest known homo sapiens. the discovery of these fossils were presented at a news conference in paris. they have completely changed the theory of how modern humans evolved. the common wisdom that there is probably some kind of beginning human in sub—saharan africa a million years ago, what our works have shown is that we have to push back in time much further the age of the origin of our species. human remains found in kenya and tanzania,
suggested that east africa was a cradle from which the species emerged 200,000 years ago. the discovery of 300,000 year old human remains in morocco show humans began to emerge much earlier. and notjust there, stone tools found across the continent suggest homo sapiens were all over africa at the time. this is a skull of the earliest known human of our species. and this is a modern human. you can see the faces are practically the same aside from the slightly pronounced brow region. another difference. the earliest human has a slightly smaller brain. scans of the skull published in thejournal, nature, show that we did not emerge rapidly, but over hundreds of thousands of years. it took longer to make homo sapiens in evolutionary terms
than we thought. it was complex. different parts of africa probably evolved differently. some evolved in southern africa, some in east africa. there was no single place where homo sapiens became us. the search is on to find perhaps even older remains. the past of humanity has now been rewritten. pallab ghosh, bbc news. now, if breathtaking scenery, fresh alpine air and unparalleled peace and quiet sounds appealing, you may be interested in a new hotel opening tomorrow in switzerland. the accommodation is a piece of conceptual art aiming to "redefine luxury". but there is a catch, as andy beatt reports. it is a room with a view,
but not much else. forjust over $300, guests can book into the zero star hotel and enjoy unobstructed views of flower meadows and majestic mountains. what it lacks in cosiness and creature comforts, it hopes to make up for in alfresco charm. and it is proving popular. translation: we have had requests from all over the world. the beds are almost 80% booked up. people are coming from america, africa, australia, the uk, iraq — everybody, young and old. intrepid travellers receive a drink on arrival, organic breakfast, and the services of a butler, typically a farmer in rubber boots. less appealing perhaps is the three—minute walk to the bathroom, in an alpine hut that also serves as a backup in bad weather. it's notjust a place to stay.
the creators say their room aims to explode traditional approaches to hospitality, challenging our ties to the property market. and while local hoteliers are not great fans of the project, some 1300 people already are, already paying out for a night out under the stars. andy beatt, bbc news. do you remember green heinz sauce, coca cola black or colgate beef lasagne? probably not. they're all commercial lemons. but a new museum of failures in the swedish town of helsingborg is celebrating product flops, including a trump board game, google glasses, and a mask that promises beauty through electric shocks. curator samuel west says we should not be afraid of failure as we can all learn from mistakes. oh, yes. just briefly, that breaking news is
that officials in myanmar has said they found bodies and wreckage from a missing plane. the aircraft was carrying 122 passengers and crew. most we believe were soldiers and theirfamilies when most we believe were soldiers and their families when it went down. wreckage found by a navy ship 22 miles, 35 kilometres, from the southern coastal town of yangon. it was a chinese made plain. that has also been found. —— plane. and the start of a statement by james also been found. —— plane. and the start of a statement byjames comey has been published online, in which he says the donald trump did tell him to lay off investigating general michael flynn. he has given details of five conversations with the president. mr trump repeatedly sought his loyalty, while mr comey underlined the impartiality of his role.
hi there. most of us at least saw some sunshine yesterday. but for today sunshine is going to be a little bit harder to come by. for most of us it's going to be quite cloudy. and that cloud thick enough to bring some rain for some of us. now, the relatively clear weather we had yesterday working out into the north sea, replaced by this big lump of cloud. the area of low pressure still well out in the mid—atlantic. the low spinning around there, throwing south—westerly winds across the uk. so it is going to be a mild day coming up. but that cloud will be thick enough for some of us to get pretty wet weather. the wettest of it, first thing in the morning, across wales, north—west england. some low cloud and mist and hill fog patches across the south—west of england. but a mild start to the day as well — 13—14 degrees, something like that. a bit cooler across the north of scotland. but at least here, you've got a chance of seeing a bit of morning sunshine. now, it's going to be quite a gusty start to the day across wales and south—west england.
the gusts running in at around a0 miles an hour. quite blowy, too across the midlands and east anglia and south—east england. a lot of dry weather. the occasional spit of rain just about possible. that weather working in across north—west england. quite misty over the pennines. that rain will probably get in right across northern ireland, first thing in the morning. it will be edging across scotland, too. the north though, probably staying dry, with some early morning sunshine. as we go on through the rest of the day, a bit of uncertainty about the northward spread of this rain. but it could get a little bit further north than we are showing, perhaps threatening the north of scotland as we go into the afternoon. heavy showers returning to northern ireland late in the day. a few showers across wales and south—west england, moving into the midlands, too. east anglia and south—east england, well, it will try to brighten up here late in the day. through thursday night, low pressure still with us. we are going to see showers continue to push across the uk. the winds turning a little bit lighter. still coming in from the south—west, so it's going to be another mild night and a mild start for friday. friday, well, generally a better kind of day. pressure will begin to build
and htat means fewer showers. more in the way of sunshine. showers tending to be limited to scotland, really, as we head into the afternoon. given a bit more sunshine and lighter winds, it is going to feel warmer. 19 in belfast. not bad at all. 22 in london, should feel pleasant enough in those lighter winds. and a fine evening will follow. again, a few showers continuing to affect parts of scotland. now heading into the weekend, we do have an area of rain that's lurking just behind me. that is tied in with another area of low pressure. it's going to be bringing wet and fairly windy weather to start the weekend, across many area of the uk. so brace ourselves for a soggy start to the weekend. it's not all bad news though, because the rain will clear through. sunday should be a dry day. it will start to turn a bit warmer as well, with highs of 23 in london. that's your weather. this is bbc news. the headlines: former fbi directorjames comey, fired by president trump, has said mr trump did pressure him to drop an inquiry into a senior white house official. a statement from mr comey has been
published ahead of a senate hearing on thursday. it says the president demanded his loyalty and asked him to help "lift the cloud" of the russia investigation. in tehran —— gunmen and suicide bombers have attacked iran's parliament — and the shrine of its revolutionary leader, leaving 12 people dead many more wounded. the extremist group that calls itself islamic state says it was responsible. iran has accused saudi arabia and the us of being involved. it's now confirmed eight people died in the london bridge attack on saturday night. police searching for a frenchman — missing since the attack — have found a body in the river thames. xavier thomas was 45 — he'd been in london with his girlfriend, just for the weekend. now on bbc news, it's hardtalk.