welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: seventeen people are confirmed dead in london's tower block fire. the prime minister orders a full public inquiry, as local residents demand answers. at the moment we are grieving but there is a bubbling anger underneath and we want to see someone held accountable for this. dozens of people are still missing. families continue the desperate search for relatives doctors say the american student freed this week by north korea remains in a coma and has suffered severe brain damage. democrats and republicans unite. the us's congressional baseball game goes ahead — a day after the shooting that left steve scalise critically injured. and a new chapter in us—cuba relations — after two years of tourism and trade will president trump turn back the clock? hello.
as questions multiply about the fire that engulfed a west london tower block, there's growing anger among local people about warnings they say were ignored. britain's prime minister bore the brunt of some of that anger today, and london's mayor told a furious crowd at the scene they should not have to wait for answers. police say the current death toll of 17 could rise significantly — it will take weeks to search the building. the first victim has been named as mohammed al—hajali, a syrian refugee who was 23. mark easton begins our coverage — some of his report you may find distressing. slowly, inch by painstaking inch, fire officers continue their grim and dangerous work. amid the soot—blackened shell of what was once home to hundreds are some who did not make it out. exactly how many, we do not know,
but police today said they hoped the final death toll would not be in three figures. the scale of this tragedy is yet to become clear. sadly i can confirm the number of people who have died is now 17. we do believe that that number will sadly increase. there are 37 people receiving treatment, of which 17 are still in critical care. the brother of these two syrians was one of those who lost his life. mohammed alhajali was an engineering student seeking a better life in britain. omar was with him as firemen tried to evacuate the blazing building but the pair got separated. i looked behind me, i could not see my brother. i said, my brother, my brother, where is he? they were ignoring downstairs. i went outside. i called him. i said, where are you? he said, i'm in the flat.
i said why could you not come? they brought us outside. i thought you were with us. he said nobody brought me outside. he said why have you left me? he said why? i didn't leave! i thought they took him outside with me. they didn't. they left him. younger brother hashim continued to talk to mohammed on his mobile phone until there was no reply. he said, please tell mum to pray for me. telling me, use the quran for him. he said, are you happy? are you happy with me? do you have any problem with me? i said, no, who has a problem with you? you have a sweet heart mohammed. you'll make it out. then he said... he was speaking slowly... he said, i can't... he said i cannot breath.
iam dying. why they left me? why? relatives of five—year—old isaac paulos confirmed today that the little boy was among those who died in the fire. the agony of a wounded neighbourhood is written on a wall, the desperation of people searching for family and friends. prayers and solace from near and far. for the last two days, jason garcia has been searching for his 12—year—old cousin jessica urbano. we feel helpless really. we are hoping that, by putting up posters, sharing her image on social media, and talking to people like yourself, that maybe someone with information will get in touch. thy kingdom come... this evening, jessica's parents and friends gathered together in a community that is craving answers but complains of delays and evasion.
at the moment we're grieving, but there's a bubbling anger underneath and we want to see somebody held accountable for this. the love and generosity that's poured into north kensington in the last couple of days cannot make up for the numbing sense of loss. the prime minister made a private visit to the scene today, speaking to emergency workers before announcing there will be a full public inquiry into what went wrong. when i spoke to the emergency services, they told me the way this fire progressed and how it took hold of the building was rapid, ferocious and unexpected. we've to get to the bottom of this. the truth has got to come out, and it will. the labour leaderjeremy corbyn also went in north kensington, insisting he would speak up for the community. shock and grief are being joined by outrage and anger. the questions are raining down, rather like the charred lumps of cladding, which locals are holding up as possible evidence
that people were housed in a preventable death trap. london mayor sadiq khan was heckled by a small group of people on a visit to grenfell tower today. what's he gonna say? i don't want to hear this rubbish. feelings are running high. understandably, the residents are very angry and concerned and have genuine questions that demand answers and so whereas... woman: someone needs to be held accountable. these deaths could have been prevented! the concerns are notjust about what went wrong in north kensington, they're also about what could go wrong in thousands of tower blocks across britain. residents at trellick tower, who can see grenfell tower from their balconies, now have a constant and disturbing reminder of the risks of high—rise living. mark easton, bbc news, north kensington. there were hundreds in the tower block when the fire broke out, many of them asleep.
whole families are unaccounted for. lucy manning reports on the search forfriends and relatives — again, there are upsetting details coming up. mohammed hakim fears he's lost everyone — his mother, father, two brothers and sister. all his extended family supporting him now rushed to the fire when the calls of panic came. i spoke to her and the last few words she said to me was, "please forgive me if i've said anything to upset you or hurt you. i don't think we're going to make it out of the building." they were supposed to be celebrating next month. his sister, husna, was getting married, but the entire family were trapped on the 17th floor. they were reciting duas from the koran. and it wasjust heartbreaking, and then itjust cut out. and then i rang husna. she was, like, we're not going to make it, we can't make it, we can see flames under the door. we can see flames under the door.
i kept saying, try and put things under the door to stop the smoke coming in and get as low as you can and open the windows. someone's going to come, call the fire brigade, do something. and then she stopped talking. all i could hear was this crackling noise in the background, because the phone was still on, but she wasn't saying anything. the not knowing is killing me. i really need to find out where they are. the family stood helpless outside, unable to rescue them. this is the worst thing i remember in my life. i saw my uncle, from the 17th floor. he opened the window. he kept shouting, "please, help us, get us out." he was saying allah's name, and all this. i kept looking at him, helpless. mohammed, it must be extremely difficult, just not knowing?
not losing one member of my family, but losing all five, the whole, entire family. i don't have my parents any more and you only get one set of parents in this world. and i had three siblings. they are all gone, in the space of a couple of hours, after leaving their house, they are all gone. and no—one wants to give us any information about their whereabouts, if they are still within the building, or not. they still have hope, but feel bereft of help. adel chaoui is another relative deep in grief and frustration. ba by leena belkadi, just six months old, is missing, along with her mum, farah, and her dad, omar. they eventually found two of the baby's sisters in hospital. we cajoled and begged a nurse to go upstairs and after ten minutes, one of them offered to do so and came down and told us they had a child that matched the description, did we want to come up and have a look. we found one of the children
there, the younger. my brother's looking around, and he's staring at another bed and asks farah's older sister to have a look. farah's older sister says, "that's the other child, that's the older one." they were beds apart and nobody in authority was making any effort to identify them. you've had to do this all yourself? we've had to do it ourselves. so many families here are looking, hoping, dreading the news that may come. lucy manning, bbc news, west london. and you can find all the very latest on our website. you'll find a live page constantly updated by our reporters, stories from the families affected and the local community. there's also an in depth account of the make up of the tower and what we know about the fire so far. just go to bbc.com/news
let's take a look at some of the other stories making the news. chinese officials say they suspect a "criminal act" caused the explosion that's killed at least eight people and injured 65 outside a nursery in the eastern province ofjiangso. it's not yet known if children are among the dead. it happened as parents were waiting to take their children home. president trump has said reports that he's under criminal investigation are part of what he called the greatest single witch hunt in american political history, led by some very bad people. mr trump said on twitter he was accused of obstructing justice over something for which there was zero proof — claims that his campaign colluded with russia to influence last year's election. a jury deliberating bill cosby‘s sex assault trial has told the judge they are deadlocked on day four of their deliberations. but thejudge has instructed the panel to return to continue trying to reach a verdict. the comedian denies drugging and assaulting a woman at his home near philadelphia in 200a.
if the seven men and five women cannot reach a unanimous decision a mistrial will be declared. greece will receive another 8.5 billion euros from the eurozone for its bailout programme after european finance ministers reached an agreement. the payment is subject to approval of the imf board. greece has repayments on other loans due next month which it could not otherwise have made. doctors treating an american who was in a coma when he was released from a north korean prison say he has suffered severe brain injury. otto warmbier was freed on tuesday and is now back home in cincinnati. it's not clear how he sustained the brain damage. he'd been given a long prison sentence in march 2016 for trying to steal a propaganda banner. sarah corker reports. this is otto warmbier, a 22—year—old american student pictured during his trial in pyongyang last year. clearly distraught, he was sentenced to 15 years hard labour for stealing a propaganda sign from a hotel.
he is now in a coma. north korea say shortly after the trial he contracted botulism, a rare illness that causes paralysis. but otto's father strongly refutes that. even if you believe their explanation of botulism and a sleeping pill causing the coma — and we don't — there is no excuse for any civilised nation to have kept his condition secret and denied him top—notch medical care for so long. otto had visited north korea as part of a group tour. he arrived back in the united states back on tuesday and doctors treating him in cincinnati say they have found no signs of botulism. his neurological condition can be best described as a state of unresponsive wakefulness. he has spontaneous eye opening and blinking, however, he shows no signs of understanding language. it comes as tensions
between the united states and north korea are mounting over pyinyang's nuclear and missile programmes. the us diplomat who negotiated otto's release also met this week with three other us citizens being detained by the authoritarian regime. i call on them to release the other americans being held. no other family should habve to endure what warmbiers have. doctors said otto suffered extrensive loss of brain tissue and his family described it as a bittersweet feeling to finally have him home. sarah corker, bbc news. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: the funny side of his annual phone—in — russian president vladimir putin offers former fbi director james comey asylum. there was a bomb in the city centre.
a code word known to be one used by the ira was given. army bomb experts were examining a suspect van when there was a huge explosion. the south african parliament has destroyed the foundation of apartheid by abolishing the population registration act, which for a0 years forcibly classified each citizen according to race. germany's parliament, the bundestag, has voted by a narrow majority to move the seat government from bonn to berlin. berliners celebrated into the night but the decision was greeted with shock in bonn. just a day old and the royal baby is tonight sleeping in his cot at home. early this evening the new prince was taken by his mother and father to their apartments in kensington palace. the real focus today was valentina tereshkova, the world's first woman cosmonaut. what do you think of the russian woman in space? i think it's a wonderful achievement and i think we might be able to persuade the wife it would be a good idea
if i could to get her to go up there for a little while. this is bbc news. the latest headlines: the death toll in the london tower block fire rises to 17, but is expected to increase further. dozens of people are still missing. families continue the desperate search for relatives. emergency workers in bangladesh have stepped up the search for victims of the country's worst ever landslides. meantime, there's mounting claims that the disaster was worsened by unchecked development, including large—scale felling of trees. our bangladesh correspondent, akbar hossain, has been to the worst—affected area. i am standing in the south—east of bangladesh. a massive landslide took place three days ago. so far, 150 people have died.
many are still missing. the army and fire service are still continuing the rescue operation. and still, many people are still trapped under the mud. but firefighters and rescue operators are not actually hoping to rescue anyone alive from the rubble. this area is prone to landslides. but this is the deadliest ever landslide in recent years. many people are still taking shelter in some other areas which are safe and they cannot return home. many people are still searching for near and dear people still under the mud. road communications, power supplies, and mobile networks have been cut off for the last four days in the area and in some other districts. authorities say it will take time to restore communication. leading american politicians are playing their traditional charity baseball game a day after a leading republican and three others were shot during practice for the match. the annual congressional baseball game in washington has been hailed as a rare and welcome moment
of unity between both major parties. steve scalise the house majority whip remains in a critical condition. laura bicker has more from nationals park. this game has taken on an extra significance since yesterday's shooting. not only have there been extra ticket sales, they've gone at a rate of around 500 extra tickets an hour. so, that's 20,000 being sold in the last 2a hours since the shooting. and in the words of nancy pelosi, democrat house leader, this time, it's in honour of congressman steve scalise, still in hospital, they will wear the uniform of his state university. they said tonight it is not
about republicans and democrats, it is about steve scalise. when the players take to the pitch, it is worth mentioning this is a rare and genuine opportunity for these politicians to show bipartisanship. it has been going on since 1909. and, yes, baseball practise may have been marred by violence, but tonight they have a chance to show they are not just politicians, but people and players. they are not just someone you can pin ideology to. that is the spirit in which this game will be held. president trump is due to announce a new policy on cuba later on friday during a visit to miami. some has already leaked out. the white house says the new policy will tighten trade and travel restrictions once again, which were relaxed during president obama's detente with the island. will grant reports from havana. by air and by sea, the americans have invaded cuba again. over the past two years, hundreds of thousands of americans have disembarked on the island. some have taken the first cruise ships to havana in decades. direct commercial
ties were reinstated. all here curious to finally see cuba for themselves. but if this is a sign of friendly relationships, people expect things to get frosty again, including those running educational visits to study the island's economy. it seems contrary to what people want to happen in both countries. there is a great deal of affinity between the two countries socially. many people will see that as concerning that things might change. during the obama administration, the mood was optimism. the only word for the trump time in office is uncertainty. many cubans are concerned for their businesses and what new travel rules will mean for the country. there is a lot at stake. opponents for obama's policy of engagement say it does not benefit cubans. but nelson rodrigues disagrees.
he runs a cafe. he says any new policy comes at a sensitive time. in this moment when cuba and the united states, they start to build a relation, let us sayjust a relation, maybe in the future, it could be a good relationship. this is the beginning. it is not fair he is changing the law. despite improved ties, the us embargo remains firmly in place. only a few businesses have a footprint on the island. though more will come, donald trump may ban us firms working with the commercial wing of the us military. how can someone say i want to work in cuba and invest in cuba and do business in cuba and avoid the public sector in cuba which is dominant? if you want to do business in cuba and you want to be serious about doing business in cuba,
you cannot avoid the public sector. from the start, many people thought donald trump's desire to end obama's policy spelt problems for them. the question now is just how far will he go? president putin spent four hours fielding questions and a good many complaints during his annual televised phone—in. mostly it was about domestic matters, but he also dealt with questions over claims of russian meddling in last year's us presidential election. our moscow correspondent, steve rosenberg, was following the event. well, president putin sat here for four hours answering questions. this is the 15th time he has done this marathon of a tv phone—in, designed to portray him as the father of the nation and mr fix-it. he was swamped by questions from russians. in a country like russia where all decisions are made by one man, vladimir putin,
many russians believe he is the only one who can solve their problems. what did they ask him? "why are wages so low in russia?" one woman who had her house burned down and asked him if he could buy her a new house. residents in one town asked him to get rid of a giant rubbish tip on their doorstep. they also talked about us—russian relationships, allowing vladimir putin tojoke he could give james comey political asylum. translation: when the chief of the special service records the conversation with the commander—in—chief and passes through social media and his friend, what is the difference between the fbi director and mr snowden? isn't he a human rights defender at that time? if something comes of this, we are also ready to provide political asylum for him in russia. let him know about that. and afterwards, i asked president putin about
the recent anti—government street protests. on monday, protesters were charging russia without putin and it is time and it is time to leave. when you hear that, do you find them threatening? translation: i look at what is happening in other countries. we know how political processes work there. we know of several cases of political longevity. this is quite normal if it is through democratic procedures and through the law. no one has yet broken the law in russia. this is always a highly choreographed event. what was interesting about this year's phone in were the comments and questions on—screen critical of vladimir putin. one question said everyone in russia things you have sat too long on the throne. that tells me the kremlin has come to the conclusion it is counter—productive to say the whole of russia loves president putin.
i think his performance today will have satisfied his supporters, but i do not think it will have one over his critics. erendira wallenda has broken the world record for the highest suspension over niagara falls. she hung by her teeth from an aerial hoop dangling approximately 100m above the thundering water and went through a series of dramatic stunts. she comes from a family with a bit of a history linked to niagara. her husband nik walked a tightrope across the falls five years ago. 17 people have officially died in the fire at grenfell tower is. sadiq khan has faced angry people at the
scene. that is it for now. thank you for watching. hello there. it looks predominantly dry for the uk for the next three or four days. temperatures will rise as well. but actually through the course of yesterday, we lost temporarily some of the heat. things freshened up behind our cold weather front. we still managed 25 degrees in the sunshine ahead of it. but the fresher atlantic air brought quite a pestering of showers, which continued into the evening but have been easing away overnight, as high pressure's built in. but we're not without weather fronts. there will be very weak weather fronts coming in across parts of northern ireland and western scotland. so it will be a more comfortable end to the night but we will have rather more cloud again to greet us across northern ireland, western scotland. cloud coming and going further south, i think, is really the name of the game, because it will be bright with some spells of sunshine, particularly in southern and western areas. for the west of scotland, and the islands, the western isles in particular, it looks to be fairly damp day, 14s or 15s here. east of the gambians,
where the sun comes out, we could see 19 degrees, 20 across northern ireland with some afternoon sunshine as well. we'll see varying amounts of cloud across northern, central and eastern parts of england. looks like we could see some very decent breaks in the cloud across south wales and the south—west. temperatures in comparison to recent days will be just a degree or two down, 22, 23 the high, but strong sunshine and very high levels of uv unfortunately. as we go through the coming night, we'll see a little bit more misty low cloud around. we'll see that anyway through the day across western scotland. there could be some around southern and western areas, notjust the coast but inland. it's not going to be a particularly cold night either. as we move into saturday, we've got that high—pressure starting to build in again, pushing those weather fronts northwards. they're still going to hang on in the far north—west of scotland through saturday morning but it's essentially a fine day. more sunshine, i think,
compared with the day ahead. although for northern ireland, still some cloud around and scotland, again, the best will be the east for scotland and there we could see temperatures getting into the low 20s. a little warmer for northern ireland again, and certainly so across england and wales as we start to build up the warmth. sunday again we see the warmth building even further. we start to pick up more of a southerly in the south, so hopefully losing the misty low cloud but, again, the north—west of scotland is looking as if it could be persistently cloudy with some rain at times. if you are finding the prospect of temperatures approaching 30 a little stifling, the sea is a little cooler at this time of year so those sea breezes will be refreshing. but the sun will be just a strong, even around the coast, it doesn't matter if it's 15 degrees or 25 degrees. this is bbc news. the headlines: britain's prime minister theresa may has ordered a public inquiry into the fire that engulfed a london tower block, killing 17 people. that figure is expected to rise, as fire chiefs say they don't expect to find any more survivors. local residents have
demanded to know who will be held responsible. the london mayor said they should not have to wait for answers. doctors treating otto warmbier, the american student who was released on tuesday from a north korean prison, say he has suffered extensive loss of brain tissue and remains ina coma. us politicians have been playing their traditional charity baseball game a day after a leading republican and three others were shot during practice for the match. the annual congressional game in washington has been hailed as a rare and welcome moment of unity between both major parties. it's time now for panorama. a prime minister fighting for her political life. i think she's in a lot of trouble. i think she's a dead woman walking. how long she stays on death row? who knows.
ready and waiting to take power, a man who just weeks ago was dismissed as unelectable. it is seismic. it will be recorded as such. labour found its heart and soul again. britain's approach to brexit in the balance. they should remember, they have seen tory leader after tory leader after tory leader try the brexit line and fail. all this the consequence of an election almost everyone believed theresa may would win and win big. my phone was ringing off the hook with people telling me what have we done, this is going down like a bucket of cold sick on the doorstep.