tv BBC News at Ten BBC News June 29, 2017 10:00pm-10:31pm BST
tonight at 10: after months of fighting, the islamic state group is now battling for survival — in both iraq and syria. we report from the front line in mosul, the iraqi city where the "global caliphate" was declared three years ago. this is the final push forward against the so—called islamic state. it's a gruelling advance here in the heat and the dust. this battle has dragged on for more than eight months. and in syria, where us forces are supporting the fight, is is under siege in the city of raqqa. but the question is — what happens when the caliphate falls? because, as we know from afghanistan and iraq, it's always easier to get in, than it is to get out. we'll have the very latest on the fight against is, as military experts say that their forces are trapped. also tonight... the judge who'll lead the public inquiry into the grenfell tower fire visits the site,
as local people express their fears. whether he will get to the bottom of who was responsible for causing the fire in the first place, is a different matter and that's the one that's really concerning residents at present. the ayes have it, the ayes have it. unlock. by a majority 01:14, the commons approves the queen's speech, and two years of the government's legislative plans. one of the most powerful figures in the catholic church, cardinal george pell, will return to australia to deny historic charges of sexual abuse. rupert murdoch's bid to buy all of sky is likely to be referred to the competition authorities. and — we have the findings of a major new study into the effects of pesticides on bees. and coming up in sportsday on bbc news: despite a heavy fall, johanna konta recovers to underline her wimbledon credentials, with victory over the world no.1,
angelique kerber, in the quarterfinals of eastbourne. good evening. after months of relentless fighting, the islamic state group is facing defeat in mosul — its last big powerbase in iraq. government forces say they're finally set to recapture the entire city. it is three years ago to the day that so—called islamic state in mosul declared a "global caliphate". back then, is controlled vast regions of iraq neighbouring syria. now, after prolonged battles and countless military offensives in both countries, is has been pushed back to the cities of raqqa in syria and mosul in iraq. in both places, they are now surrounded and fighting for survival.
we'll be reporting from syria in a moment, but first this report from our correspondent orla guerin, and cameraman nicolas hameon in the old city of mosul. on the front line. gunfire. covering fire, as troops dart into position. wejoined them, pushing forward but keeping low. there's an is sniper ahead. they can see his hiding place, and he can see them. a heavily armed brigade from iraq's emergency response division, held up by the sniper‘s creed. one shot, one kill. but they manage to press on across the rubble of a hospital complex, treacherous terrain, closing in on the last remaining is fighters. this was their main base in mosul. some are in the next building.
but not for long. "please warn unit two that those is guys are on the move", he says. "thank god we don't have any injuries now". a coalition air strike adding to the embers of battle. this is the final push forward against the so—called islamic state. it's a gruelling advance here in the heat and the dust. this battle has dragged on for more than eight months. we've just been told that three is fighters have fled from the building right in front of us. it is clear that most of the militants who remain here will fight till the finish. but so will the troops who are determined to bury the islamic state where it was born, in mosul. iraq has paid a high price for this battle, losing many young brothers in arms. translation: we lost many martyrs
here, all of them young. i miss them, theirfamilies miss them, and the country misses them, but they didn't die for nothing — they died for this country. and today, another fallen soldier carried from the battlefield, after troops reached what's left of the al—nuri mosque, a 12th century treasure. it was here the is leader proclaimed himself "ruler of all muslims". is blew up the mosque last week. the liberation of mosul may be at hand, but it won't free everyone here. at least not from their memories. mohammed abdul karim was held at this makeshift is prison, right behind his own house, just for repairing mobiles. translation: they brought a prisoner here and tied him to a tree. they poured water all over his body.
then they brought two electric cables and shocked him until he fainted. they woke him and did it again. he told us that man was one of two he witnessed being tortured to death. mosul is emerging from the shadows after three long years of tyranny. the caliphate now lies in ruins where it was declared, but the is ideology has long since spread from here, bringing anguish to cities, including london and manchester. in this battle of our times, there are many front lines. orla guerin, bbc news, mosul. the latest on the battle for mosul. as we mentioned, across the border in syria, so—called islamic state is also fighting to survive.
its fighters there are under heavy siege in the city of raqqa, surrounded by a coalition of kurdish and arab fighters, backed by united states forces, who are already preparing for life after the defeat of is. our correspondent gabriel gatehouse, who's north of raqqa, sent this report. if and when raqqa falls, it will be thanks in large part to the american military and their allies, including britain. this is their main logistics hub, an airstrip cut discreetly into a hillside somewhere north of raqqa. from this base, they support their own forces and arm the sdf, the coalition of arabs and kurds who are leading the assault on raqqa. all of this infrastructure has gone up in a really short space of time, and it has coincided with rapid advances by the anti—is coalition. but the question is, what happens when the caliphate falls? as we know from afghanistan
and from iraq, it's always easier to get in, than it is to get out. already, they are looking to a future post caliphate. here to meet local leaders in waiting, the us envoy. the american presence here has been growing quietly. if you look at the record to date, we have now coalition backed operations in iraq and syria which have cleared out 60,000 square kilometres of territory. we have liberated over 4 million people. as the coalition advances into raqqa, families are fleeing. many end up in this camp.
all lived under the harsh rule itself islamic state. not all against their will. one corner of the camp and children of is fighters. this woman left lebanon for raqqa two years ago tojoin her husband, a jihadi. when he was killed, she married a tunisian and so joined the ranks of a relatively privileged group, the wives of foreign fighters. we challenged her on the treatment of sex slaves at the hands of their is captors. she seemed unsympathetic. translation: the men were spending their money on sex lives. they bought them the best make—up, clothes and accessories. american troops in syria number in the hundreds. they won't say exactly how many. their special forces are involved in the fighting on the ground. their planes bombing raqqa from the air. isis is certainly not defeated. when mosul is liberated or iraq is liberated, there is a lot of hard work left to do. i asked the general if he knew the whereabouts of abu bakr al—baghdadi, the self—decla red leader of the caliphate. man, i was hoping you knew! if you know, please tell me and we will kill him forthright.
everyone claims to kill him. at least once a month, we have someone claiming to kill baghdadi. reports from the front line today suggest that us backed forces have raqqa surrounded. but as we learned in mosul, capturing the city itself will likely prove a long, hard fight. the fall of raqqa will effectively mean the end of the caliphate but it won't necessarily mean the end of is oi’ won't necessarily mean the end of is or its ideology. it definitely won't mean the end of the conflict in syria. remember, apart from the americans, turkey is deeply involved here, as of course is russia. for the moment, they are all sort of united ina the moment, they are all sort of united in a common enemy, but when the islamic state goes, what we're left with is this big powers backing opposing sides in an unfinished war. already earlier this month we saw
the united states fighterjet shoot down a syrian aeroplane that belonged to the russian backed regime in damascus. the potential for further confrontation is very real indeed. thank you very much for the latest from thejudge appointed to lead the inquiry into the grenfell tower tragedy has promised to leave no stone unturned, as he tries sir martin moore—bick, a retired appeal courtjudge, has been asked by the prime minister but sir martin has said that he is "doubtful" the process will be as wide—ranging as some residents hope. our home affairs correspondent tom symonds reports. a coucil in turmoil... our reputation is absolutely in the gutter. kensington and chelsea was forced to abandon a meeting this evening, when journalists were allowed in. councillors decided they weren't prepared to speak freely, their lawyers had warned it could even interfere with the coming public inquiry. an inquiry which will be led by a seniorjudge. his background already scrutinised by the government,
today he faced the media. i've never seen anything like that building, which is now completely gutted so that you can see through it in many places. i'm absolutely determined that this inquiry will be open and full and will cover all the ground, so that we reach conclusions that are reliable and can prevent anything like this happening again. the chairman, sir martin moore—bick, was born in wales and went to christ's college cambridge before becoming a barrister. he was appointed to the high court as a judge of 1995, hearing commercial cases, and to the court of appeal, the second—highest court in england and wales, in 2005. people here are desperate for answers. the prime minister has said she would like an interim report within months. today, the judge said that could include details of how the fire started, why it spread so fast, and the response. but, he said, even that could take up to a year. after all, the remit
of the inquiry has still to be decided by the government. the cause of the fire will clearly be a core topic, but that could involve delving deep into the regulations governing tower block safety, and the pressure to examine social and political causes is unlikely to go away. well, i've had a brief conversation with some of the residents... he spent several hours listening to the views of survivors and local people, but already he and they appear to have different views of the inquiry‘s aims. he may certainly get to the bottom of, you know, what caused the fire to spread so quickly. whether he will get to the bottom of who is responsible for causing the fire in the first place, is a different matter, and that's the one that's really concerning residents at present. we want a wider inquiry, the one that would include the issues that were raised before. so basically, the attitude towards people. there's a feeling around the tower that he should examine
whether warnings about fire safety were ignored because the community had no voice. whether my inquiry is the right way in which to achieve that, i'm more doubtful, and i'll give that some thought and in due course make a recommendation. but there may be other ways in which that desire for an investigation can be satisfied, otherwise than through the work that i'm going to do. so you may not be able to give them the very wide inquiry they appear to be looking for? maybe not. local people will be consulted about the inquiry‘s remit, but the chairman will have to keep their support. inquiries like this can go wrong — the child abuse inquiry lost three chairs. his newjob is not an easy one. tom symonds, bbc news, west london. women from northern ireland will no longer have to pay for abortions provided by the nhs in england. the concession was made by ministers to avoid a conservative rebellion in votes on the queen's speech. the government's legislative programme for the coming two years
was eventually passed by a majority 01:14 votes in the house of commons. the majority was gained with the support of the democratic unionists, as our political editor laura kuenssberg reports. what she wants you to see. the prime minister, on the red carpets of europe. everybody‘s in a good mood. everyone in a good mood, her german colleague says. but at home, hard work. to avoid being humbled by the house of commons, with mps threatening defeat... the chancellor of the exchequer. ministers had to make a last—minute promise that women from northern ireland who go to england for abortions won't have to pay. the government... intends to intervene to fund abortions in england for women arriving here from northern ireland. it is welcome that the government is now saying they will correct this injustice. however, he will know, as everybody know, the devil will be in the detail. and ministers had to do that billion
pound deal with the dup to get their numbers, to fury, even on their own side. i can barely put into words my anger at the deal my party has done with the dup. we didn't need to do it. but... what is grubby about money being put into the infrastructure of northern ireland to promotejobs? money going into the health service of northern ireland? money going into education? what's grubby about that? the prime minister returned this afternoon to help pass the vote to improve her government's programme, stripped of its most controversial measures. in the back... are you hanging on, prime minister? and then out at the front to face the opposition‘s main complaint. it cannot ensure that when people go to work, they have enough to live on. it can't maintain our public services. that's a government that doesn't deserve to remain in office. i do not see, mr speaker, how the nations of the uk can cope
with the drastic economic hit that will come as a result of brexit. is there a determination to stand up to the most powerful, as she promised at downing street? to coin a phrase, the answer is no, no, no. nice and smiley, keep going! but labour itself faced embarrassment. nearly 50 of this number defied the leadership, voting for a brexit amendment that failed, with three shadow ministers fired over the vote. yet it was the government that was repeatedly on the back foot. ..taking the hard decisions that will set britain on course to seize the prizes and achieve a brighter global future. the case that, in the end, had its way. the ayes have it, the ayes have it. but tonight and for some time, wins that will be cobbled together. no sign of cruising to any victories. you could almost hear the sighs of relief from number ten. had it been defeated,
this fragile administration could well have collapsed. yet with no overall majority and less authority, ministers know that even as they win tonight, it is parliament and not the prime minister that can really show its power in the months ahead. laura kuenssberg, bbc news, parliament. some campaign groups in northern ireland have welcomed the decision to offer free access to abortions in england. among them are many women who've travelled to other parts of the uk in the past, where they've had to pay for terminations. our ireland correspondent chris page has more on today's reaction. we said pro—choice, they say no choice! abortion may be an intensely personal issue, but in northern ireland, it's also highly controversial. strong campaign groups push for the law to be changed, and others passionately defend the status quo. every week, women go across the irish sea to have their pregnancies terminated.
four years ago, the bbc filmed sarah as she went to england to have an abortion. her baby wasn't expected to survive birth because of a genetic condition. she says today's decision will make a difference to people in her position. it's a good thing that we're now going to get it in hospitals across the water instead of a clinic. but at the same time, if it's ok for us to go over there and have it on the nhs, it should be ok for us to have it here with medicals in our own hospitals. i was lucky to have family and friends that were able to support me to go away. not everybody has that option. last year, doctors carried out 16 abortions in northern ireland for the permitted medical reasons. but 724 women travelled to have a termination in england. the government believes the new arrangement will cost around £1 million a year. but at stormont, there is no political consensus about whether new legislation is needed. so some organisations have tried
to bring change through the courts. in 2015, a judge ruled that abortion law here breached the european convention on human rights. butjust today, the ruling was overturned after an appeal. pro—life campaigners have welcomed that decision, but criticised the one made by the government. absolutely disappointed, totally outraged. in some way, we would hope we can overturn this or change this down the line. we won't stop until every unborn child in northern ireland is protected. neither side in this debate expected the news from westminster today. it adds a new dimension to an emotive ethical argument in this part of the uk. chris page, bbc news, belfast. staying with northern ireland, yet another deadline has passed to set up a new power—sharing executive, and yet another extension has been agreed. downing street says talks between sinn fein and the democratic unionists will continue until monday.
if there's no agreement by then, there could be a return to direct rule from westminster. our ireland correspondent chris buckler is at stormont. how do you see the prospects of some kind of agreement by monday?m how do you see the prospects of some kind of agreement by monday? it is worth mentioning that time and time again, westminster had made clear that four o'clock this afternoon was the final deadline for a deal. this evening, stormont still has no government and the dup and sinn fein remained deeply divided on a range of issues, particularly sinn fein‘s demand for legislation that would give official status to the irish language. despite warning of serious consequences, this evening the northern ireland's secretary james brokenshire has given the parties the weekend to try to find a compromise. but on monday, he will have to take action because a lack
of government here is starting to have consequences. decisions are not being taken. there are implications for budget and public spending. however, the reality is that he has only a few options. technically, he should call for elections or have westminster step in to take over the running of northern ireland for a time. but he may well simply try to extend the time for talks. the dup and sinn fein both said there are still the possibility of a deal, although they both say that is on the basis that the other party gives up the basis that the other party gives up ground. they have been saying similar things since january, when power—sharing first collapsed. similar things since january, when power-sharing first collapsed. chris buckler, our ireland correspondent. one of the most powerful figures in the roman catholic church, cardinal george pell, has said he will defend himself against charges of sexual assault. the former archbishop of sydney and melbourne said that he'd suffered a relentless character assassination and was looking forward to having his day in court in his native australia. cardinal pell is the vatican treasurer and one of the pope's closest advisers. our religious affairs correspondent martin bashir is in rome tonight. yes, today was meant to be dominated
bya yes, today was meant to be dominated by a solemn ceremony as the pope presided at the feast of saint peter and take that paul, whose ministry and take that paul, whose ministry and martyrdom helped establish the church —— saint peter and st paul. but as the cardinals gathered in saint peter's square behind me, one senior official was surprisingly absent. a public holiday for the people and for pope francis, an opportunity to celebrate mass with several new cardinals. but one of his most trusted officials, effectively the head of the vatican's vast property portfolio and finances, was not administering the sacraments, but facing the press after becoming the highest ranking vatican official to be charged with child sexual abuse. the alleged offences relate to an ongoing inquiry back in cardinal pell‘s native australia into instances of historical child sexual abuse. i'm innocent of these charges.
they are false. the whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me. cardinal pell had been archbishop of melbourne during the 1990s, where hundreds of individuals claimed to have been abused by priests. he was interviewed by the inquiry last year via video link. several survivors travelled from melbourne to witness his testimony. then, in the early hours of this morning, came this. cardinal pell is facing multiple charges in respect of historic sexual offences, and there are multiple complainants relating to those charges. pope francis has prioritised the issue of child sexual abuse, setting up a commission for the protection of children. but one member who resigned earlier this year says the institution itself is reluctant to change. there's this feeling that "why should we change? there's no need to change. this will all pass". that attitude of
complacency has to go. in his homily today, pope francis asked his hearers if they were people who just talk about their faith, but do not display the marks of godliness in their daily lives — a question that cardinal pell will have to answer in court next month. martin bashir, bbc news, rome. it's 20 years since hong kong ceased to be a british territory and was transferred to chinese sovereignty. to mark the anniversary, president xi of china has visited the territory amid high levels of security, given the prospect of protests by democracy campaigners. our china editor carrie gracie has been meeting some of those young people born in the year of the handover. hong kong's patriots greet their president and first lady. flags, but no umbrellas allowed, because umbrellas are the symbol of protest here.
he said he'd come to support hong kong. protesters chant. that's not how democracy activists see it, occupying a monument that china presented to hong kong for the handover. one student insisted on herfreedom to protest as she was arrested. hours earlier, she had illustrated her feelings about the chinese communist state. a hong kong flag in mourning. a veteran protester at 20. but she's no longer optimistic about what protest can achieve. another hong konger, born in the year of the handover.
this coffee shop barista and freestyle footballer busks to make ends meet. in one of the world's most unaffordable cities, he resents the people from mainland china who he says are pricing him out. to find a 20—year—old who's celebrating this week, it's best to look for a mainlander. sunny tan is a student here, but she grew up in china and from an early age was taught to be proud of her country. free liu xiaobo!
some celebrate, and others mourn. this vigil, calling for the release of a political dissident, would be impossible anywhere else in china. only hong kong has the freedom to protest, which is what makes it so special, but what also makes it a thorn in china's side. carrie gracie, bbc news, hong kong. the culture secretary karen bradley says she intends to refer rupert murdoch's bid to take full control of sky television to the competition authorities because of concerns about his "increased influence" over the british media. mr murdoch's company, 21st century fox, wants to acquire the 61% of sky it doesn't already own. the company says it's disappointed by the announcement, as our media editor amol rajan reports. rupert murdoch pioneered
satellite tv in britain. after transforming our newspaper market, his move into pay—tv nearly 30 years ago with sky made him the country's first multimedia mogul. thank you very much, mr styles. six years ago, he withdrew his bid for full control of the broadcaster because of the phone hacking scandal, which led to the closure of the news of the world. on the question of whether the merger... today in parliament, it was concerns about his power and influence that led to his latest bid being referred to the competition watchdog. ofcom's report is unambiguous. it concludes, "the transaction raises public interest concerns as a result of the risk of increased influence by members of the murdoch family trust over the uk news agenda and the political process with its unique presence on radio, television, in print and online." here is why the murdochs are so desperate for this merger to be approved. digital giants like amazon and netflix are pushing another revolution in viewing habits by investing billions in programmes.
so the murdochs want full access to sky customers in crucial markets like germany and italy. with these 22 million subscribers across europe, james murdoch, the son of rupert and chairman of sky, thinks that the family empire can continue to grow. the murdoch family obviously have traditionally been very powerful in newspapers, but of course what has happened in the last few years is that newspapers have become steadily less and less influential. we are now moving into a world where newspaper circulations are falling steadily and more and more people are going to get their news from places like google and the social media companies and they are the new media giants. as i have said to a number of other witnesses... but the murdochs are nothing if not divisive. alleged victims of their tabloid papers argue that the second stage of the levenson enquiry, which promised to scrutinise james murdoch's corporate leadership, but was dropped