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tv   BBC News  BBC News  August 24, 2017 4:00am-4:31am BST

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welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: fighting the so—called islamic state in syria — we have an exclusive report as president assad's forces take us to the frontline. i am hellbent on victory. we are not scared of death. i am a commander on the ground and i've been wounded three times. on terror alert in rotterdam — a rock show is cancelled at the last minute after a tip off from police in spain. australia's deputy prime minister barnaby joyce and other government figures battle in court to save their seats in parliament. there's growing concern that an online auction of rhino horns in south africa will trigger an increase in poaching. in syria, the caliphate declared
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by the extremist group that calls itself islamic state is crumbling. on the battlefield, it is losing ground. but the battle is being waged one town at a time. in an exclusive report, our chief international correspondent, lyse doucet, is on the front line of that bitter struggle. she's been travelling with president assad's forces, backed by russia and iran, as they re—take more territory, ruled for years by is. this is the man leading the syrian army against islamic state in eastern syria. general mohammed khaddour wants to take us to the front line to see their latest successes, vowing, with a soldier's swagger, to take back all of syria. tens of thousands of men under his command. translation: i am hellbent on victory. we are not scared of death. i'm a commander on the ground
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and i've been wounded three times. this is my arm. just look at it. every inch the ruthless commander. charismatic, controversial. he's on the eu sanctions list, accused of suppressing peaceful protests in 2011. the general laughs it off, insisting he's fighting terrorism. this is now the army's forward firing position. days ago this area was under is control. now their fighters are just over the horizon. these soldiers tell us this latest operation destroyed the closest positions of is just on that ridge, so that's going to allow the syrian army, and its russian and iranian armies, to move forward by a number of miles. they're heading towards the next province of deir ez—zor, all of it is in is hands, except for one small enclave, so that's the next big target
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for the syrian army. we're heading back to the desert town of sukhnah, passing on the way a russian convoy. moscow's military right and iran—backed militias are crucial here. this is sukhnah, or was. when is arrived here three years ago almost everyone fled. even in ruin, it's a major prize. sukhnah sits on a strategic crossroads. gas fields all around here. the soldiers take us in to what they say was used
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as a makeshift base. a box of munitions lie next to a jumble of women's clothing. the soldiers tell us is kept women here. and in many houses, they say they found cords like this hanging from hooks used, they say, for torture. trademarks of is‘s savage rule, but there's no one here now to confirm exactly what happened in this house. just outside this old wreck pulls up. the spoils of war such as they are kicked back into life. is had meant this to be a car bomb. "we are proud to get it back," the solider says. "whatever is took, we'll take it back. " lyse doucet, bbc news, sukhnah.
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on a tip off from spanish police, dutch authorities have ordered the last minute cancellation of a rock concert in the south—western city of rotterdam. the city's mayor said they'd been warned a terror attack was being planned on a gig by an american band. it's believed the incident was not connected to last week's attacks in and around barcelona. this from the bbc‘s tim allman. once again, armed police on the streets of a european city. a local music venue called off, people being told to go home. a concert that was cancelled after a warning of a potential terror attack. translation: the information we received from spanish police suggested there was an attack planned on a concert by an american band. the information was so serious that the police consulted with the owners. two options were considered.
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let the event go ahead with increased security or possibly cancelling it. they thought it was justified to cancel the concert. the band who were supposed to perform are called the allah—las. they come from california and have had some controversy over their name and use of the arabic name for god. they were escorted away by police while concert—goers were turned away. translation: we're from around here so it's not a big problem. it's a bummer for those who came from afar. they basically came here for nothing. i'm curious to hear the reason for the cancellation. i'd like to know exactly what's going on. what information this decision was based on. not far away, a van was found with spanish number plates containing gas canisters. it's not clear if this was linked to the cancellation of the concert but the van is being examined and the driver, also believed to be spanish, is being questioned by police. this may have been a tragedy
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averted, this may have all been a false alarm, but it's now being reported this incident is not linked to last week's terror attacks in and around barcelona. tim allman, bbc news. australia's top court has begun examining a constitutional crisis threatening to topple the country's conservative government. deputy prime minister barnabyjoyce is among at least five senior government figures under threat from an obscure law that bars dual citizens from sitting in parliament. a short time ago i spoke with bbc correspondent hywel griffiths from sydney about the potential implications of this rule. yeah, for those not familiar with section 44 of the australian constitution, it said that anyone with citizenship or the right to citizenship abroad should not stand for public office in australia. australia is an immigration nation, roughly half those people who are australians
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have some kind of dual citizenship or may inherit it from their parents. this was plain sailing until about the last six weeks. there are about seven politicians in australia so far who have been outed or come forward as dual nationals who may be in breach of the law. the issue must be decided on by the court. the key case in all of this is the deputy prime minister, barnabyjoyce. a few days ago, he admitted he was a dual national of new zealand. why is it key that he is a dual national? if he is ruled to be ineligible to hold public office, the entire parliament could fall. he is the one seat in the parliament that gives them a majority. the government want it sorted out as soon as possible. but today, thejudge said she doesn't think she can have a full hearing until october. this cloud will remain over the australian government for several weeks. what is the suggestion about what went on? i have dual citizenship
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with new zealand and it would be difficult for me to forget that. is it believed that they knew about it and hoped to avoid it coming to light? all of those who have had the finger pointed at them say they were oblivious to the fact that they held dual citizenship, barnabyjoyce said he was shellshocked that he had it because his father left new zealand “119117, and he was a dual citizen by descent. amother mp said he had no idea that his mother had applied for him to be an italian citizen without his knowledge. a senator with the party one nation said he tried to contact the home office in the uk before he was elected, but he did not hear back from them until after the election had ta ked place.
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thejudge will hear about whether they try to abide by the spirit of the law regarding whether they knew about their citizenship. it has blown australian politics into a spin. there are whisperings about many other politicians who may own dual citizenship whether it is known to them or not. it has such major consequences, it won't end in the high court? it will sit again at the high court in october, once that has been decided, we will know whether barnaby joyce will be removed. if he loses his seat, the current government will no longer have a majority. at least 30 people have been killed in an airstrike on the outskirts of yemen's capital, sanaa.
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houthi rebels — who control the capital — say the attack was carried out by the coalition led by saudi arabia. the un refugee agency has accused all sides in yemen's proxy war of maiming and killing children. the country is also in the grip of a cholera epidemic and widespread famine. here's our middle east editor, jeremy bowen. the attack on the hotel left another room in a devastated country and dozens more dead. it will also be seized on by those who believe the saudi—led coalition selects its targets without regard for civilian lives. safeguarding noncombata nts is the legal obligation of any belligerent in a war. the war has created what is now the world's worst humanitarian crisis. disease has swept through yemen. more than 500,000 have contracted cholera. the un estimates 80% of the population needs humanitarian assistance. more than 1 million under—5s are acutely malnourished. the current conflict in yemen started in march 2015 when a coalition, led by saudi arabia, intervened in a civil war.
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the declared aim was to restore the internationally recognised government. it had been thrown out of sanaa, the capital, by an alliance of houthis, a powerful family from the north, and forces loyal to ali abdullah saleh, the former president. he once said that governing yemen was like dancing on the head of snakes but the saudi move was also a message to iran, its rival across the gulf, to keep out of its backyard. the iranians have given some help to the houthis, though most likely less than the saudis claimed. all sides in the war have contributed to the disaster in yemen. war crimes, the un has said, have happened with alarming frequency. but yemen's food crisis, which is starving millions, has been made much worse by the blockade imposed by the saudi—led coalition. earlier this year, cranes in the port of hodeidah were destroyed by saudi—led airstrikes, paralysing docks which the un had been using to import food aid. this week in the capital, sanaa, tension has been rising.
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the ruling alliance between the houthis and the former president saleh is fracturing. both sides are pairing for big rallies tomorrow. a new intensification of the war will only deepen yemen's man—made disaster. jeremy bowen, bbc news. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: lottery fever grips america with the second highest jackpot ever of $700 million. he's the first african—american to win the presidential nomination of a major party, and he accepts
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exactly 45 years ago to the day that martin luther king declared, "i have a dream." as darkness falls tonight, an unfamiliar light will appear in the south—eastern sky. an orange, glowing disc that is brighter than anything save the moon — our neighbouring planet mars. there is no doubt that this election is an important milestone in the birth of east timor as the world's newest nation. it will take months, and billions of dollars, to repair what katrina achieved injust hours. three weeks is the longest the great clock has been off duty in 117 years, so it was with great satisfaction that clockmaker john vernon swung the pendulum to set the clock going again. good to have you
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with us on bbc news. the latest headlines: on the frontline in syria. president assad's forces re—take more territory from the so—called islamic state. on terror alert in rotterdam — a rock show is cancelled at the last minute after a tip off from police in spain. a maximum category ten storm has made landfall on the southern coast of china's guangdong province. typhoon hato has brought hurricane force winds and downpours. earlier, hato hit hong kong and neighbouring macau. it's been classed as the worst typhoon in the region for five years. earlier we heard from reuters journalist samantha vadas in hong kong. look, a huge clean—up operation is underway, right across the city. as you can probably see, authorities have cordoned off that area. there is a huge tree which has come down, and that is just evidence that the danger is still very much present, even though that typhoon has made its way up to china. now, authorities were warning
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yesterday that it was just too dangerous to come outside. now, many people are returning to work this morning after having to stay at home yesterday, as it was just too dangerous. and we believe the economic loss from yesterday was something like £400—800 million, so extremely significant, so obviously the damage bill will be so much more. now, sadly, we are hearing reports that a number of people have been killed as a result of this storm. we are hearing mixed reports as to the total number, but we do believe that around ten people were killed yesterday. now, we believe one of those people was an 83—year—old man, who sadly fell into the water. now, that is absolutely devastating. as you can see, those huge waves being churned up in our iconic victoria harbour yesterday, as well as the huge waves crashing onto some of the city's beaches. so devastating results from that huge storm. samantha, we were saying it is the first time in years that the threat level has been so high. were you there for the worst of it? it can be pretty terrifying, i know. yes, look, i work in the heart
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of the financial centre here in hong kong, and it was quite eerie. the centre was put into complete darkness. obviously nobody came to work yesterday. and, you know, iwas running around at peak hour, when usually people are piling into work, but the streets were left absolutely deserted, and you can see why. i mean, the danger was just extremely high. many people were forced to evacuate their homes, in one of, as you say, the worst storms they have seen in years. south africa is holding its first online auction of rhino horns, despite strong opposition from some conservationists, who fear it will further encourage poaching. hundreds of horns, which can fetch tens of thousands of dollars a kilo, are up for sale — though they cannot be exported because of a long—standing global ban on the international trade. nomsa maseko reports from johannesburg. south africa's environmental affairs department was ordered by the court to allow 264 rhino horns to be auctioned off, starting today. this comes after a high court ruling set aside a moratorium on the domestic trade of rhino horn.
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in 2009, before south africa hosted the football world cup, the government issued a temporary moratorium on the domestic trade in rhino horn, due to international pressure by conservationists. they are also walking up towards the feeding ground... in 2015, a rhino farmer approached the court to set aside the moratorium, arguing that it had been in place for too long. and the court ruled in his favour, to once again allow domestic trade in rhino horn. i firmly believe that this is the way to save rhinos from extinction. to breed them better, to protect them better. one of the ways to protect them better is not to make the horn completely unavailable to everybody. before 2009, when you could buy horn legally in this country, there was virtually no poaching.
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after 2009, it has escalated out of control. the poaching is out of control in this country. the government is still in the process of finalising policies for the domestic trade in rhino horn. this means they could potentially issue export permits under the personal effects provision. the auction has been organised by the biggest rhino owner in south africa, and his website says the auction will take place over three days. potential buyers have to pay a refundable deposit, after which they still need to apply for a government permit. mr hume says he hopes to target the 400,000 south african chinese population. but conservationists are against this auction. according to the convention, there is no legal international trade in rhino horn
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for commercial purposes. that means that this auction can only be done within the borders of south africa, this trade. however, as far as we are aware, there is very little demand for rhino horn in south africa. when you look at the webpage, it is also published in chinese and vietnamese, and it does appear as if it has been angled for some kind of exporting trade. since the beginning of this year, more than 500 rhinos have been poached in the country, and all eyes will be on this auction, to see what effect it will have on rhino conservation. nomsa maseko, bbc news. propaganda is a tool for kim jong—un to keep power in north korea. information is highly controlled. propaganda is a common sight. getting them out of the country is fraught with difficulty. the bbc met
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one south korean who has one of the biggest collections in the world. i collect north korean art. my name is choi sangkyun. i have been in pyongyang about 20 times. i've been collecting about 300 propaganda art. well, the message is peace is possible only by fighting. dove stands for peace, i think. the children are very happy with the rifle, you know, kalashnikov gun. i think, first of all, the posters like this, these are the real remnant or real history of what's going on now, today, and in recent times, in north korea. well, in pyongyang, there are many creative artist groups, and they own their own shop.
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they belong to the people's army. they are more focused on propaganda art. the fine art painting is part of the — i mean, a very strong tool to achieve socialistic revolution, you know. on the way to the paradise named communism, the painting is a powerful tool for them. so it does work. that guy needs a hobby. in just a few hours time america could have its newest instant multi—millionaire, or perhaps many multi—millionaires, with the second largest powerball jackpot in us history set to be drawn. the bbc‘s david willis gave me the latest from washington. they have been drawing this twice a week sincejune. that is 21 rollovers, making the totaljackpot prize now in excess of $700 million. that is the second—highest, if it gets won, in american history. i bought mine earlier on,
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at a convenience store. there was a row of people out the door, i can tell you. and they call people like me, i can tell you, jackpot chasers. they are the sort of people who don't normally buy a powerball ticket, but are inspired to do so when they see figures like $700 million, and go out and join the frenzy. so there's a lot resting on this, mike. and, if you hear that over the next few days i have cleared my desk, you'll know it has worked out pretty well. if you don't pop pop up for the next bulletin, we will draw our own conclusions. there is some marketing, isn't there? some suggestion the odds have been manipulated to rack up the size of that jackpot. you're right, and over the course of the last couple of years, actually, here in the us, they have made the lottery slightly harder to win. now, what that has done is it's pushed up the total prizemoney, and the effect of that has been, well, quite successful.
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more people have taken part in it. but i have to say that the odds have also decreased quite significantly. there is apparently a one in 292 million chance of this little ticket winning me that $700 million dollar jackpot. now, that's been likened by one commentator to the same odds of being struck by lightening while at the same time being eaten by a shark, so maybe i shouldn't put too much emphasis on this one. and the draw has been held and the numbers are in. we haven't heard from david, so who knows? we will let you know. and here are two pampered cats. they've just inherited $300,000 after their wealthy owner died in new york.
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the bequest formed part of a $3 million estate left by ellen frey—wouter, which included her home in the bronx. two carers who used to look after the elderly widow are now caring for the cats, and all grooming and pampering will be paid for out of their trust fund. you can catch that and all of the news on the bbc news website. thanks for watching. hello there. as we head towards the bank holiday weekend, there is some much quieter weather on the way, which is just as well, after all the heavy rain and flooding that we had in northern ireland, and here in north yorkshire, too. that rain, on the last of the muggy air that swept across the uk. behind it, fresher conditions followed, and we saw the cloud breaking, and some sunshine. and over the next few days there'll be some more sunshine. there'll be a few showers around, more particularly towards the north—west of the uk.
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now, the wet weather came on that weather front there. that has long gone out into the north sea. still dawdling, perhaps, towards the northern isles for a while. lower pressure towards the north—west, this is where we'll see most of the showers. higher pressures towards the south. not a big high pressure, but higher pressure. hence the drier weather here. a sunny start across much of the midlands, east anglia and the south—east of england, and some sunshine further west, as well, across the south—west of england and wales. just the chance of a little bit more cloud, and maybe one or two light showers. the odd shower coming into the north—west of england, as well. much of north—east england, and indeed eastern scotland, starting dry and sunny. still some rain up towards shetland, and a few showers arriving towards the highlands. most of northern ireland starting the day dry. but i think we will see some showers, or even longer spells of rain, pushing in closer to that area of low pressure in the north—west, and turning wetter again in western fringes of scotland. a few sharp showers for the north—east of scotland, and possibly towards the north—east of england. most of england and wales in the afternoon, though, will be fine and dry, with some sunshine.
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pleasant enough, with light winds for the most part, and temperatures near normal for this time of the year. it'll turn chilly quickly, though, in the evening, especially across much of england and wales, where we'll have clearer skies. up towards the north—west, a bit more of a breeze, perhaps, and still the chance of more cloud and some rain, but temperatures will be a bit lower than they have been recently. into friday, lots of sunshine, probably more sunshine on friday for southern england, midlands, east anglia and lincolnshire. bit more cloud bubbling up further north, a few showers again for scotland. some of these could be rather heavy, and perhaps some longer spells of rain arriving into northern ireland, too. so temperatures here a little bit lower, but warming up towards the south—east, with more sunshine, probably getting into the mid—20s. towards the north—west, though, we've got that area of low pressure as we head into the weekend, threatening to bring some more showery rain here. this area of low pressure in biscay could bring the risk of a shower across southern and eastern england, particularly saturday night. but on the whole, it looks like it's going to be dry again across much of england and wales. some sunshine, and feeling pleasantly warm in the sunshine, with light winds, too.
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further north, some showers, most of the showers again for scotland, and also across northern ireland. goodbye. this is bbc news. the headlines: we've been reporting exclusively from the frontline of president assad's forces in syria, where the caliphate declared by the extremist group that calls itself islamic state is crumbling. assad forces, backed by russia and iran, are slowly re—taking more territory that's been ruled for years by is. dutch authorities have ordered the last minute cancellation of a rock show in rotterdam. they were acting on a tip—off from anti—terror police in spain. the city's mayor said they'd been warned an attack was planned on a gig by the american band the allah—las. australia's deputy prime minister barnabyjoyce is among at least five senior government figures fighting a legal battle that's threatening to topple the conservative government. australia's top court has begun examining an obscure law that bars dual citizens from sitting in parliament.
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now on bbc news, it's time for hardtalk.
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