welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name's mike embley. our top stories: hurricane irma causes chaos in the caribbean. now, puerto rico braces itself for one of the atlantic's worst ever storms. the full force of hurricane irma is still hours away and you can still feel its effects. myanmar rejects accusations its armed forces are targeting rohingya muslims, as thousands continue to flee the violence. you can see what a dangerous voyage it has been for them. the boat is listing dangerously on its side. did russia use facebook to interfere with last year's us presidential election? new evidence emerges. and bringing education to the streets, the schools in pakistan changing lives amidst the traffic of karachi. it's one of the most powerful atlantic storms on record.
hurricane irma, a category five storm, is bringing with it gusts up to 320 kilometres an hour, that's 200 miles an hour. the hurricane has already battered several of the leeward islands. the prime minister of antigua and barbuda says 90% of buildings on barbuda have been demolished, barbuda now is literally rubble, he said. the centre of irma smashed into the island, which was home to about 1,600 people. six people are reported dead on saint martin and the neighbouring french territory of st barts. the eye of the hurricane has passed over the british virgin islands, president trump has declared a state of emergency on the us virgin islands and puerto rico as the storm approaches. our correspondent, laura bicker, reports from the capital, san juan. this is what it sounds like to be at the heart of one of the strongest storms recorded in the atlantic. the winds, like a jet engine,
roared through the eastern caribbean. the category 5 hurricane ripped roofs off homes and devastated parts of the french territories of st barts and st martin. two people have lost their lives. translation: i want, firstly, to say a few words to express our profound compassion and solidarity to our fellow citizens who today were affected by hurricane irma on st martin and in st barts. these pilots flew into the eye of the storm, a unique view of the sheer scale of this hurricane and, at its core, are those catastrophic 185 mile an hour winds, and that is what they fear on the island of puerto rico. the aim is to try to save as much as possible. neighbours are handing out wood boarding and supplies. this shop owner describes them as "angels". we're a strong island. you know, we've been through this before, so... you know, it's a lot of emotions going on, you know. the governor has been inspecting one
of the shelters set up for the thousands who are expected to evacuate low—lying areas. we are hopeful that it'll skid off somewhere north—east of puerto rico, but we're prepared for the worst as well. we can't leave anything to chance, and our priority right now is to make sure that the people of puerto rico are safe. these families hope they will be safe here. the full force of hurricane irma is still several hours away and already you can see and feel its effect. the preparations have been made over the last few days and the governor says that could be the difference between lives lost and lives saved. in florida they're taking no chances, evacuations are already under way. the storm could hit the sunshine state this weekend. president trump has declared a state of emergency, freeing up relief funding for florida and puerto rico. we have a lot to discuss, including the fact that there's a new and, seems to be, record—breaking hurricane heading ight toward florida
and puerto rico, and other places. we'll see what happens. we'll know in a very short period of time, but it looks like it could be something that will be not good. believe me, not good. hurricane irma has proved to be a terrifying, unstoppable force. all those in her path can do is hunker down and hope. laura bicker, bbc news, puerto rico. hot on the heels of irma, two more tropical storms have been upgraded to hurricanes, jose is currently in the atlantic and believed to be heading towards the caribbean and katia is on its way to mexico. we'll keep you updated on both of those. but staying with hurricane irma, nick miller from the bbc weather centre has the latest on its current path, and where it's heading. first, hurricane harvey's
record—breaking rain, then hurricane irma's winds. this is breathtaking. the eye of hurricane irma going over barbuba. catastrophic wins, calm, then catastrophic winds again. people live through this. it is going through the virgin islands, then puerto rico, tomorrow, the dominican republic, then further on. eventually it will hit florida, but where in florida is still up the question. it is still forecast to be a major hurricane. that is why major operations are under way in florida at the if it does hit florida, it will be the first time in the same season will be the first time in the same season two of these category for hurricanes have hit the usa. ——
four. the prime minister of barbuba says that a toddler has died and 90% of the country has become uninhabitable. the government in myanmar has rejected accusations that the armed forces are conducting a campaign of indiscriminate violence against rohingya muslims. so far, more than 140 thousand rohingyas have fled into neighbouring bangladesh. bangladesh has acussed mee—anmar of laying landmines along their border to stop people returning to their villages, an allegation denied by officials in mee—anmar. the united nations says it expects the number of rohingya refugees seeking safety in bangladesh to more than double. 0ur correspondent, sanjoy majumder, sent this report from the border. these are myanmar‘s boat people dazed, confused after an exhausting
trip over the choppy bay of bengal. stepping on shore with their possessions, whatever they could grab in a hasty escape. this boat carrying rohingya refugees has just arrived on the south—eastern coast of bangladesh. you can see what a dangerous voyage it has been for them, the boat is lifting dangerously on its side. but it's the only way they could have made their way here. they've been frightened, running for their lives. 0n the beach they collapse in a heap, many of them severely dehydrated and sea sick after an eight—hour voyage. some can scarcely believe they're alive, others let their loved ones know they made it. a brother and sister united after days, separated after their village was attacked, unsure if they would ever seen each again. but some, like dilbar, continue to relive the horror of a village being attacked? but some, like dilbar, continue to relive the horror of a village being attacked? translation: it has taken us
20 days to come here. 0ur village was attacked by the army and buddhist mobs. they burned our house and my aunt was killed. her grandson was shot, his injured arm now encased in homemade splint. translation: we hit in the mountains for 12 days from where we could hear the sound of bombing, of rockets being fired. people were being slaughtered by the army and buddhist mobs. this teenager shows us what he says are gunshot wounds. when my village was attacked i tried to run, he says. the soldiers fired indiscriminately. many people died. they are sometimes described as the world's most persecuted minority, driven from their homes, the rohingyas now have to find a way to rebuild their lives. sanjoy majumder, bbc news, bangladesh. myanmar‘s leader, and nobel laureate aung san su kyi has consistently remained silent on the humanitarian crisis affecting the rohingya people.
we'll look at why she's refused to address the issue despite international condemnation. that's a little later in the programme. let's ta ke let's take a look at some of the other stories making the news. un human rights investigators say the syrian air force did carry out a chemical weapons attack on a rebel held town in april. at least 83 people died when a bomb filled with the nerve agent, sarin, was dropped on khan sheikhoun in idlib, a report says. the syrian regime insists the incident was faked and denies using chemical weapons. excited crowds have greeted pope francis on the first papal visit to columbia in three decades. in places, his car was forced to a halt as the throngs surged forward, cheering and shouting his name. pope francis has said his visit is a plea for lasting peace following last year's accord between the government and fa rc rebels. catalonia's parliament has called for a referendum on independence from spain on october 1st. the government in madrid is opposed to the measure, which it deems illegal. it's asked the spanish constitutional court to nullify the catalan assembly‘s vote to hold the referendum. facebook says it has discovered that
a russian—funded campaign promoted divisive messages on the website during last year's american presidential election campaign. it says adverts were posted that directed users towards nearly 500 bogus accounts spreading false information. the company said it was co—operating with a us investigation into the affair. joining us from san francisco is our silicon valley reporter, dave lee. ina way, in a way, you are tempted to say we all suspected this already. yeah. that is the view of many people, especially after the us election. we have seen fake news, the famous phrase, flying around facebook. what we have discovered now after facebook‘s own investigation is a p pa re ntly facebook‘s own investigation is apparently there was a co—ordinated
effort by a group known as the internet research agency based in petersburg in russia, giving pro—kremlin information. we have not independently confirmed this. but this group was undertaking co—ordinated attempt to spread misinformation on facebook by buying advertisement, $100,000 worth of advertisement, $100,000 worth of advertisement, and pushing information to many users over a two—year period ending in may of this year. what is to be done about it? facebook denies responsibility for what is on facebook and responsibility for curating material. in a perfect world for facebook, they would like to think their algorithm is clear enough to spot these advertisements and purchases before it goes live. 0ne
of the tactics they used to discover this particular scheme was they were looking at accounts buying advertisements the display to us users, but the users buying the advertisements were using the russian language version of facebook. that was a clue they should look at it. that is manual work and it is expensive. but i am sure mark zuckerberg, as well as wanting to deal with misinformation, wa nted wanting to deal with misinformation, wanted to put his best engineers to work to figure out how to automate that checking process. thank you very much for that, dave. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: the not—so—great escape. find out what happened after this alleged shoplfiter managed to break free from her handcuffs. freedom itself was attacked this morning, and freedom will be defended.
the united states will hunt down and punish those responsible. bishop tutu now becomes spiritual leader of 100,000 anglicans, here — of the blacks in soweto township, as well as the whites, in their rich suburbs. we say to you today, in a loud and a clear voice, enough of blood and tears — enough! the difficult decision we reached together was one that required great and exceptional courage. it is an exodus of up to 60,000 people, caused by the uneven pace of political change in eastern europe. iam free! this is bbc news.
the latest headlines: hurricane irma is causing chaos across the caribbean. there's been widespread damage. it is now threatening the us territory of puerto rico. let's get more on hurricane irma now. 0n the line is the prime minister of antigua and barbuda, gaston browne. prime minister, thank you very much for giving us your time. i gather that antigua is not badly hit by barbuda is badly hit absolutely. antigua was just slightly brushed. it is open for business. the airport is open and commercial flights resume tomorrow morning. electricity has been restored. antigua is fine. the problem is barbuda. barbuda sustained winds of over 200 mph and
asa sustained winds of over 200 mph and as a result of that, practically everything was decimated, up to 90% of the homes are damaged and the roads, some say their homes are totally demolished. it is a terrible situation and we are trying to bring some urgent relief to the people of barbuda and shortly start the rebuilding process. do you have any realistic figures on casualties? we know of one fatality. many people suffered injuries but one fatality so far, a young child. it appears that the place where they were staying was devastated and she had to seek shelter with her mother but the child suffered an injury. for
people who do not know barbuda, could you describe it a bit more? there is 1600 people living there and it is quite flat, isn't it? not to hide from those sort of wins norby storm surge? absolutely. it is a flat island and we have as many as 1800 inhabitants. that is why the devastation would have been so bad it was there are no hills to break the wind. clearly the wind would literally have free rein to destroy everything in its path. and it decimated barbuda, a very flat island. again, perhaps, barbuda is only 50 feet above sea level so flooding was a problem. maybe three orfour flooding was a problem. maybe three or four inches of water on the ground. it is a challenging situation. the situation you are
describing, i guess it is sad to say that you are expecting casualty figures to rise? not necessarily because i am satisfied that the level of destruction was significant, the problem is that when you are faced with rapid wins winds, there must be more fatalities. i am surprised that there are no more fatalities because at the end of the day with that type of wind speed, that in itself would have devastated any country anywhere in the world. thank you very much for talking to us. returning to our other top story this hour, and in her latest comments, myanmar‘s leader aung san suu kyi has made no mention of the tens of thousands of rohingya muslims who've fled her country. so, why has aung sang suu kyi
remained silent on the suffering of the rohingya? our special correspondent fergal keane, who's interviewed her several times, has this report which does contain flashing photography. against the tyranny of dictatorship, she was the perfect symbol — a compelling voice, articulating the language of universal human rights. great prizes follows, a nobel laureateship for peace. but house arrest, the destruction of her family life were the price for what seemed an unbending commitment to human rights. and yet she defends a brutal military crackdown that has uprooted more than 100,000 people. today, she was welcoming india's supportive prime minister and denouncing terror attacks on police and border posts by rohingya militants. so we believe that together we can work to make sure that terrorism is not allowed to take root on our soil or on the soil of our neighbouring countries. decades of discrimination and anti—rohingya violence helped create the animosity out
of which militant violence grew. in a place where most of their buddhist neighbours live in extreme poverty, the rohingya exist at the bottom of the social scale. stigmatised as foreigners, though many have lived here for generations. five years ago, i made my first journey to report on the violence against the rohingya, 100,000 were displaced back then. denied citizenship, many were corralled into camps, enduring disease and hunger. the world looked to aung san suu kyi to intervene, but she was conspicuously reticent. 0ver several encounters, i pressed this devout buddhist about the violence against the rohingya muslims. can you promise that if your party win this is election, the human rights, the civil rights, of all people who live in this country, whatever their religion, whatever their ethnic background, that those human rights will be respected ? so if we are able to form
a government, certainly we'll abide by our commitment to human rights and democratic values. what hope can you give to those people in this country who have been discriminated against, targeted on the basis of their religion? it's not going to be easy, that they must understand, because prejudice is not removed easily and hatred is not going to be removed easily, but we can work at it together. do you ever worry that you will be remembered as the champion of human rights, the noble laureate who failed to stand up to ethnic cleansing in her own country? no, because i don't think there's ethnic cleansing going on. aung san suu kyi doesn't control the powerful military elite, but her words provide the army with political cover. her diplomats are working with russia and china to prevent criticism at the un. it's a stance that prompts an unsettling question — is her longstanding commitment
to human rights partial, never to embrace the beleaguered rohingya muslims? fergal keane, bbc news. in pakistan at least 20 million children are not in education. many are forced to work by their families, often desperately or. we have been finding a group of schools in karachi aiming to change that by bringing lessons to the streets. in the middle of four lanes of busy traffic, a school for some of pakistan's most vulnerable children. many of the pupils here are barely in their teens. but practically all of them used to work for a living. 11—year—old nahar used to be a maid. now she hopes one day to be a doctor. translation: i used to have to sweep, mop and dust other people's houses. my father died, so my mother said i needed to work. and how do you feel coming to school now? i like it a lot.
there are said to be hundreds of thousands of street children in the city of karachi. many live and work in the shadow of this religious shrine where local charities and devotees distribute free food. that is where one local businesswoman decided to start a school — opposite the shrine, underneath a flyover. translation: we are here because we do not have enough funding for a proper building and because this is an area where a lot of child exploitation gangs operate. plus, the children live nearby, so it is easy for them to attend. at times, the noise from the traffic can be deafening. you can see how close the cars are on the other side of the fence. but the school is hugely popular. 600 children are registered here alone, and there are two other schools just like this elsewhere in the city. they say they would like to open more, but they do not have enough funds.
the school runs entirely on voluntary donations but manages to provide free lunches and school uniforms. they also pay each child the equivalent of around 30p a day to make up for the money they would have been earning. that helps persuade their parents to allow them to attend. translation: at first my mum would not let me come. i said i wanted to study but she said no, i need to work. since i have learnt to read and write my mum is really happy. lessons take place under the watch of armed guards. there have been threats from criminal gangs who try and recruit youngsters in the area. but the school's founder says she is determined every child should get an education, wherever it is. let's head to texas now — and a police operation that didn't quite go to plan.
officers were carrying out a routine arrest — and seemed to have the situation perfectly under control. but then things got a little out of hand — as the bbc‘s tim allman explains. the woman on the ground, toscha sponsler, was arrested by officers after they were called out to a possible shoplifting at a beauty parlour. 0nce suitably restrained, she was placed in the backseat of a police car. but it seems ms toscha was not terribly happy but it seems ms toscha was not terribly happy about this turn of events. somehow she managed to slip out of her handcuffs. then, after a quick look around to see if anyone was watching, she slid into the front of the car. all of this coming as something of a surprise to the officers who, at the time, were examining her bag. thus began a car chase that lasted over 20 minutes and at times reached 100 mph.
you can see the fugitive vehicle avoiding a stinger as it sped along the highway. police eventually forced her off the road. she lost control of the vehicle. toscha sponsler was back in custody, apparently unhurt, but now facing various charges including aggravated assault and unauthorised use of a vehicle. local police are now fitting new security measures to all their cars. and you can get in touch with me and most of the team on twitter, i'm @bbcmikeembley. good morning.
there is wind and rain in the forecast for the british isles over the next few days but nothing like the wet and windy weather that is being brought in the caribbean by hurricane irma. a huge, lumbering storm system with the eye showing up on our earlier satellite. during the day ahead the storm will move away from puerto rico, just clipping the north of the dominican republic and haiti and moving towards the eastern side of cuba late in the day. back home we have our own area of low pressure, a far less potent one, obviously. isobars beginning to squeeze together, showing that the wind will be picking up as the day goes on. we will also see some outbreaks of rain. central and eastern areas particularly it could be a fairly dry and bright start but further north and west cloud will thicken and outbreaks of rain slide across northern ireland, scotland and northern england with increasingly blustery winds. at four o'clock in the afternoon, a lot of cloud for the likes of belfast, temperatures around 16 degrees. the rain turning
heavier across western areas of scotland and even some outbreaks of rain across eastern scotland and temperatures in aberdeen just 13 degrees. that rain stretching across northern england from newcastle to manchester and down into the midlands. we will see cloud and showers into the afternoon. similar weather for wales, cloudy weather with showery rain at times. 17 degrees in cardiff. a grey afternoon in prospect in the south—west of england. again, with showers coming and going at times and the wind increasing building here. even here cloud thickens up with a couple of showers into the afternoon. as we go on through the night we will see bands of rain progressing erratically southwards and eastwards, getting stuck across southern areas by the end of the night. temperatures dropped to 10 degrees in aberdeen and 15 in plymouth. during friday, this band of rain will get stuck across southern areas and some rain could be quite heavy. there will be blustery wind around as well but the further north and west you are, the better
the chance of seeing some sunshine albeit with some very thundery downpours mixed in. as we go into the weekend, things look decidedly unsettled and dare i say autumnal. cool windy weather with some rain at times. the rain on saturday coming in the form of showers. some of these could be heavy, fairly breezy, the wind not coming from a warm direction at all so the temperature just 16—18 degrees. a bright start on sunday towards the south—east, heavy rain pushing in from the north—west and late in the day western areas particularly will turn very windy indeed. this is bbc news. the headlines: hurricane irma's caused absolute devastation to the tiny caribbean island of barbuda. the prime minister of antigua and barbuda said at least one person had been killed by the storm and almost all the buildings had been damaged. six are reported dead on st barts. bangladesh has lodged a strong protest with myanmar over the violence that has
caused more than 140,000 rohingya muslims to flee across the border. myanmar has denied its troops are committing abuses, and accused rohingya militants of burning villages to force civilians to flee. facebook says it's discovered a russian—funded campaign to promote divisive social and political messages during last year's us presidential election campaign. it said $100,000 was spent on around 3,000 advertisements over a two—year period, ending this may. now on bbc news, it's wednesday in parliament, with alicia mccarthy.