this is bbc news. i'm david eades. our top stories: hurricane irma causes chaos in the caribbean. the prime minister of antigua & barbuda says barbuda is now just rubble. facebook hands over evidence of a russian—funded campaign absolutely devastating. the extent of the destruction in barbados is unprecedented. facebook hands over evidence of a russian—funded campaign to promote divisive messages during the us presidential election. pope francis arrives in colombia, calling the visit a plea for lasting peace following last year's deal with farc rebels. hello, i'm sally bond quid big business stories. mario draghi's dilemma. the euro poses a new problem for the european central bank as it debates went to wind down its massive stimulus programme.
plus, high aspirations. we meet the pharmaceuticals chief pushing cannabis as the answer to america's opioid addiction crisis. hello, and welcome to bbc news. hurricane irma threatened much, and it's delivering on that threat. one of the most powerful atlantic storms on record has pummeled a number of caribbean islands, notably the leeward islands, with extremely heavy rain accompanied by winds of up to 320km/h. that's 200 miles an hour. the prime minister of antigua and barbuda has told the bbc 90% of buildings on barbuda have been demolished. he said the island, home to about 1,800 people, is now just rubble. a 2—year—old child is believed to have died and 6 people are reported dead on saint martin and the neighbouring territory of st ba rts.
the eye of the hurricane has passed over the british virgin islands. puerto rico awaits, as does florida. andy moore reports. the island of barbuda, home to 1600 people, was one of the first places to be hit by irma, and it bore the full runt. to be hit by irma, and it bore the full ru nt. it to be hit by irma, and it bore the full runt. it is estimated 95% of homes have been damaged. the communications tower was destroyed, cutting the island the outside world. the prime minister said the island was barely habitable. what i saw was heart—wrenching. absolutely devastating. in fact, saw was heart—wrenching. absolutely devastating. infact, i saw was heart—wrenching. absolutely devastating. in fact, i believe that ona devastating. in fact, i believe that on a per capita basis, the extent of the destruction in barbuda is unprecedented. a two-year-old toddler was killed. there were many lucky escapes. we had cars flying over our head, we had containers, 40
foot containers, flying left and right. the story that you are getting from most of the residents year is that the ril to storm came just in time. —— the eye of storm. people were tying themselves down with ropes to keep them down. people were tying themselves down with ropes to keep them downm people were tying themselves down with ropes to keep them down. in the french territory of saint martin, six people were killed. authorities said the island may be reduced to rubble. this is hurricane irma seen from space. it is now heading north of puerto rico and could hit florida at the weekend. it is one of three hurricanes in the atlantic. there are particular fears hurricanes in the atlantic. there are particularfears for hurricanes in the atlantic. there are particular fears for hurricane jose following close behind irma, and ona jose following close behind irma, and on a similar path. 0fficials jose following close behind irma, and on a similar path. officials say with most people homeless, barbuda cannot withstand another storm. if jose does have its way, the island may have to be evacuated. well, we heard the prime minister of antigua and barbuda, gaston browne, expressing his concerns there.
earlier, my colleague mike embley spoke to him in more detail. antigua was just slightly brushed. antigua 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 200mph 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 the child and mother 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 are 1600 people living there and it is quite flat, isn't it? nowhere to hide from those sort of winds nor the 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 — 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 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, but you are expecting casualty figures to rise? not necessarily, because i am satisfied that the level of destruction was significant, but the problem is that when you are faced with rapid 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. that was the prime minister giving a detailed picture of what it has been like in barbuda. joining joining us now is sandra bahri, she lives in st george in antigua. thank you forjoining us. we have a detailed picture of the devastation caused to barbuda. tell us what it was like for you as irma passed over antigua? in the beginning we were pretty scared but when we got word that we were not getting the full brunt of the storm, we could relax a little bit and realise we were spared. the winds were definitely not as much as we acted, definitely,
so we not as much as we acted, definitely, so we didn't get the full force of it. and after that we kind of relaxed a bit and even figured, 0k, we will get a lot of rain. at even the rain was not torrential. we didn't get lots of lightning and thunder. i think we were really spared. we didn't get the full blow of the storm. there was just a lot of the storm. there was just a lot of trees down and stuff like that. good fortune from that point of view for you. would you say that you can get back to normal now? yes, i would say so. this morning we headed down into stjohn to see what downtown was like, and the defence force was cleaning up the road. they have done a good job of getting it back to normal. nearly the whole island, certainly in my area, electricity has been restored. so pretty much we are back to normal. businesses were
closed today, except some of the main supermarkets. so we are pretty much back to normal. but we are very saddened, as you heard from our prime minister, the destruction of barbuda. so we are trying to put together donations and stuff like that to send to barbuda. but for us, we can go back to normal, but our hearts are very heavy for the destruction of the second island, barbuda. i can well imagine. you say that you can get back to normal and you have been very lucky, but we hear about hurricane jose, and possibly another hurricane to follow. where does that leave you? well, today, we didn't take the storm shutters off completely. we just lifted them up halfway so we could get some oxygen into the house. the stuff that we have, the tarpaulin covering all our furniture and stuff, we have left that in place. i have spoken to other family
members and friends and they have all left that are in place because we are anticipating, in case we get something, at least we are still prepared and we are already prepared. we hope that it will not be as bad as what we are expecting from irma, from the news reports and weather reports it probably won't be, but we have to be on the precaution side and leave things as they were. that sounds very sensible. we arejust they were. that sounds very sensible. we are just looking at some of the pictures, the satellite images of the scale of irma. i imagine that when you are looking at those pictures and seeing what was coming your way, it has been described as unprecedented, would that be fair? yes. what a mega storm. i think they said it was one of the largest ones, a category five, i do not think we have seen a category five in many years. so it was going to be catastrophic if we had gotten it like barbuda suffered
underneath it. well, i am glad that it spared you come in large part. thank you for speaking to us. 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. catalonia's parliament has called for a referendum on independence from spain on october one. the government in madrid is opposed to the measure, which it deems illegal. it's asked the spanish constitutional court to nullify the cata la n constitutional court to nullify the catalan assembly‘s vote to hold the referendum. four thaad missile launchers are being installed on a former golf course at a site 200km south of seoul. but there've been clashes
between protesters and police over the deployment of the controversial us anti—missile system designed to protect the country against mounting threats from the north. lets pick up on the business news with sally. a challenge for the head of the european central bank, a decision? indeed. will he make that decision? indeed. will he make that decision or an announcement of a decision or an announcement of a decision today? that is the big question, i am on ecb watch yet again. we start in frankfurt, where in a few hours' time the european central bank holds its latest policy meeting. the big question — when will it begin to raise interest rates from their historic lows, and start unwinding the massive economic stimulus programme that's been in place since the financial crisis? some say it's about time, but it's a big dilemma for ecb chief mario draghi. let's show you why. the eurozone economy is in much better shape — it's growing atjust over 2% a year. and the recovery is broad, including weaker nations such as greece and italy.
prices are also rising. so—called core inflation, which strips out volatile elements like fuel and food, hit 1.2% last month. the overall rate was 1.5%, but that's still below the ecb's 2%. and the recovery‘s partly down to this, the $2.4 trillion the ecb's pumped into the economy through "quantitative easing" — in other words, creating new money and using it to buy up bonds. critics argue this flood of money is creating a bubble on stock markets and other assets. 0thers warn scaling it back too quickly could plunge the bloc back into crisis. europe's recovery has also caused this. a surge in the euro, which is up almost 13% against the us dollar this year. tightening monetary policy could boost the currency even further.
so mr draghi will be choosing his words carefully at today's press conference. we'll be getting the views of a top economist in 20 minutes' time. we are also in the us, where nearly 100 people a day are now dying from opioid drug overdoses. most addicts start with legally prescribed medicines for conditions like chronic pain. now a canadian drug company is developing a way of treating these conditions using medication based on cannabis, in the hope it will reduce the level of opioid prescriptions written each year. the man in charge is uniquely qualified. he used to run the firm behind america's best—known opioid medicine, oxycontin. you can hear michelle fleury‘s interview with him in 20 minutes' time. it isa
it is a really interesting conversation. and we will have the other business stories as well, there is a lock to squeeze in today. —— a lot. 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, covering issues including immigration, gay rights and race. the company said it was co—operating with a us investigation into the affair. 0ur silicon valley reporter dave lee says this facebook announcement wasn't totally surprising. 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 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 advertisements, and pushing information to many users over a two—year period ending in may of this year. much more still to come including pope francis arriving in colombia with a plea for lasting peace after the deal last year with rebels. 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! translation: the difficult decision we reached together was one that required great and exceptional courage. it's 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. facebook hands the us special prosecutor evidence of a russian—funded campaign to promote divisive social and political messages during the presidential election. excited crowds have greeted pope francis on the first papal visit to colombia in three decades. it comes as the country works through a peace agreement between the government and the leftist farc rebels ending 52 years of conflict. but the country still remains divided as our south america correspondent katy watson reports from bogota. after touching down in the capital,
pope francis was given the red carpet treatment. he greeted excited colombians, accompanied by the president and his wife. as he drove through bogota, thousands of people lined the streets. for many, this has been a long time coming. the first papal visit in over 30 years. the welcome messages are everywhere. ina the welcome messages are everywhere. in a country where nearly 80% of people consider themselves catholic, this is a big deal. a cardboard cut out, however, is probably the closest many will get to the widely loved pontiff. still there is much anticipation. this man says the pope has given the catholic church and you image and he can bring a positive message for the pc and
columbia. for this woman, she hopes his visit will help to unite people in happiness. with the new peace deal, the vatican saw this as a good moment to come. a time to talk to people about reconciliation. but the columbia hell encounter is still divided. this is a country in need of overcoming deep inequalities in terms of income, property rights, access to property. we are divided in terms of the understanding of justice after the war, after the conflict. we are divided in terms of how far these reintegration can go between former combatants. will focus will be an colombia, the trip also holds importance to the wider region. as the first—ever latin american pontiff, he has a huge following on his home turf. the
expectation is that he will use that influence not just here expectation is that he will use that influence notjust here in colombia but to call for dialogue in venezuela. this is a chance for colombia to show the pope and the wider world of a country is moving forward to big a new beginning for the south american nation. in the last 20 minutes, argetinejuan del potro has beaten roger federer in the quarter finals for the us open in new york the 28—year—old, who won the title back in 2009 but has struggled with injury in recent years, beat the five—time champion in four sets in one of the matches of the tournament this year. he'll now face the top seed rafael nadal in the semi—finals. the world number one remains on course for a third us open title after beating the unseeded russian andrey rublev in straight sets. nadal won 6—1, 6—2, 6—2 injust over an hour and a half. meanwhile, coco vandeweghe and madison keyes won the remaining
quarter—finals in the women's singles. it means that four americans will contest the semi—finals for the first time in 36 years, as colm harrison reports. coco vandeweghe cruising to her second grand slam semifinal of the year by brushing aside the world number one in straight sets. the 25—year—old american who reached the last for in australia back in january, won 76, 63. and while discover will now return home, losing her reagan king to garbine muguruza next week, coco vandeweghe can look forward to playing a match in her home turf. i'm a big believer that my grandparents are still with me, so looking up and feeling the
love of what i'm doing and i'm quite happy with how i was able to close out the match. in the fashion that i did, and in front of the crowd today. coco vandeweghe joined venus williams and sloane stephens in the semifinals, raising the prospect of an all american final in the final four so the first time since 1981. it all hinged on madison keys. it did not take long for the number 15 seed to deliver what part on crowd desperately wanted. she despatched the world number 415 6—3, 6—3 in just over an hour. she will now meet coco vandeweghe for a place in the final. fifa have ordered a world cup qualifier between south africa and senegal to be replayed after the court of arbitration for sport upheld a lifetime ban for the refereejoseph lamptey. the ghanaian official awarded a penalty to south africa in their 2—1 victory last november — but replays showed the ball hit
a senegalese defender on the knee. in march, the referee was banned for "match manipulation" — 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 sponsler 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. 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. 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. for
with increasingly blustery winds. northern ireland i england for northern ireland in northern england we will see outbreaks of rain. 15 or16 england we will see outbreaks of rain. 15 or 16 degrees is your afternoon temperature. through lincolnshire down into east anglia and the south—east we will hold onto some bright and spells through the afternoon but even he isn't showers at times. and then for wales in the south—west, a cloudy afternoon was showery rain and blustery wind as well. during thursday night into friday morning we will see bands of showery rain water working south and east on a strong wind. 12— 15 the overnight low. friday will see this area of rain gets stuck across southern parts of the country so southern parts of the country so southern england, south wales are having a soggy date with heavy bursts of rain. brightness north and west with sunshine but also hefty showers. a blustery and cool day. 16 degrees in plymouth, 18 in norwich. 0n the weekend that looks decidedly
u nsettled. 0n the weekend that looks decidedly unsettled. in fact, 0n the weekend that looks decidedly unsettled. infact, dare 0n the weekend that looks decidedly unsettled. in fact, dare i say it, quite autumnal. cool and windy with rain at times. the rain on saturday will come in the form of heavy showers with some sunny brinkin between. 14— 18 degrees at best. and on sunday, a bright start for the south—east the cloud thickens up to outbreaks of heavy rain pushing in from the north—west and later in the day it will turn windy out west with gales possible. this is bbc news. the headlines: two small caribbean islands have been flattened by hurricane irma, which is leaving a trail of devastation across the region. both st martin and barbuda have experience what's being described as unprecedented damage. facebook has said it's handing over to the us special prosecutor, robert mueller, evidence of a russian—funded campaign to promote divisive social and political messages during last year's american presidential election. excited crowds have greeted