welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. i'm duncan golestani. our top stories: breathing new life into brexit talks, european leaders welcome the british prime minister's conciliatory tone but call for more clarity. puerto rico faces the aftermath of hurricane maria — tens of thousands are urged to evacuate as a major dam threatens to fail. banned from the british capital — uber, the online minicab service used by millions, is stripped of its london licence. and lots of applause for angela merkel. but as germany's election draws closer, is a right—wing nationalist party about to go mainstream? hello and welcome to bbc news.
britain's prime minister has tried to inject new energy into the brexit talks with a distinctly warmer tone in a key speech in italy. theresa may says she wants the uk to be the eu's strongest friend and partner, and has called for a two—year transition deal after britain officially leaves the eu. our political editor laura kuenssberg has this report from florence. waiting, waiting and waiting. it's months since the prime minister gave anything away on brexit. and if you're in a hurry to disentangle completely, you might just have to wait some more. she came to florence to confirm that for as long as two years after we're technically out, not that much might change. a period of implementation would be in our mutual interest and that is why i'm proposing that there should be such a period after the uk leaves the eu. clearly people, businesses and public services should only have to plan for one set
of changes in the relationship between the uk and the eu. so during the implementation period, access to one another‘s markets should continue on current terms. and during that time we'll keep paying billions into the eu budget, but the transition won't be longer than two years under a so—called double—lock. and at the heart of these arrangements there should be a clear double—lock. a guarantee that there will be a period of implementation, giving businesses and people alike the certainty that they will be able to prepare for the change and a guarantee that this implementation period will be time limited, giving everyone the certainty that this will not go on forever. but on the vital relationship between the eu and the uk
after we leave, optimism but few more clues beyond ruling out copying someone else‘s deal. we can do so much better than this. let us not seek merely to adopt a model already enjoyed by other countries, instead let us be creative as well as practical in designing an ambitious economic partnership which respects the freedoms and principles of the eu and the wishes of the british people. in this renaissance city, theresa may has made no new blinding discoveries, instead she's admitted for some years much will stay the same. she's inching towards some of the compromises that brexit could require. but can the speech make any difference, unstick the eu talks? the eu chief negotiator used 140 characters to say — "thanks for the speech, but we shall see." but theresa may's political opponents claim it's still tory accounts that are really being settled here. this whole speech seemed to me the product of the internal negotiations of the tory party rather than negotiations with the eu.
nor has her offer pleased those who cheered for brexit loudest of all. i would say it's been a good day for the political classes, a good day for westminster and two fingers up to 17.4 million people who voted brexit. no ifs, no buts. and on the biggest question — how our histories will intertwine in the years and decades to come, relative silence, more doubts than clear answers. in a process so complex, so important, the prime minister seems to cast shadows wherever she stands. laura kuenssberg, bbc news, florence. the credit rating agency moodys has downgraded the uk's overall economic rating. it says the decision reflects an expectation of weaker public finances going forward. the impacts of brexit — and what it calls political and social pressures to raise spending after seven years of spending cuts — were also behind the move. hurricane maria, and the heavy
rain that followed it, is continuing to wreak havoc in puerto rico. the authorities there have mobilised the national guard to help evacuate people in areas downstream of a dam which has failed after days of heavy rain. potentially, seventy thousand people are under threat. the dam, located at the northern end of the guajataca lake is causing flash floods. authorities say it's an "extremely dangerous situation" and evacuations are taking place urgently. andrew plant reports now on the destruction caused by hurricane maria, the strongest storm the island has seen in living memory. is everybody 0k in that house? they are calling it the worst storm here in 100 years. many roads underwater, with cars submerged. those who stayed in their homes are sheltering on the upper floors from the deluge and damage down below. does everyone have food and water? translation: there is a lot
of damage, a lot of flooded areas. we need to work together. yes, there is a lot of devastation. with homes destroyed and power supplies down, puerto rico is suffering the effects of hurricane maria, the second devastating storm to tear through the caribbean this season, with homes and streets underwater and families forced to evacuate to higher ground. the main priority is water, food, blankets, tarpaulins. there's great damage all around the whole island. filmed from a rescue helicopter in winds of up to 150km/h, these people were rescued from the surrounding seas stranded on a capsized boat, adrift in 20 foot waves. the us coastguard, helped by the british royal navy, winched them to safety, but already the death toll is in double figures and expected to rise. now a dam has failed in the north of the island, causing flash flooding and evacuations of populated areas.
donald trump has said the us territory has been totally obliterated and has made federal emergency aid available. the governor of puerto rico said damage to the island's electricity grid was so severe it could take engineers many months to fully restore power to the island. the war of words has continued between america and north korea, with the leaders of both countries questioning each other‘s sanity. it follows the us imposing further sanctions on pyongyang over its nuclear programme. north korea has threatened to detonate a hydrogen bomb over the pacific. mr trump again raised the issue of north korea at a rally in alabama. we can't have mad men out there shooting rockets all over the place. little rocket men. we're going to do it because we really have no choice.
we really have no choice. now, he's talking about a massive weapon exploding over the ocean. and maybe something gets worked out, and maybe it doesn't. 0ther other people like to say, or, we wa nt other people like to say, or, we want peace. personally, i'm not sure that it will. other people like to say, oh, we want peace, they've been saying that for 25 years. and then itjust keeps going and going. we are dealing with somebody that we'll figure out, he may be smart, strategic or totally crazy, but no matter what it is, we are going to handle it, folks, believe me. let's take a look at some of the other stories making the news. the republican senator for arizona john mccain has said he will vote against the latest attempt to repeal the affordable care act, popularly known as 0bamacare.
mr mccain is the second republican senator to come out against the bill. with the democrats united against it, the bill will fail to pass ifjust three republicans oppose it. scientists have expressed alarm at the rapid spread in south east asia of a strain of malaria that is resistant to standard treatment. researchers say that so—called ‘super—malaria' cannot be neutralised by anti—malaria drugs. it emerged in cambodia but has since spread through parts of thailand, laos and most recently to southern vietnam. germans are widely expected to re—elect angela merkel when they vote in a general election on sunday. but what's shocked the political establishment is the predicted success of the right—wing nationalist party afd which is expected to enter parliament for the first time.
it will be the first far right party to take seats there since the second world war. with more on the rise of the right in germany here's our berlin correspondent, jenny hill. angela merkel she —— knows she will most likely win. like much of a victory. win. she says that the centre parties share centre ground. she says that the centre parties share centre groundlj she says that the centre parties share centre ground. i can't decide who to vote for. i like angela merkel lot. she has very good policies and i particularly like a refugee policy. the big parties are already in power. it didn't do much good. i don't want to support them. her campaign team cannot entirely
drown out the voice of the right. the nationalist party is unlikely to enter parliament, the first far right party to win seats since the second world war —— is likely. afd's anti— islam, and he more than rhetoric is lowering people like this teacher who worries that german values are being lost. in a way, afd is already sitting in government. it breathes down the neck of mainstream parties —— way. you can see the results of it. people are tired of the same old thing. is contrary with wartime history, few expected the
right to do so well, let alone enter parliament. there are those who say this election is boring, campaigning is lacklustre and the result is predictable. something significant is happening here. the 2017 general election marks an unprecedented shift both in the tone and substance of postwar german politics. what is a political norm in other european countries was unthinkable here. not any more. still to come: as people in the kurdistan region of iraq prepare to vote on independence, we'll get a taste of how they're feeling. ben johnson, the fastest man on earth, is flying home to canada in disgrace. all the athletes should be clean going into the games.
i'm just happy that justice is served. it is a simple fact that this morning, these people were in their homes. tonight, those homes have been burnt down by serbian soldiers and police. all the taliban positions along here have been strengthened, presumably in case the americans invade. it's no use having a secret service which cannot preserve its own secrets against the world. and so the british government has no option but to continue this action, and even after any adverse judgement in australia. concorde had crossed the atlantic faster than any plane ever before, breaking the record by six minutes. this is bbc news. the latest headlines: european leaders welcome
the british prime minister's attempt to breathe fresh life into brexit talks, but say more clarity is needed. and the authorities in puerto rico have urged people to evacuate areas downstream of a dam which has failed after days of heavy rains. polls have opened in new zealand in the country's general election. the incumbent prime minister bill english is aiming for a fourth term in office, but is facing a strong challenge from the new labour leader jacinda ardern. i spoke with our correspondent, phil mercer, who is in nelson, on new zealand's south island. i asked him if it was fair to say that this particular election was proving to be more exciting than normal? if you had asked me that a couple of months ago, labour were in the doldrums, they were suffering fairly dismal polling results, along came jacinda ardern, she was appointed leader towards the end ofjuly, and she has almost single—handedly
revived labour's electoral chances. they now have a fighting chance of forming the next government. jacinda ardern is 37 years of age, she is a political novice in many ways, she has been in parliament the ten yea rs, has been in parliament the ten years, but this is the biggest challenge she has ever undertaken. in recent times, in recent days, support further opposition labour party has dropped somewhat, but still labour does find itself in a better position now than it was a couple of months ago. polls opened here in new zealand about four hours ago, and they are open to the next few hours, and it is also worth pointing out that hundreds of thousands of kiwis did vote early in pre—election is, so this is a poll thatis pre—election is, so this is a poll that is capturing the public mood. just run us through the issues, what are the big debates going on there? mainly domestic issues, the economy,
infrastructure, healthcare and housing, house prices in new zealand have soared in recent times, and affordability is a major issue. the main parties have promised to address that with large housebuilding programmes. immigration has been on the fringes of the campaign, the national party government wants to keep immigration around 70,000 a year, the labour party wa nts around 70,000 a year, the labour party wants to cut that by between 20 and 30,000. but domestic issues are at the heart of this campaign, and like most campaigns around the world is the economy, jobs and money that will mean the most new zealanders when they vote in today's general election. it's a minicab service that has transformed the way millions in cities around the world use taxis. allowing people to book and pay online — its popularity with its users has been matched only by the protests from existing taxi firms and unions. but now uber has lost its license to operate in london. transport for london has questioned
the company's approach to conducting background checks on its drivers and reporting criminal offences by them. our business editor simon jack has more. uber has revolutionised the taxi industry. you can hail a ride, track the car on its way to you and automatically pay, all from an app on your phone. thomas? yes. ok, thanks very much. 3.5 million passengers, and 40,000 drivers, use it to get around in london alone, but its future, and that of its drivers, was thrown into doubt today. iam worry... a lot of worry in me because it's my livelihood. i'm doing driving work for 15 years now. if uber, if they close uber down, i have no idea where i can go. london's transport chiefs said concerns over driver background checks and failures to report sexual harassment allegations meant it would be stripped of its licence, and city hall backed the move.
tfl doesn't reach these decisions lightly, but they've got to act like a judge and look at the evidence and they've looked at the evidence and concluded that uber aren't playing by the rules. if users of uber and drivers are angry, they should be angry at uber. the company refutes these charges and says it will appeal. we're absolutely astounded and we're going to fight this to support those drivers that will be be put out of work by this decision drivers that will be put out of work by this decision and we believe that consumer choice is a fundamental positive thing that londoners should have. some passengers say the reason they use uber is cost, yes, but also safety. i use uberfor when i need to get home safely, on time, that kind of thing. it's quite nice to be able to know, that i know that i can track literally where they were. it's going to be a pain in the backside, then i would be taking these black taxis, and they're super expensive. thank you.
thank you very much, cheers. bye now. now that process is really baked into the lives of millions of people and tens of thousands of drivers, but its staggering popularity has made it unpopular in other quarters. black cab drivers have been campaigning for this for years, and welcomed today's decision. what did you make of it? in my opinion, it's five years too late. they should never have been licenced in the first place. why not? we've got the finest taxi service in the world, they‘ re undercutting people and they can't compete with us on a level playing field. other cities are not affected by this ruling, but it will be closely watched by transport chiefs facing similar issues. uber is the poster child for using technology to disrupt traditional industries. it won't give up without a fight and the appeal could take many months. so don't delete the app just yet. on monday, voters in kurdish—controlled areas of northern iraq are due to head to polling stations to say whether they want the autonomous kurdistan region
to become an independent state. the central government in baghdad, iraq's neighbours and western powers want the referendum to be cancelled, but the kurds have refused. bbc arabic‘s radwa gamal spoke to people in the regional capital, irbil, about their thoughts on the upcoming vote. this is the oldest market in irbil. people here do their shopping, have a cup of tea and tat about life. but these days, one topic has been dominating conversations, and that is the referendum on independence. but why is it that kurds feel they can no longer stay as part of iraq? at what i'm here to find out. use from irbil. —— views. he made his name by painting the american flag in his
own unique style. and more than 60 years later jasperjohns is considered one of the greatest living artists. now a major retrospective of his work is opening at the royal academy in london. we spoke with the show‘s curator roberta bernstein who explained why johns' work had such an impact on the art world. jasperjohns is, without doubt, one of the most important contemporary artists. early in his career, in the 1950s, he did a series of work including the flag that you see here, flags, targets, numbers, maps, that really shook up the art world. and he found this image that was perfect for him and perfect
to move art in a new direction. so once he showed these early works he was instantly recognised as an artist who was doing something new. jasperjohns has always said that he did not choose the flag because of the patriotic symbol. it wasn't chosen for anything but the fact that it was familiar and something that he said was something so familiar it was overwhelmed. ——0verlooked. he thought, by presenting it as a painting, people would have to look at it in a new way.
nowjohns is not really that interested in pop art subject matter and popular culture or commercial imagery although, it appears in his work. it is not the central element of it like it is for pop art. he influenced a whole range of artists and even into the present he remains a very vital influence on younger generations around us. the work of jasper
the work ofjasperjohns on show in london. don't forget you can get in touch with me and some of the team on twitter, i'm @duncangolestani. stay with us on bbc news, there is plenty still to come. the autumn equinox may be behind us now but the weather is feeling reasonably summery for some of us over the weekend. this was the scene on friday afternoon. as we head through the course of the weekend, many of us will have largely dry conditions, particularly on saturday. by sunday there will be rain heading into the west of the uk and temperatures will be on the rise as well. as low pressure sets out towards the north—west with tight isobars here but at the moment high—pressure is dominating the south—east. as we start saturday morning, there will be a little cloud and drizzly rain across southern parts of the country. some low cloud, mist and murk first thing. it should brighten
up during the day. if we have a look at saturday morning, nine o'clock, after a chilly start in scotland and northern ireland it should be dry and reasonably bright with a little sunshine into northern england and a little more cloud and drizzle and hill fog across the southern half of england and south wales. waking up to a grey morning here but certainly mild, bear with the weather as it brightens up during the day. a fresh start for northern parts of the country, milder towards the south. through the course of the morning this cloud and drizzly spots of rain willjust ease towards the east. for many of us it will brighten, particularly along the south coast later in the day. a little more cloud pushing into northern england and scotland and the breeze picking up across northern ireland. all in all, a decent day with temperatures for most of us around 17 to 19 degrees. it should feel quite pleasant. into saturday evening, most places end the day on a dry note. 0vernight saturday and into sunday you will notice a band of rain working towards the west.
that is a weather front and the breeze peaks as well. across much of england and wales you should begin the day on a dry note once again. it will be mild, certainly. through the day on sunday, the weather front tries to move in from the west, bumps into high pressure in the east so it will tend to fizzle out somewhat during the course of the morning. there will be some rain for northern ireland, scotland, perhaps the western fringes of wales and south—west england. later in the day, a chance of a few heavy bursts working in but further east across much of england and wales remains dry and bright and pretty warm. 22, 23 degrees in the sunshine. just a little cooler in the north—west. we still have a weather front lingering around on monday but it will fizzle out during the day. the east should stay warm and dry with temperatures 19 or 20 degrees. this is bbc news, the headlines. european leaders have welcomed an attempt by the british prime minister
to breathe fresh life into the brexit negotiations. president emmanuel macron of france and the eu's chief brexit negotiator praised the tone of theresa may's speech. but they both said that more clarity was needed. us officials say intense rain and flash floods have caused a dam to fail in puerto rico, causing an extremely dangerous situation. tens of thousands of people are being evacuated. hurricane maria brought torrential rain, swelling rivers to record levels, and knocking out power to the whole island. the ride—hailing app uber has lost its license to operate in the british capital. london's transport authorities questioned the firm's approach to driver background checks and the reporting criminal offences. let's take a moment to see what's making the headlines on the front pages of some of the morning's papers.