welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. i'm duncan golestani. our top stories: america's battle over birth control. civil rights groups vow to fight the trump administration's new rules blocking access to free contraception. catalonia's government could be just days away from declaring independence from spain but its former leader warns the region's not ready to go it alone. vigils in las vegas for the victims of the deadliest mass shooting in recent us history. police say they've chased more than 1,000 leads but the motive‘s still not known. a group campaigning to abolish nuclear weapons is awarded this year's nobel peace prize. and 30 years after the chernobyl disaster, sweden's wild boars are still contaminated with high levels of radiation. welcome to bbc news,
i'm duncan golestani. donald trump's administration has announced new rules that could deprive around 60 million american women of access to free contraception. the us department of health said employers and insurance companies can now exempt themselves on religious or moral grounds from providing contraceptive pills and other methods of birth control. earlier i got the latest from the bbc‘s peter bowes in los angeles. it goes back to 2009 in fact when the affordable health act was introduced and a lot of debate at the time about this particular provision. at the end of the day it was included so that only religious institutions could effectively veto on that decision to supply contraceptives free of charge to women who wanted them. now, under donald trump, it's being extended
to include all employers. so if they decide for their own religious or moral reasons that they do not want to supply the women that they employ, essentially the funds through their health funds to pay for contraceptives, they will have the right to do that. how divisive a political issue is this? it's a hugely divisive political issue. it always has been. of course, right now, conservatives are celebrating this. many of those conservatives are donald trump's base. this is something he promised to do when he was campaigning for office, for the presidency last year. he has kept true to his promise. for all that people had been expecting this to happen at some point, there will be a row, a campaign and, yes, legal action to try to get this decision overturned. at least one organisation, the american civil liberties union, has already
said it has begun legal proceedings. planned parenthood has spoken out against this and there is a chance it could go all the way to the supreme court. we spoke about how many women are thought to have benefited from this provision. in effect, however, how many employers really, how many large employers will take this away from their employees? well, that is a big question. the government today, the official announcing this, said that he did not think many employers would withhold the sort of insurance for women who wanted it. but let's see what happens. other people express concern that some employers may use this veto to save money and to say that they are doing it because of their moral or religious belief but in fact
it would simply be a ploy to save money by not spending it on healthcare for women that are employed in a particular company. we'll have to see how this pans out. there are certainly a lot of concern from women's organisations that this is an attack on the civil liberties of women. let's take a look at some of the other stories making the news. the first funerals have taken place in brazil of children killed on thursday by a security guard who set fire to a childcare centre in the state of minas gerais. seven children, most of them aged four, and a teacher have now died. the man threw ethanol over the children and himself before starting the fire. he later died in hospital. the european commission says the international deal to curb iran's nuclear programme is working and that all sides should keep to their commitments. it was responding to indications from president trump that he will decertify,
or reject, the deal which was agreed by barack 0bama in 2015. it limits tehran's ability to enrich uranium in exchange for sanctions relief. the us is lifting most of the economic sanctions it imposed on sudan 20 years ago. officials said the country had made progress in human rights issues and cooperation in the fight against islamist extremism. sudan had been subject to a trade embargo and other penalties. human rights groups have criticised the decision, saying sudan has never been serious about introducing real change. theresa may has said she has the full support of her cabinet after a former party chairman said there should be a leadership contest. the prime minister said the country needed calm leadership and declared that's what i'm providing. but grant shapps claims that around 30 tory mps back his call for a leadership election, adding there are cabinet ministers who feel the same way.
the spanish government has suggested holding new regional elections in catalonia to try to resolve the dispute about independence. the education minister said autonomous elections would be a positive move towards political co—existence. but, the former leader of catalonia, artur mas, has warned that the region is not yet ready for real independence, even though he believes it has won the right to break away from spain. james reynolds reports from spain. espana, espana. tonight, spain has brought its football and its many arguments to this, the coastal city of alicante. the national sport reveals this country's divisions. spain's fundamental questions extend to these, its fans, and its national team. can you be both catalan and spanish at the same time, or must you choose between the two? gerard pique, the team's most famous catalan player,
faces these questions. he was booed here in training for having publicly supported the catalan referendum. in a tearful statement, he even offered to leave the squad. but tonight, protected by headphones, he got off the team bus ready to play. i don't really like him, to be honest. why? because he's mixing all the time sport and politics. but he won the world cup for spain! so? it doesn't allow him to say everything he wants anywhere, you know. translation: he can do whatever he wants off the pitch so long as he performs on the pitch. translation: i'm
going to whistle him. he's a hypocrite who thinks one thing and says something else. contrast that to 2010, when gerard pique and half a dozen tonight, at a bar in alicante, fans scrutinise pique's performance. translation: pique always delivers. the problem with him is that he always wants to be on the front page. gerard pique helped his team to victory here and qualification for next year's world cup. and that really is spain's entire point, the whole country is better off when its catalans stay put. james reynolds, bbc news, alicante. and you can stay up to date with what's happening in spain on our website. go to bbc.com/ news or download the bbc news app. police in las vegas say they've followed up more than a thousand
leads in their quest to establish a motive behind the killing of 58 people last sunday. stephen paddock opened fire from his hotel room on the crowd at a music festival before turning the gun on himself. there have been vigils to remember the victims of the shootings, as our correspondent james cook reports from las vegas. # amazing grace, how sweet the sound...# in their darkest hour, they have turned to their god. #..like me.# the massacre in las vegas struck at the heart of the christian country music community. these are patriotic americans. they are proud of their country and of its freedoms, including the right to carry a gun, even after the deadliest of mass shootings. we lost my uncle from a head wound on tuesday afternoon. tara king is the niece
of brett swanbeck, who was 61 years old. my uncle was the funniest, funnest, hillbilly, red neck, country music—loving good old boy. this was brett at the concert with his fiancee. even though tighter gun laws may have perhaps saved his life his niece is resolute in her beliefs. i believe in our right to bear arms. i believe we are in the land of free. we are here because we are free to make our choices. your uncle's been shot and killed by a gunman. yes. that doesn't change your view? absolutely not. are you kidding me? my uncle is all about... ..he's all for guns. the worst thing that could happen, my uncle would be in a fit, my whole entire family, if they were going to take oui’ guns away. grief, it seems, does not heal divisions in the united states. guns and country music have
always gone together. the cultures are intertwined. in rural america, you often hear people say that this lifestyle is maligned and misunderstood. and even in mourning, many people here are determined to defend their right to bear arms. for those americans, these crosses are the price of freedom. james cook, bbc news, las vegas. oil and gas companies have shut their operations and begun to evacuate staff in the gulf of mexico, as tropical storm nate gets closer. the storm has killed at least 2a people in central america and damaged thousands of homes. the storm system has now moved over the gulf of mexico, this image, taken earlier on friday, shows the eye of the storm at the bottom of the screen, moving up over the yucatan peninsula in mexico.
nate is predicted to become a hurricane by the time it hits the united states on sunday. the mayor of new orleans has ordered evacuations and a mandatory curfew in some parts of the city. although overall rainfall may not be as high as other tropical events, short durations of rain as we have seen can produce flooding. we are particularly mindful in this regard for this particular storm of coastal flooding because of the potential storm surge for those areas of the city outside of the levy system. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: 30 years after the chernobyl disaster, sweden's wild boars are still contaminated with high levels of radiation. in all russia's turmoil, it has never come to this. president yeltsin said the day would decide the nation's destiny. the nightmare that so many people have feared for so long is playing out its final act here. russians are killing russians in front of a grandstand audience. it was his humility which produced
affection from catholics throughout the world. but his departure is a tragedy for the catholic church. israel's right—winger ariel sharon visited the religious compound and that started the trouble. he wants israel alone to have sovereignty over the holy sites, an idea that's unthinkable to palestinians. after 45 years of division, germany is one. in berlin, a million germans celebrate the rebirth of europe's biggest and richest nation. this is bbc news. the latest headlines: civil rights groups in the us have vowed to fight the trump administration's new rules
blocking access to free contraception. from nashville, tennessee, we arejoined by dr eugene gu, physician at vanderbilt university medical centre and ceo of ganogen research institute. thank you forjoining us on bbc news. we should say, you are a critical president trump and his policies, but as a physician, what did you think the impact is going to be on women? —— a critic. did you think the impact is going to be on women? -- a critic. thank you for having me on this show. i think the impact on women is going to be very severe. this is a huge attack on women's rights, especially since about 55— 60 million women currently
have their birth control covered by their insurance companies. now that trump has cited" religious freedom" for non—profits and employers to ta ke for non—profits and employers to take away this birth control coverage, i think hundreds of thousands of american women are going to lose their contraceptive coverage for birth control. which is a travesty. is it really the case, though, that insurers and employers will actually take it away? most surveys , will actually take it away? most surveys, most estimates, show that a very few non—profits actually hold these beliefs. it is hard to predict and it is even harder to predict how many insurance companies, just for profit motives, may drop contraceptive protection just to help their bottom line. i don't even know how many companies and non—profits will do it not even based on their moral or religious beliefs, at just to
based on their moral or religious beliefs, atjust to help —— butjust to help of their costs. do you have any sympathy for, or can you understand the point of view, or those who hold deep—seated religious views, that they do not want their businesses or their organisations to be part of providing birth control? that is a very good question. what i would say to that is that these same people who have these religious beliefs, they are also very much against abortion. birth control pills are actually very effective, their namesake is birth control, so they are effective at reducing unintended pregnancies when used correctly. so by taking away coverage for birth control and taking away birth control from women, we are going to have an increase in the number of unintended pregnancies, and by that consequence, abortions as well. and for republicans to say that they are
pro—life and then take away contraceptive protection, and increase and encourage abortions, i think that is not only ironic, it is a terrible, horrible attack on women's rights. on that point that you mentioned a moment ago, one of the reasons that the administration has given has been the fear that mandating birth control could foster, and i quote, "risky sexual behaviour among teenagers and young adults". what do you make of that reasoning? what i make of that is that fat is an almost misogynistic view on how women behave. —— that is. women have fundamental rights. they are people who are in control of their own bodies. stating that this will promote risky behaviour, not only is it unscientific, it is taking economy away from women, over their own bodies. women know how to
practise safe sex. we are taught safe sex practices in american schools. two assume that women will just do all kinds of risky behaviour, and that you need to legislate how to control their bodies, i think isjust a very legislate how to control their bodies, i think is just a very wrong move. and on top of that, this religious freedom exception, it is not only an attack on women's rights but also lgbt rights as well. this isa but also lgbt rights as well. this is a slippery slope. who knows what they can say about, hey, you know, what if you have a religious exception to gay marriage or treating a gay person? this isjust eroding rights for everybody. dr gu, thank you to speaking to us. we do appreciate it. thank you for having me on your show. an anti—nuclear arms group has won the annual nobel peace prize, with the awarding committee in oslo saying the risk from such weapons is at an all—time high. the international campaign to abolish nuclear weapons, or i—can, say they're
elated by the honour. in announcing the winners, the nobel committee said there was a risk of more countries wanting to procure nuclear weapons. paul adams reports. money could be spent on what people really need... this is the fifth time the nobel committee has rewarded a group campaigning against nuclear weapons. for an organisation that's only been around ten years and has a relatively low profile, it's a big boost. the norwegian nobel committee has decided to award the nobel peace prize for 2017 to the international campaign to abolish nuclear weapons. ican. the organisation is receiving the award for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons. more than 60 years after the world's first dreadful display of nuclear
power, the nobel committee says the risks are once again growing. this year's series of provocative moves by north korea the most obvious and troubling example. ican brings together hundreds of non—governmental groups around the world. their efforts rewarded this summer with the first legally binding agreement outlawing nuclear weapons. 122 countries have signed on, none of them nuclear powers. it's long—term work. getting rid of nuclear weapons isn't going to happen overnight. the treaty is meant to make it harder to justify nuclear weapons, to make it uncomfortable for states to continue with status quo, to put more pressure on them. that isn't going to happen overnight, of course. they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.
it's notjust the weapons themselves, the group says fiery rhetoric could lead to what it calls unspeakable horror. some will question the feasibility of ridding the world of all nuclear weapons, but the nobel committee says this is a good moment to revitalise that debate. this saturday is vladimir putin's 65th birthday and it's being marked in a number of public and private ways. in moscow a new exhibition will display a series of internet messages and pictures, memes, dedicated to the russian president. 0ur moscow correspondent sarah rainsford has been to the gallery displaying the images. hgppy happy birthday! there really is a bit of everything
here, from vladimir putin riding the for luck sausage, to pit in the superhero, the indestructible on this image. —— putin. all sorts of other references to youth culture here. i think the one message that is clear from all of it is whether it is here at home or on the world stage, written —— putin is clearly the man in charge. i think it is his birthday. more than 30 years after the chernobyl nuclear disaster, radioactive wild boar are being found in sweden. in 1986 the nuclear reactor at the soviet union power station in ukraine exploded, scattering radioactive material across europe. today sweden's wild boars, a popular game animal in the country, have been discovered to be contaminated with several times the normal level of radiation. it's one of sweden's most popular game animals. today the country consumes more wild boar meat than ever, but recently the species has been found to contain dangerously high levels of radiation, the result of fallout from chernobyl.
in what remains the world's worst nuclear disaster, in 1986 the reactor at the soviet power station chernobyl exploded, sending a plume of radioactive material into the air. more than 30 years on it's still leaving its mark among sweden's wild boar population. 0ne animal that was shot dead had around ten times the safe limit of radiation. translation: 13,000 becquerel, that really gave me a shock. i've shot deer containing 22,000 becquerel 30 years ago, but among wild boars, i've never heard of that. the levels have fallen in other wildlife, but experts say while wild boar are exposed to more radioactive material as they root around in the soil. the swedish authorities claim it doesn't pose a threat to humans. translation: what you can expect of radiation at such low levels is an increased risk of cancer, but at these levels, at an individual level, there is a very, very low increase of the risk.
but many hunters just aren't willing to take that chance. luxmy gopal, bbc news. finally to china, where a rare meteorite sighting was caught on camera. this dash—cam footage shows what appears to be a fireball in the sky. witnesses described feeling the ground shake and hearing a loud roar as the piece of space rock hit the atmosphere. you can get in touch with me on twitter. stay with us. hello there. we've had a treat over the last couple of evenings. some amazing sunset pictures and this was one of them actually from friday evening. beautiful colours there, all because the sun was setting underneath this bank of high cloud that's been streaming down from the north—west. another picture there, this time from coventry. you can see the layers of cloud.
that cloud has been thickening and it's been bringing with it outbreaks of rain from the north—west. that's spilling down across england and wales. the rain not amounting to very much, but it does mean it's much more difficult to see the moon at the moment. a lot of cloud as we head into the weekend. throughout the weekend we'll continue to feed in cloudier skies, and probably on saturday you're more likely to catch some rain. should be drier across more of the country on sunday and probably that bit brighter as well. this is early saturday, though, and it's a dull start across southern parts of england, perhaps south wales. a bit of rain and drizzle around here. a little bit brighter, though, as you move northwards for a while. in other parts of wales, the midlands, already some showers feeding in on those stronger west to north—westerly winds. a lot of showers to begin the day in northern ireland. in scotland, these showers to the north of scotland could be rather heavy for a time.
most of the showers in scotland and northern ireland will be in the morning. in the afternoon they become fewer and lighter. eastern scotland should see some sunshine poking through, a bit more shelter here. improving in the afternoon with some sunshine in north—east england. in between these drizzly rain bands that are moving towards the midlands and this rain that's stuck in the far south—west, we may get some unreliable breaks in the cloud for central, southern england, perhaps south wales. temperatures getting up to 16 or 17 degrees. not quite as warm as that, though, for the super league grand final. that's at old trafford. there will be some rain around here. it's going to be quite a dull and damp weekend on the whole across manchester. although this weather front is taking the rain away from the english channel. around the top of this flat area of high pressure, we're again drawing in a lot of cloud. so it's staying pretty mild overnight. we'll still have some of these drizzly showers around on sunday, especially in western scotland. a few running in across wales perhaps into the midlands. many eastern parts of england and scotland, perhaps southern england and south wales, much drier and brighter. a little sunshine, temperatures similar to those on saturday.
into the early part of next week and we're going to find all our weather coming in from the atlantic. moving on more quickly over the coming few days, these systems weakening as they run across the uk. it means we're going to find the wind picking up from monday to wednesday, and the wettest weather is always going to be in the north—west. at this stage, not much rain in the south—east. this is bbc news. the headlines: the trump administration has announced new rules that could deprive around 60 million american women of access to free contraception. employers and insurance companies can now exempt themselves from providing birth control on religious or moral grounds. civil rights groups say they'll fight the move. spain has apologised to people injured during sunday's disputed referendum in catalonia. the catalan government could be just days from declaring independence from spain, but its former leader has warned the region's not ready to go it alone.
vigils have been held in las vegas for the victims of the deadliest mass shooting in recent us history. police say they've followed up more than a thousand leads, but still don't know the motive for the attack that left 58 people dead and hundreds injured. now on bbc news, our world. his is probably the most recognisable face in latin america.