this is bbc news. i'm david eades. our top stories: the wildfires rage on in california — the death toll mounts and authorities fear things are about to get worse. there's a torrent of further accusations in the harvey weinstein scandal, as new york police now pursue claims of rape and sexual assault. riot officers restore order at a uk high—security prison, after reports dozens of inmates attacked staff. and i'm sally bundock, with business news. virtual reality check. it's "the next big thing" that never quite took off. so can facebook‘s new gadget finally bring vr to the masses? plus, the art of ditching the deal. could president trump's new strategy on iran mean the return of us sanctions? we get the views of an iranian investor. hello and welcome to bbc news.
the statistics for california's wildfires tell their own story: 22 major blazes being fought by thousands of firefighters. 2a people known to have died with more than 500 people missing. the state's wine country, and much more, is being hit like never before, across an are larger than chicago. and there are worries the changing weather will bring new outbreaks. this report from peter bowes. entire communities completely wiped out. in some areas, the deadly wildfires have left nothing but charred rubble and brick chimneys in their wake. their destructive path sweeping through northern california's wine country and still burning out of control. this is what the firefighters are facing, one of more than 20 fires burning across several counties.
devastation on this scale has never been seen before in this region. more than 3,000 homes and businesses have been destroyed. fire officials say there's more to come, with high winds and tinder—dry vegetation expected to hamper efforts to quell the flames. there are fears new fires could start at any time. these fires are just literally burning faster than firefighters can run in some cases. so imagine being out there in difficult terrain with miles and miles of fire line, and to try to catch up to that and put in hand line and lay hose, very challenging. and fires are spotting thousands of feet, miles in some cases, ahead. so it's just very difficult to get any kind of containment. the advice to residents is clear and blunt. i can't emphasise it enough to people, if you look at how fast this fire burned and how fast it went through places, i think people underestimate how powerful and dangerous it can be. that's why say if you're in an advisory or have a place to go, go.
you don't need to be here. people living in sonoma county, which is one of the hardest hit, don't need to be told about the destructive power of this inferno. they've seen it first—hand. this is, like, apocalyptic it seems. this is so out of the norm. like, i'm from southern california and everything's dry out there and i'm used to fires, but i've never seen anything like this in an urban area. all of our pictures are gone. everything's gone. we got a fire pit. it's pretty awful. but we're all healthy and safe and we have to just try and be grateful for that. but it's pretty awful. the cost of the fires will run into tens of billions of dollars, and with the death toll continuing to rise and hundreds of people missing, there's no end in sight to this unfolding catastrophe. peter bowes, bbc news. the organisation that runs the oscars — the us academy —
is to hold an emergency meeting to consider the future of one of its most successful members, harvey weinstein. the hollywood producer is at the centre of numerous sex allegations, which the academy has described as "repugnant". meanwhile the new york police department is searching for evidence in respect of allegations of rape and sex assault made by at least three women. andrew plant reports. he was a hollywood hit maker with an 0scar contender almost every year. now a divine steam is facing accusations. this act is forced to dodge his advances, playing a room. the lists of actresses growing longer. sun very famous like angelina jolie and when is paltrow and the details repeat— hotels,
massages, pressure and threats. 0thers go further, with accusations of rape. it is not easy to be the first one to people to speak and now there is a tsunami coming out and people coming out of the wood works but it is the first couple of women who you really have to say, thank god they did. he says he regrets his behaviour but says that all sexual encounters were consensual. back in america, his wife has left him, his then the ship to bafta has been suspended and the oscars have called an emergency meeting and he could be bad from the industry over which he has ruled for over 20 years. police say they are investigating the investigations, funnily shunning a light into the shadow of the industry and what many believe has been an open secret full—fat too
long. andrew plant, bbc news. some breaking news coming into us. a spokesman for the palestinian group, hamas, has said it has now reached a deal with its rival, fatah, they have been holding talks in egypt and hamas has been in control of gaza for the last ten years and the suggestion is that that would be handed over as part of this arrangement. details will be released later in the day but a deal appears to have been erected and reached between hamas and fatah. we will be across that. let's take a look at some of the other stories making the news: president trump has now said he can envisage a new trade pact with canada that might exclude mexico. at the white house with canada's prime minister, justin trudeau, mr trump said american workers had to be protected.
mexico has warned such a deal would damage cross—border relations, including cooperation in the war on drugs. the eu's chief negotiator michel barnier and the uk brexit secretary david davis are expected to sum up the state of negotiations on the uk's departure from the eu at the end of the fifth round of talks in brussels. theresa may insisted money was being spent to prepare for a no—deal brexit a study of two vaccines for the ebola virus has found they can both protect against the fever for at least a year. the research, in the new england journal of medicine, found at least 60% of 1,500 patients developed antibodies. ebola killed more than 11,000 people in an outbreak in west africa in 2014. the wildfires in california have ravaged northern california. izzi magee, had to evacuate her
house in santa rosa, she joins me live from neighbouring town sebastopol. thank you again for having me. things are changing moment to moment. it is still very frightening for everyone. we getting evacuation notices for various parts of sonoma and napa counties, as often as every five minutes. is the message coming from authorities that it could get worse before it gets better, you know well enough number of people have lost their lives and many people are missing, i can only imagine that the youth this is very
personal as well. —— for you. imagine that the youth this is very personal as well. -- for you. again, it is just terrifying. it is very surreal. we noticed throughout the day, there would be huge gusts of wind coming out of nowhere, the sky would get orange again, the smoke would get orange again, the smoke would get orange again, the smoke would get heavy and then it would clear up. we would get heavy and then it would clearup. we are would get heavy and then it would clear up. we are so grateful that we have not been personally touched as of yet. we do have friends, however, just a couple of miles from our home, his home burnt to ashes, nothing left... your hope is that your home will be ok? of course, thatis your home will be ok? of course, that is our hope. we cannot be certain because, as you said, things are changing. every time the wind changes, sent out particular
property is in the centre of almost a ring of fire, wejust never know moment to moment. for you, you know the area very well. you live there. it is not as if you have never had fires before but have you ever had anything on this scale was make over, not, no. nothing like this. we do get wildfires. my partner and i have spent most of our lives in forested areas so we are used to this but to have it become a far you still in an actual town, not in the middle of the redwoods, is com pletely middle of the redwoods, is completely unique and... again, indescribable. their destruction is as ifa indescribable. their destruction is as if a bomb has gone off and devastated everything. the pictures
look a bit like that as well. we wish you the best of luck. thank you so much. sally is here with all the business news. we start in sanjose california where facebook boss mark zuckerberg's announced plans for this — a virtual reality headset that you can wear anywhere and doesn't need to be plugged into a computer. the 0culus go will cost $199 and be on sale early next year. facebook is hoping the gadget will finally kick—start mass interest in virtual reality — and get a billion people using the technology. so will it? fans of vr think it can be used for anything from gaming to social media, communication or business.
the reality is though, the technology has been around for a while and it's been very slow to catch on. facebook bought vr equipment maker 0culus in 2014 for $2 billion. the deal probably ended up costing them closer to $3 billion. 18 months later and it still hasn't released sales figures for the headsets. some researchers thinkjust a few hundred thousand have been sold — still very much a niche toy for enthusiasts. the only company giving solid numbers is sony. this summer it said it had sold just over a million of its playstation vr headsets since they were launched in october — that's a lot less than many were hoping. this week nokia announced its actually winding down its virtual reality camera division — because the market is just not developing as expected.
we'll have a report from our man in silicon valley, dave lee. we will hear from tim cook... that is not tim cook, he is the boss of apple and he will give us a take on what he thinks the future is and it is quite different to what mark zuckerberg's is. we are also talking about president trump and iran — he's due to give a speech outlining a new ‘overall strategy‘ on relations with tehran. specifically whether to decertify the agreement in 2015 under which iran froze its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions. will he ditch the deal, and what would that mean for iran? we'll be getting the views of an iranian investor 0n
on that. we will also have the other business stories. do you have one of those headset things? actually, i do not have one but they are amazing. have you tried one on? yes, they are amazing but they are clunky. you are not going to walk down the street with it on, are you? but you are so far removed from just watching the screen. i am sort of convinced. spain's prime minister says he wants clarification from catalonia within five days on whether or not it has formally declared independence. on tuesday the catalan president signed a declaration to that effect but suspended it to allow further talks. mariano rajoy accused the catalan leadership of a dangerous attack on the country's constitution and rejected calls for mediation. 0ur europe correspondent damian grammaticas reports from madrid. in every people's story there are fateful days.
for spain and catalonia, these are times fraught with risk. after emergency cabinet meetings this morning, spain's prime minister came to tell his parliament he is demanding clarity from catalonia. the question — did the document signed yesterday by the separatist leader amount to a declaration of independence, or not? translation: the answer given by mr puigdemont will determine what happens next. in his hands lies either re—establishing the rule of law, as everybody is asking him, or continuing the instability, the tension, and the divisions in catalonia. because the spanish government's position is simple. catalonia cannot use an illegal referendum to secede. and if catalonia does try to split away, mr rajoy told parliament, he would begin moves to impose direct rule on the region next week. spain's prime minister is a leader under intense pressure. some here in parliament say
he should not compromise with catalans, who they say are trying to blackmail spain. others say he should seek compromise. what nobody is criticising him for is defending spanish unity, and if anything, it is the catalan leader who is under more pressure. this is the declaration at issue. the catalan leader, carles puigdemont, signed it, and immediately said he was suspending it, and left it ambiguous. the fact it was fudged has left catalans who want independence for their region feeling cheated. translation: i feel totally let down. he took a step back. the people supported him to do something, but he didn't do it. in madrid, tomorrow is spain's national day. preparations for the parade. across the capital, those opposed to catalonia breaking away are flying the national flag. and in an office,
high above the parade, they were hanging theirs out. it belongs to these lawyers both from catalonia, both opposed to catalan independence. i'm catalan. ithink, ispeak, i pray in catalan, says juan. puigdemont does not speak in my name. spain's divisions are growing deeper, and now the government has set a deadline, next week, for catalonia to come back into line. damian grammaticas, bbc news, madrid. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: let there be sight — we travel with the flying eye hospital, trying to combat blindness in africa. parts of san francisco least affected by the earthquake are returning to life. but in the marina area, where most of the damage was done, they're more conscious than ever
of how much has been destroyed. in the 19 years since he was last here, he's gone from being a little—known revolutionary to an experienced and successful diplomatic operator. it was a 20lb bomb that exploded on the fifth floor of the grand hotel, ripping a hole in the front of the building. this government will not weaken. democracy will prevail. it fills me with humility and gratitude to know that i have been chosen as the recipient of this foremost of earthly honours. this catholic nation held its breath for the men they call the 33. and then... bells tolled nationwide to announce the first rescue and chile let out an almighty roar. this is bbc news. the latest headlines...
at least 2a people have died in wildfires that have devastated california's wine country. thousands have been left homeless by the 22 huge blazes being fanned by high winds. new york police department is searching for evidence in respect of allegations of rape and sex assault made by at least three women against film producer harvey weinstein. now here in the uk teams of riot—trained officers have been sent in to restore order at the long lartin high—security jail in worcestershire. of the prison. dozens of inmates are reported to have attacked staff in one wing of the prison. with me is our reporter andy moore. we are talking about dozens. how many is dozens? the reports we were getting from sources say it that about 80 prisoners were involved yesterday evening. eight or nine hours ago. they began to attack
prison officers with pool balls. the prison officers with pool balls. the prison officers with pool balls. the prison officers retreated from the wing. what happened then is that specially trained tornado squads went in to restore order. we have heard in the last hour or so that order has been restored at the squad. we had a short statement from the prison service saying that the incident was resolved and there were no injuries to star for prisoners. the spokesperson goes on to say they will not tolerate violence in prisons and those responsible could spend longer behind bars. do we know what provoked this and who might be involved? it is a high security prison and we have no information on what caused it. it is a prison that houses around 600 of the most serious offenders, once with very long sentences. some of those who have been there recently include a
radical islamist preacher and another one who was jailed for life later in the us for terror offences. people like that. it is... a prison where there has been violence in the past, four murders inside the prison within the last quarter years. girls will be allowed to join the boy scouts of america from next year. families have campaigned for years to see girls admitted to an organisation which has existed for 100 years. some see it as an attempt to stop falling numbers in the us. scout leaders say it's a step forward. i think today shows the world that the boy scouts of america is moving forward, and moving beyond some of the stereotypes that we've had in the past — that we weren't interested in moving on, nor trying to serve a family. we're interested in serving the youth of the families in this community, across northern virginia, dc, maryland, down to the virgin islands,
where we have young people in our programme. it's a great day, that we will be able to serve more young people in what we do. that's what we're all about. that's what we want to do. today is world sight day — focussing global attention on blindness and vision impairment. it's estimated 80% of cases of blindness could be avoided. new data shows that after decades of declining rates of blindness there's set to be an increase over the coming years. the bbc has been with the 0rbis flying eye hospital, seeing how they use virtual reality to train surgeons on the ground. quite a significant cataract is
there in both eyes. they're there is a chance of infection. we do not wa nt to ta ke a chance of infection. we do not want to take a risk. we will do what i. want to take a risk. we will do what i, she will be fine after some time. and we can go for the other i. lam i am anxious. i hope that i will see well after my operation. how are you feeling?
i feel very well. i see doctor maria. thank you thank you, doctor. bringing you some sweet pictures here. adorable altars, we have pictures of a mother and her baby to swim. —— adorable otters. she a nswered swim. —— adorable otters. she answered into the water for its first swimming lesson. see otters are listed as endangered, once found in large numbers along the northern
pacific rim. not so many of them now. some lovely pictures therefore you. time to remind you of our breaking news is our. a spokesman for hamas says it has reached a deal with its rival. the two sides have been holding talks in egypt, aiming for a unity government if possible. hello there. the weather has calmed down quite a deal but on wednesday we had extreme weather in cumbria. this was the scene with raging rivers, a lot of rain falling on the higher ground. they had over 200 millimetres of rain on an active and of rain on that cloud there. as the rain moved southee became lighter and weaker. keeping an eye on this one coming in towards the north—west
by the end of the week but otherwise it isa by the end of the week but otherwise it is a quiet day, in between weather systems, a lot of dry weather systems, a lot of dry weather and sunshine. it will be a cooler style, mind you, weather and sunshine. it will be a coolerstyle, mind you, on weather and sunshine. it will be a cooler style, mind you, on thursday morning. a good deal of sunshine, further north we have strong wind into scotland and northern ireland and more cloud around early on the day. there will be a few showers dotted about the highlands and islands in particular. blustery winds in scotland, developing in the northern ireland where we will see cloud increased during the day. england and wales, fairweather cloud and a breeze blowing. a little more sunshine around temperatures will be very similar to what we had on wednesday. good temperatures for this time of the year. mentioned the weather system coming in from the atla ntic weather system coming in from the atlantic and it begins to arrive on thursday evening, thursday night. the weather system arrives in scotla nd the weather system arrives in scotland and northern ireland with the wind picking up and some rain. always we just over the western hills of scotland with rain into
cumbria. further south and east, quite warm on friday. as we head into the weekend, we import some warm airfrom biscay, from iberia up in too much of the uk. notice a difference there in temperatures. either side of the weather front, which starts to move northwards again on saturday. there may not be much rain on the front across northern england, the wetter weather pushing back into the far north—west scotla nd pushing back into the far north—west scotland letter on to get some sunshine across england and wales and temperatures will be 19, 20 degrees quite widely. for england and wales it is all sunshine on the way and if you get sunny skies in the south, the temperatures will be close to 22 or 23. this is bbc news, the headlines: at least 2a people have died in wildfires that have devastated california's wine country. thousands have been left homeless by the 22 blazes being fanned by high winds.
they are spreading quickly and unpredictably. new york police department is searching for evidence in respect of allegations of rape and sexual assault made by at least three women against film producer harvey weinstein. in a statement, he denied the allegations. officers have restored order after a serious disturbance overnight at the top security long lartin prison in central england. around 80 prisoners are understood to have attacked staff, some of them using pool balls. spain's prime minister wants clarification from catalonia within five days on whether or not it has formally declared independence.