welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is duncan golestani. our top stories: president trump declares a national public health emergency, saying opioids kill more than 1,000 americans every week. spain's parliament is expected to vote on imposing direct rule on catalonia to prevent its bid for independence. 3,000 once—secret files about the jfk assassination are released, but hundreds more are held back. also in the programme, rescued after five months at sea — the two sailors and their two dogs who disappeared in the pacific ocean. president trump has declared a public health emergency because of the widespread addiction to opioid painkillers
across the united states. he said more than 140 americans died each day as a result of overdoses and the country faced its worst drug crisis in history. rajini vaidya nathan starts our coverage. she was very outgoing, she was an exceptional athlete and all that was robbed from her when she was introduced to opiates and then eventually heroin. so this is the future site of her house. it's been two years since kevin simmons lost his daughter to a heroin overdose. she wasjust 19. a drug squad police officer for decades, he used to lock up addicts. then his daughter became one. never seen it coming, never dreamed this would happen. this has reached epidemic proportions and something has got to be done. for kevin, that something means building a women's only treatment centre in her memory. he says the way to deal
with the problem is through more investment in recovery and education. we're doing it all wrong. for every illness, we're prescribed a pill. there is no education out here. kids are more afraid to smoke a cigarette than to take a percocet. kevin lives in hagerstown, which sits on what is known as the ‘heroin highway‘. opioid related deaths on the rise, ise —— rise this sleepy slice of small—town america is now plagued by the crisis. this place, hagerstown, could be any town in america. the scale of the opioid crisis here and elsewhere is huge. in this state, maryland, alone, more than 1,100 people died of opioid—related overdoses in the first six months of the year and so, the challenge for president trump is to come up with workable solutions
to contain this epidemic. today, the president announced what those where. this epidemic is a national health emergency. he stopped short of declaring it a national emergency — a public health emergency does not allocate the same level of funding but it does promise extra resources and attention to the problem. we are working with doctors and medical professionals to implement best practices for safe opioid prescribing. we can be the generation which ends the opioid epidemic. we can do it. kevin also hopes by casting a national spotlight on the crisis, it will force more americans to open up about an epidemic which is claiming thousands of lives. before, you never wanted to see your daughter was a heroin addict. you never wanted to say they had a problem with addiction in the family. but now, people are talking to their kids and saying it can happen because it can happen to anybody. because i'm telling you, it can
happen to anybody. earlier i spoke to drjeffrey singer, a general surgeon and senior fellow at the cato institute. i asked him for his thoughts on mr trump's announcement. most of the problems of today's problem is sociocultural, it is multi— for oral, people have been out of work for years whose jobs have become obsolete, there is a lot of social problems in different parts of the country, and there are a lot of reasons why people seek mind altering drugs. but if we address itjust on the supply side like we've been doing for the last six or seven like we've been doing for the last six or seven years, we are like we've been doing for the last six or seven years, we are only making it worse, it is getting worse as the clamp down on supply, we should focus on harm reduction and that's where all the effort should go towards, our goal at this point should be focused not on cutting down supply but on cutting down deaths in the way you do that is to
expand for example the clinical exchange programmes 01’ expand for example the clinical exchange programmes or better yet, safe injection rooms. methadone maintenance programmes. availability for the box own and other medications in therapy. make more readily available berlocq psion, the antidote, so it's easy for people to get and antidote, so it's easy for people to getand in antidote, so it's easy for people to get and in many states they need to pass optical good samaritan laws so that if a person is a witness to an overdose, they are not afraid to call first responders to rescue that person with naxolone because they would be afraid that they are arrested because they are in possession of a drug. a lot of states are enacting these laws, it would be a good thing. the crisis over independence for the spanish region of catalonia is expected to intensify on friday with two key votes in madrid and barcelona. the spanish senate is set to approve central government plans to remove some powers from the autonomous region. 0ur europe editor katya adler reports now from barcelona. hope and excitement filled this
barcelona square this morning, as on so many mornings during the catalan crisis. the independence—minded crowd once again arching and chanting its way towards the catalan government building, believing, after many weeks of waiting, the catalan leader inside now had a dramatic announcement to make. until he didn't. after more than an hour of waiting, in the end, it was a no—show — the catalan leader never turned up to make his much anticipated declaration. the press are leaving and outside on the streets, catalans are none the wiser as to what their future holds. now i feel very, very angry because i want an answer of someone. who is going to tell me something about this, because i'm very, very confused. there followed hours of more confusion. the catalan leader had
a difficult decision to make — declare unilateral independence and incur the wrath of the spanish government or back down, call regional elections instead, and face mutiny in his own political ranks. finally, with catala ns for and against independence hanging on his every word, he opted for neither, blaming the spanish government. translation: my responsibility as president of catalonia was to exhaust all the options available. what we need is de—escalation and dialogue. but once again, i have not had a satisfactory reply from the spanish government. 300 miles away in madrid, the spanish government was unimpressed. it is ploughing ahead with a vote tomorrow here in the spanish senate to unravel catalonia's autonomous powers. we came here to meet a senator from the governing popular party. translation: launching article 155
of the constitution, which will affect catalonia's autonomy, is the last resort. it's the only way to restore legality, tolerance, democracy, and economic stability to catalonia. this is all the fault of the catalan president. this is one of the most dramatic moments in modern spanish history. never before has a government here moved to strip the autonomous powers of one of spain's regions. the spanish prime minister will be sitting here and most of the senators in this room belong to his party, so we know he will win the vote but what we don't know is what impact that will have — notjust on catalonia but on spain as a whole. back in barcelona tonight with the possibility of an independence declaration still in the air, the catalan leader was hounded by the press. his regional administration
and the spanish government are on a collision course. tomorrow promises to be an explosive day in spain. australia's high court is to rule later on whether seven parliamentarians should be disqualified from office for holding citizenship of another country. if the deputy prime minister, barnabyjoyce, is deemed ineligible because of his dual citizenship with new zealand, the australian government would lose its one—seat majority in parliament. phil mercerjoins me live from sydney. can you give me some background on this? how do these politicians end up this? how do these politicians end up in this extraordinaire situation? it began with the greens party's senator larissa waters who resigned a few months ago after she found out that unbeknownst to her, she'd been a canadian citizen. then followed a
party colleague by the name of scott ludlam, he didn't know that he said he was a new zealand citizen, so he resigned. it then followed a domino effect of now seven parliamentarians saying that at the time of lusty‘s collection here in australia, they would you will nationals of other countries. the australian constitution forbids its parliamentarians at a federal level from holding citizenship with a quote for —— foreign power, that what we have now in the next few minutes, the high court will start to hand down its verdict on the citizenship seven and political careers are in limbo and as you said before, the fate of barnabyjoyce, he is the deputy prime minister here in australia, if he is deemed ineligible, it will create all sorts of problems for a government that relies on a one seat majority. so what would happen then if they were
deemed ineligible? what with the options be for the government? we have to split this really into two parts. six of the seven citizenship cases rely or are related to the senate which is australia's upper house of parliament. if for example a member of the national party loses her seat, it it is likely that a fellow national party or a liberal party member will take place. the liberals and nationals by the way are part of the governing coalition in australia. it gets far more precarious for the government in the lower house of parliament, the house of representatives, that is where the deputy prime minister barnaby joyce sets. is his loses his seat, the government loses the majority and is likely to win his seat back at any by—election, he's very popular, barnabyjoyce, but if it loses, the legislation that he has been involved in passing here in
australia could well be challenged. these are very turbulent times here in australia and i think it is safe to say that this constitutional crisis has to be one of the most unusual to be seen anywhere. crisis has to be one of the most unusualto be seen anywhere. phil mercer, thank you very much. let's take a look at some of the other stories making the news. a un—backed report has concluded the syrian government was behind a chemical attack on the town of khan sheikhoun earlier this year which killed about 90 people. investigators said the nerve agent, sarin, was dropped from an aircraft. syria has previously denied responsibility. police and immigration officers have carried out one of the uk's biggest—ever operations against people trafficking. 11 people were arrested in britain, another 15 were detained in simultaneous raids across europe. north korea has announced that it will release the crew of a south korean fishing boat "within hours" on humanitarian grounds. the vessel was seized on saturday after being found to have entered waters under the north's control.
meanwhile, the us defence secretary, james mattis, has arrived in south korea for a crucial leg of his asia tour as tensions continue to escalate between washington and pyongyang. he's expected to visit the demilitarized zone, dividing the north and south, with his south korean counterpart. what happened in dallas on november 22, 1963 has fuelled conspiracy theories for decades. on that day of course, presidentjohn f kennedy was assassinated. now, a batch of classified files on the killing is being released by the us national archives while another batch is being held back, pending further review. but experts say they don't expect any dramatic revelations from the thousands of documents. here's nick bryant. november 22nd, 1963. archive: it appears as though something has happened
in the motorcade route. something, i repeat, has happened in the motorcade route. notjust one of the most shocking days of american history, but also one of the most disputed. archive: president kennedy has been assassinated. it is official now — the president is dead. the official explanation is that john f kennedy was assassinated in dallas by a lone gunman, lee harvey oswald. but the case has never been closed in the american mind. were the soviets involved? the cubans? the mafia? renegade elements within the government he led? the national archives holds 5 million documents on the assassination. 99% have already been opened in some form. but it's that final 1% of mainly cia and fbi files that's so intriguing. i would welcome a eureka moment. i doubt that we get a eureka moment. most of what we are going to see is going to be about details and incremental advances in our knowledge about the assassination. but, again, i hope i'm surprised. fuelling the conspiracy theories,
the shooting of lee harvey oswald, by dallas nightclub owner, jack ruby. he died hours later. the documents may reveal more about a trip 0swald made to mexico just weeks before, where he met soviet and cuban spies. it's more than 50 years since america mourned the loss of its young leader. a national wound that has never truly healed and a chapter in the national story that has never had a satisfactory ending. the assassination ofjohn f kennedy was a turning point, notjust because a 46—year—old president had been cut down in his prime, but because many americans came to believe that their government simply wasn't telling them the truth. part of the reason why congress ordered this document dump was to regain that lost trust. the historical irony is that the decision to release the files rests with a modern—day president, donald trump, who has promotedjfk
conspiracy theories himself. but will they bring a sense of closure? nick bryant, bbc news, washington. stay with us on bbc news. still to come — the promise and the problems of genetic testing — we visit iceland where one expert is warning about the dangers of seeking perfection. indira gandhi, ruler of the world's largest democracy, died today. 0nly yesterday she'd spoken of dying in the service of her country and said, "i would be proud of it, every drop of my blood will contribute to the growth of this nation". after 46 years of unhappiness, these two countries have concluded a chapter of history. no more suspicion, no more fear, no more uncertainty of what each day might bring. booster ignition and
liftoff of discovery, with a crew of six astronaut heroes and one american legend. well, enjoying the show is right — this is beautiful. a milestone in human history. born today, this girl in india is the 7 billionth person on the planet. this is bbc news. the latest headlines: president trump has declared the opioid epidemic, which is killing tens of thousands of americans every year, to be a public health emergency. the crisis over independence for the spanish region of catalonia is expected to intensify on friday, with two key votes in madrid and barcelona.
votes in kenya's re—run election are being counted in many parts of the country, but the poll was suspended in four counties, until saturday. in those areas opposition supporters clashed with the police, and many polling stations did not open. the opposition leader, raila, 0dinga had called on his supporters to boycott the poll. advances in science and foetal screening may lead to more abortions for minor abnormalities. that's according to one of the world's leading geneticists. dr kari steffanson made his comments as britain prepares to mark 50 years since the passage of the abortion act which legalised abortion under certain circumstances. experts point to iceland as a country where the number of terminations, for a wider range of reasons, is particularly high. 0ur religious affairs correspondent, martin bashir reports.
svava and her husband, gunnar, are doting parents, cradling solomon, an unusual baby in this part of the world. he looks like he's in pain and we can't really do nothing about it. born in iceland five months ago, solomon's brain is underdeveloped and he can't swallow. his mother underwent foetal screening, but her christian faith meant she would not terminate the pregnancy. so we did the screening in order to prepare ourselves for what would follow the birth. this is decode, a company that studied the genomes of more than half of iceland's population. they have isolated genetic markers that indicate a range of abnormalities. most mothers who test positive for down's syndrome choose to terminate their pregnancies. when i was in medical school, you know, 40—something years ago, it was considered one of the goals of obstetrics and gynaecology to figure out how to screen
for down's syndrome. and now we are sitting here in iceland, the year 2017, and there are no children born with down's syndrome. by comparison, the number of those who opt for a termination after receiving a positive test for down's syndrome in the united states is 67%. in britain it's 90%. svava and gunnar lead the only baptist church in iceland. i know this is a difficult question to consider, but would it not have been an act of mercy for him not to have been born? that's a child made in the image of god. iceland's leading geneticist is now concerned at how foetal testing and the availability of abortion may encourage the pursuit of perfection. do you worry that we will end up screening for minor abnormalities, even non—medical traits eventually? yes, i'm extremely worried about this. i'm extremely worried
about the use of the knowledge that comes out of genetics. solomon, whose life expectancy is less than two years, spends at least half the week in hospital and the scientific breakthroughs that might have ended his life are now helping to sustain it. it's not illegal to be gay in indonesia which is the world's largest muslim majority country. but police are finding other ways to arrest members of the lgbt community, conducting a series of raids on saunas popular with the gay community. those caught up in the raids have spoken out for the first time, to the bbc‘s rebecca henschke. it was a typical friday night at a sauna popular with jakarta's gay community, when suddenly the police stormed in. translation: people were shouting get down, get down. i was terrified because i know
in the eyes of the police everything about us is wrong. along with 58 men including foreigners this man was detained, paraded before the cameras and grilled about his sexuality before being released. translation: they teased us by performing sex positions and making crude jokes. it was all incredibly humiliating. some men were crying. the police said we could be jailed for more than 15 years for no good reason. five men from the raid are still being held, another six people arrested in an earlier raid on another sauna are now on trial. they face up to six years in jail under the country's controversial 2008 pornography laws. we arejust
we are just enforcing the law. but homosexuality is not illegal in indonesia. he vowed though to investigate claims of misconduct by police during the raids. aceh is the only province in india indonesia where homosexual he is illegal. these men were publicly caned her having sex. jakarta in stark contrast has largely been a safe space with a dynamic gay nightlife scene. these raids have sent a chill through the community. we try to be strong amongst gay friends, our lesbian friends, we are building up our own community
so if something happened to one of us we will go there and support them. in thailand, a ceremony to collect the ashes of the country's late king is currently taking place. king bhumibol adulyadej died last year at the age of 88. hundreds of thousands of mourners lined the streets of bangkok for his cremation. it was a ceremony steeped in buddhist traditions. the us navy has rescued two american mariners who had been drifting at sea for five months. jennifer appel and tasha fuiaba — and their two dogs — had been trying to reach tahiti when their engine stopped working. tim allman takes up the story. bobbing along in the pacific ocean, this was a journey at sea that did not go quite to plan. a small sailboat drifting around 1500 kilometres south—east of japan but when a craft from the us navy ship, uss ashland, arrived alongside, they got
the warmest of welcome. dogs barking. jennifer appel and tasha fuiaba had set off from hawaii this spring. their intended destination was tahiti but their engine was damaged in bad weather and they were forced to drift in the open seas. the two women managed to survive thanks to a water purifier and a store of dry goods, like oatmeal and pasta. despite sending daily distress calls they were only discovered when a taiwanese fishing vessel spotted them adrift. also rescued, their two dogs. this is zeus, making himself at home on the us navy ship. sailors, dogs, all now heading to the next port of call. tim allman, bbc news. well, friday is looking beautiful and sunny across most of the uk —
how about that! at least that's the forecast. the morning might be a little cloudy and misty in some areas, particularly across the south of the uk but by the time we get to the second half of the morning, and certainly lunchtime, it really will be a case of a beautiful autumn day across the country. we had a lot of cloud and drizzle earlier on, but now that has pushed out of the way, it is moving further east and south. this high pressure is building. it is squeezing out that weather front which will be just about hugging the south coast during the early morning, so temperatures still here on the mild side. it's the tlick cloud and a bit of drizzle that keeps those temperatures from dropping too low. but the clear skies further north means that it will be quite nippy start to the day. so in glasgow, i think, six degrees first thing in the morning. a little bit less cold in belfast, around nine degrees. but wherever you are across the country, it will be somewhere
within that range. the far south still around about 11 or 12 and, notice, that parts of somerset, devon, maybe cornwall, still underneath the cloud. this is a during the early morning. even a spot of drizzle but that should quickly fade away and then we are left with a mostly windless day, sunny skies and very decent temperatures. this is bbc news. the headlines: donald trump has officially declared a nationwide public health emergency this is bbc news. the headlines: donald trump has officially declared a nationwide public health emergency in response to the growing use of prescription painkillers and other opioids. 0verdoses of opioids kill more than 1,000 americans each week. critics have complained that the announcement does not allocate extra money. the crisis over the spanish region of catalonia is expected to intensify on friday with two key votes in madrid and barcelona. the spanish senate is set to approve government plans to remove some powers from the autonomous region. the catalan parliament is expected to declare independence. president trump has ordered the release of nearly 3,000 classified documents relating to the assassination of presidentjohn f kennedy in 1963.