welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: the military in zimbabwe say president mugabe is safe as loud explosions and gunfire are heard in the capital, harare. children caught in yemen's conflict. the un warns millions of lives are at risk from fighting and famine. australians say yes to same sex marriage. more than 61% back the move in an historic national vote. and are these two really a threat to western values? french president emmanuel macron thinks they are. we have an exclusive interview. hello. soldiers and armoured military
vehicles have deployed across the capital of zimbabwe and troops have seized the state broadcaster. explosions and gunfire are being reported from the northern suburbs of harare, home to many government officials, including president mugabe and his wife, grace. an officer has appeared on tv saying the military has intervened to pacify a destabilising situation, to remedy the country's suffering, and will target the criminals surrounding president mugabe. but he said the president will be kept safe. sarah corker reports. soldiers and armed vehicles on the outskirts of the zimbabwean capital. small numbers but enough to raise concern, especially after the head of the armed forces threatened to take action over the sacking of an influencial politician. we must demand those behind the current treacherous shenanigans that, when it comes to matters of protecting our revolution, the military will not hesitate to step in. the general was referring to the sacking of
vice president emmerson mnangagwa, a long—time ally of robert mugabe. he was once seen as a favourite to succeed his lifelong political patron. his dismissal last week was viewed as a move by mr mugabe to hand power to his wife, grace. in harare, this was how people reacted to the news of military movements. what is needed right now in zimbabwe is to remove this mugabe family from power. if there is this implosion, the implosion is good for the citizens of zimbabwe. robert mugabe is the world's oldest head of state, he's been in power since 1980, but this dispute over succession is now escalating. soldiers have taken over the headquarters of zimbabwe's state broadcaster. ina in a live address, officers said the president was safe and that the
country was not undergoing a coup. the us embassy has urged american citizens in zimbabwe to remain home on wednesday due to the ongoing political uncertainty. sarah corker, bbc news. we have a reporter in the zimbabwean capital right now. from how worried, cu ra re, capital right now. from how worried, curare, she said this is unprecedented, the country has been run on a very tight rain. the events on the last few hours have been causing a lot of attention, there's been reports on social media about what's been happening. there's been nothing for the government from the government oi’ the government from the government or the military about what exactly is happening. the speculation is still rife. what we understand now from the press agency is that gunfire has erupted near president mugabe's private residence and in the early hours of wednesday one resident said they heard about 30 or
40 resident said they heard about 30 or a0 shops fired over three or four minutes soon after 2am, but we haven't been able to independently verify that. the speculation and uncertainty continues until the morning. if the reports are right that the state broadcaster has been taken over, there's been no change in programming yet, which is normally a signa programming yet, which is normally a sign a big change is taking place? absolutely. they didn't broadcast the iipm news last night. they were playing music, ubao, for many hours, there was an expectation there might be an announcement over the state broadcaster but there's been no announcement. so there's still a lot of uncertainty about what is happening. we will have the latest from our reporter from the we will have the latest from our reporterfrom the studio we will have the latest from our reporter from the studio in a few minutes. let's take a look at some of the other stories making the news. thousands of iranians are spending a third night without shelter in near freezing conditions
following sunday's earthquake. president hasan rouhani visited some of the worst affected areas in the remote, mountainous region on tuesday, promising more aid. at least a60 people died in the quake. the us attorney general, jeff sessions, has dismissed claims that he misled members of congress about contacts between the trump campaign and russian representatives. in evidence to the house judiciary committee, mr sessions emphatically denied that he had lied under oath during previous testimony. at least five people, including a gunman, have been killed in a shooting at an elementary school in northern california. several people including three children were injured in the shooting at the rancho tehama school. the gunman is said to have fired randomly until two police officers killed him. at least seven scenes are being investigated and police say there may be more victims. the us secretary of state, rex tillerson, is in myanmar for talks with the country's leader, aung sang suu kyi. he's expected to call for an end to the violence in rakhine state which has caused six 100 thousand rohingya muslims to flee to bangladesh in recent months. -- 600,000.
the united nations is warning that the catastrophic humanitarian crisis in yemen is worsening and that unless aid is let millions more lives will be at risk. the saudi—led coalition tightened its two year blockade of the country last week in response to a ballistic missile fired at riyadh by rebel forces backed by iran. extreme hunger and disease are already killing an estimated 130 children a day. from yemen, clive myrie has this special report. this is a story about war and its humiliations. the stripping of dignity. but it's also about the desert trek to safety. it's a story of survival. screams and gunfire there's panic at a school in the yemeni capital, sana'a. a city under houthi rebel control. frenzied shouting a saudi coalition air strike targeting a nearby building has blown out the school's windows.
in this conflict, death can come from the air at any time, for kids, as well as soldiers. what began as a civil war has become a proxy struggle between saudi arabia, backing yemen's government, and iran, alleged to be backing the rebels. the houthis claim this is a bomb from the attack that didn't explode. several countries, including the uk and america, have sold billions of pounds‘ worth of weapons to saudi arabia during this war. apart from arms dealers, this conflict has no winners, and civilians are the biggest losers. imagine what those displaced by the war are running from, if this is what they're running to. dusty, makeshift desert settlements across yemen, home to three million people and counting. but it's a pitiful existence in a place like this,
in the middle of a pitiless war. only the most basic shelter protects from the unrelenting sun and the sand of the desert. yemen, already the arab world's poorest nation, is now on its knees. an estimated seven million people are facing starvation. this is a man—made calamity that shames the world. the war here has created so much misery, with lives disrupted and destroyed. and the recent escalation of the conflict means that many more people will be relying on the kindness of strangers, just to survive. this woman and little ayeeshia, who is seven months old, fled their home the night the bombs fell. translation: it was like thunder and lightning in the sky. we were scared and took our children,
but left everything else behind. we don't have food. 0ur men don't have jobs. they go to market looking for work, but when they come back with nothing, the children cry. aden is one of the ports at the end of an aid pipeline that helps sustain more than 21 million people here. that's three quarters of the population. but it's a precarious humanitarian operation. saudi arabia controls yemen's borders. a blockade has already seriously affected aid flowing into ports in rebel—held areas in the north. and the harbour at aden, here in the south, can be shut down at a moment's notice. saudi arabia says sealing this country's borders will cut the flow of weapons to rebel forces, but aid shipments can be searched and verified, so why prevent all goods coming into yemen? well, using aid as a weapon of war is nothing new in this conflict. the houthi rebels have
themselves been accused of blocking aid convoys, so despite warehouses full of food, millions are at risk of starvation. aid workers acknowledge this is a dirty war, where both sides have questions to answer. they have their own tactics — to use the aid we are bringing in to the people, either to prevent it from people or give it to the people that they favour. for sure, that is how they use the aid. and if we cannot reach people to give them this food, then definitely, they will die. civilians in this war are forgotten people, pawns in a great game, victims of a conflict that they didn't create. they've done nothing wrong, their only crime was being born here. clive myrie, bbc news, in southern yemen. australia has voted in favour
of legalising same—sex marriages. the results of an eight week postal survey showed more than 61% of voters were in favour, the government has pledged to introduce legislation before the end of the year. earlier i got the latest from our correspondent phil mercer in sydney. it's it's an historic day for australia, the people have spoken and now campaigners say it's up to mps to reflect the will of the people, drilling down in those statistics as we heard there, almost 62% of people who took part in this non—binding postal survey are calling for same—sex marriage to be legalised. that equates to about 7.8 million australians. turn out pretty good as well, nudging 80%. sobis has been a very decisive result the yes campaign —— so this has been.
they've built their platform on calls for equality and inclusion and the prime minister of australia, malcolm turnbull, says that his centre—right government will bring in legislation to legalise same—sex marriage by christmas. phil mercer in sydney. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: six months after his election win, we asked france's president for his views on drum and putin. —— tramp and putin. —— trumped and putin. —— trumped and putin —— trump and putin. berliners from both east and west linked hands and danced round their liberated territory. and, with nobody to stop them, it wasn't long before the first attempts were made to destroy the structure itself. it's keeping the candidate's name always in the public eye that counts. success or failure depends not only
on public display but on the local campaign headquarters and the heavy routine work of their women volunteers. yasser arafat, who dominated the palestinian cause for so long, has died. the palestinian authority has declared a state of mourning for the leader who symbolised his people's hopes for independent statehood. in the wake of the colombian volcano disaster, rescue teams are trying to reach thousands of survivors who managed to clamber onto rooftops and trees above the sea of mud. after 17 years of discussion, the result was greeted with an outburst ofjoy. women ministers who'd long felt only grudgingly accepted amongst the ranks of clergy suddenly felt welcomed. this is bbc news. the latest headlines: loud explosions and gunfire have been heard in the zimbabwean capital. military officers deny they are staging a coup, and say president mugabe and his family are safe. australians have voted in favour of legalising same—sex marriage. more than 61% backed the move in an historic national poll. more now on our top story:
with me is the bbc‘s former harare correspondent grant ferrett. what are you hearing? well, within the last hour or so, it has become much more dramatic. this statement by the military in the national tv headquarters, zbc, have said it is not a coup they are staging, it is not a coup they are staging, it is not a coup they are staging, it is not a military takeover. there is a statement which says we wish to assure the nation that the president and his family are safe and sound, and his family are safe and sound, and their security is guaranteed. they went on to say that the situation would return to normal once, as they put it, criminals around the president who had caused social and economic suffering had been brought to justice. and just a bit of context, if people are not that familiar with what is going on there, the country has been run as a very tight ship, hasn't it? this is
unprecedented, isn't it? yes, mr mugabe has been charge since 1980, when the country became independent ina war. when the country became independent in a war. since then he has com pletely in a war. since then he has completely dominated the country. i was based in zimbabwe for a while. i can't remember anything like this since independence. it is unprecedented. what mr mugabe has done is dominated political life so much that there has been no breathing space for anybody to rival him, orto breathing space for anybody to rival him, or to pose any sort of major competition. and when competition does appear, he deals with it violently. at the moment there seems to bea violently. at the moment there seems to be a split between mr mugabe and at least some elements of the military, and that has never happened before. and it looked as if his wife, grace, was closing in on the presidency, certainly first of all the vice presidency. then we had the ruling party accusing the head of the military of treason, because he intervened on behalf of another senior officer. yes, essentially there is a struggle for power. he was going to take over once robert mugabe has left office, and we
should remember he is 93 years old and he can't stay in power forever. what has happened in the last few yea rs what has happened in the last few years is his wife, grace mcgarvey, who is a0 years younger than him and is very ambitious, has gradually sidelined possible successors, including one a couple of years ago, and just last week another vice president. what has happened now, in the last week or so, is reverberations from that, with the army essentially saying we support last week's candidate, and not grace mugabe. so there is a power struggle being played out, and it is very notable that we have heard nothing from mr mugabe himself. in previous years... well, this wouldn't have happened in previous years, but in previous years he would have been com pletely previous years he would have been completely on top of it, and we have heard nothing from mr mugabe so far. thank you very much indeed. a us senate committee has held a hearing on president trump's authority to launch a nuclear strike. he has the full power to do so, and could have as little as six minutes to make the decision. it is the first time in more than a0 years that a congressional committee has raised the issue.
once that order is given and verified, there is no way to revoke it. to be clear, i would not support changes that would reduce our deterrence of adversaries, or reassurance of our allies. but i would like to explore, as our predecessors in the house did a1 years ago, the realities of this system. given today's challenges, we need to revisit this question, on whether a single individual should have the sole and unchecked authority to launch a nuclear attack under all circumstances, including the right to use it as a first strike. we are concerned that the president of the united states is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision—making process that is so quixotic, that he might order a nuclear strike that is wildly out of step with us national security interests.
i don't think that the assurances that i've received today will be satisfying to the american people. i think they can still realise that donald trump can launch nuclear codes just as easily as he can use his twitter account, without a check and balance that the united states congress would be seeking, and constitutionally responsible to exercise. so i think this has been a historic hearing, and i hope there is more to follow. thank you, sir. the president of france, emmanuel macron, has told the bbc that donald trump and vladimir putin are threatening western values of openness and tolerance. it is now six months since mr macron took office, promising to transform french society, the economy, and even its modern sense of identity in the world. 0ur paris correspondent lucy williamson, who travelled with the president to abu dhabi recently, sent this report. most presidents enjoy a flash of military uniform in their schedules, a tang of old—fashioned global power.
but emmanuel macron is fighting his own slippery battle for french influence abroad. jihadi groups in this region have built a grand narrative around their vision, he says. the west needs one too, based on openness, tolerance, and democracy. at the opening of a new louve museum in abu dhabi, he told me those values were under threat from leaders like vladimir putin and donald trump. if you don't defend these values, it will become harder and harder, i agree. but is it harder now, is it under threat? i mean, for sure it's a threat, for sure. but first of all, you have to speak and discuss this with leaders. because sometimes they're changed, and they were not like that at the very beginning. and the explanation of the divergence is very often due to their paranoia of the threat, and their willingness to protect something, and to be much more nervous about what they want
to protect, but forgetting the fact that part of their own civilisation is about openness. if you decide just to push them back from europe, and all that, you're saying, "you are betraying our values, it's bad," you lose them. but does it work? when you sat down with mr trump or mr putin, have you found that you've been able to affect real change? i mean it's not overnight effect, for sure. but i'm optimistic, and i can... i'm extremely determined. i mean, so i will insist, and insist, and insist. macron ran his election campaign by insisting on the power of liberal values to solve france's problems, including its most pressing one — jobs. graulhet used to be the centre of a booming leather industry, with more than 100 factories. serge cathala's factory is one ofjust a dozen left. unemployment here is 21%, twice the national average, but president macron's sweeping reforms means serge has begun hiring again. translation: what's great
about macron is that he's young, he looks like he's got guts. nobody‘s going to walk all over him, unlike his predecessors, and he's got good ideas, more flexibility for company owners to hire people and more freedom. a company needs leaders who will let them work. president macron has already reformed france's rigid labour law to curb the power of the unions. but graulhet‘s favourites for president were the protectionist candidates on the far—right and far—left. and, in cafes like this one, mr macron's plans to extend unemployment insurance have less impact than, say, his tax breaks for french millionaires. translation: he's the president of the rich. he hasn't changed my life or the lives of the people in this town. we are the little people, the proletariat, and no office man is going to change things for us.
here in paris, six months ago, mr macron vowed to remake french politics. since then, he has been criticised for being more king than president. even some of those who agree with mr macron's analysis have questioned his style as president. where some see clarity, determination and poise, others see arrogance, pomposity and hubris. mr macron has said modesty doesn't interest him, because he is france's last chance to prove to itself that openness, tolerance and democracy work. lucy williamson, bbc news, paris. hundreds of people from all over the world are in north carolina this week for the flat earth international conference. 0rganisers say the event is meant to help uncover and debunk pseudo—scientific facts. beliefs vary within the flat—earth community, but most argue that the earth is a disc and not a sphere. how do i feel about this? wars? deception. is just how do i feel about this? wars? deception. isjust kind of funny to
me. to me this is satan's graters lie. ifi me. to me this is satan's graters lie. if i had a dog they would come back with this in its mouth, and it would all be chewed up.|j back with this in its mouth, and it would all be chewed up. i feel that i've been deceived. we used to think, when we got started individually in this, that we were wrong. we have one thing in common. we live on a flat plane. when you're watching videos at home, it'sjust you when you're watching videos at home, it's just you and the screen. when you're watching videos at home, it'sjust you and the screen. and it'sjust you and the screen. and it's lonely. i came here because i needed to see what flat earth people look like, andl needed to see what flat earth people look like, and i was not disappointed. they look normal. very few people overweight. about ao% of them are cigarette smokers, and only
four of them that i met up from around here. —— are from around here. no one likes this uncomfortable feeling of being this tiny ball, flying through space, you know, in this vast, endless universe. so as far as what is underneath this, i don't know. could be this thickness. it doesn't even have to be that thick, because we can only drill down eight miles. heck, if this is only 50 miles thick, we don't know. don't take my word for it. i could be a mental patient recently released from an institution. once i decided that i had to go with it being flat, based on my gut feeling, and commonsense evidence, then i was looking around to see who was making a working model of the flat earth, and i couldn't find it anywhere. i guess i was the chosen one, or the calling,
because i had the skills to do this. ijust because i had the skills to do this. i just put because i had the skills to do this. ijust put some icing here, because the sun, as it goes around, pretty much keeps this area melted. well, i've watched over 50 hours of video. so i went down to the seashore, done in newjersey. and i did my own testing. you take a straight edge, and you go from one end, and you follow the... the horizon of the ocean, and you go straight edge just to the other end, and it's flat. hague, people need a hobby —— hey. and you can get in touch with me and most of the team on twitter. i'm @bbcmikeembley. hi there.
for many of us, wednesday is going to dawn on a pretty grey and cloudy day. competing weather stories, really. for wednesday, we've got a big ridge of high pressure keeping the weather quiet across much of the uk, however a small area of low pressure has just trickled underneath the high and has brought us a lot of cloud across england, thick enough to bring us some outbreaks of patchy rain and drizzle particularly across eastern england first thing in the morning. elsewhere, a few fog patches up over high ground, notably across the higher parts of wales and south—west england so one way or another, for many of us, it's going to be quite a cloudy start but at least that early morning patchy rain across eastern england will be clearing out of the way. so with a bit more detail, the morning forecast — a bit grey over the tops of the brecon beacons,
the moors of south—west england with some hill fog patches here. could have a bit of fog over the salisbury plain, perhaps a bit misty for the downs and the chilterns first thing, otherwise we'll have this thick cloud continuing to bring some patchy outbreaks of rain just for the first part of the morning. but that rain will clear away pretty quickly. a few fog patches in the valleys of northern ireland where it's going to be a chilly start to the day. some sunshine for scotland, yes, but it's cold — temperatures low enough for a touch of frost across sheltered northern areas. as we go on through the rest of wednesday, that rain should clear out of the way but it will stay cloudy across the midlands and eastern england for most of the day. the weather brightens up for north—west england and wales with some sunny spells here but no doubt about it, the best of the sunshine will be across scotland, particularly eastern areas. rain, though, threatening the western isles as we go on through the afternoon. now, through wednesday evening and overnight, we'll see rain becoming a bit more extensive across western areas. always rather patchy in nature nevertheless, but nevertheless, some damp weather pushes its way in. this is the cold front reaching
scotland and northern ireland, bringing further heavier rain towards the end of the night. so, turning wet here. now, looking at the weather charts through thursday, this cold front will be sliding its way southwards across england, bringing a spell of heavy rain. round about lunchtime across northern england, heading into the midlands and across wales too. to the south of this, a lot of cloud. behind the front, that's where we're going to see a big clearance. and much more in the way sunshine moving into northern ireland, scotland and the north of england. this is bbc news, the headlines: loud explosions and gunfire have been heard in the zimbabwean capital. an officer has appeared on tv denying claims of a coup and saying president mugabe is safe. he said the situation would return to normal once criminals around the president who had caused social and economic suffering had been brought tojustice. australians have voted in favour of legalising same—sex marriage in an historic postal survey. more than 61% of voters support the move. the un has warned that the catastrophic humanitarian crisis in yemen is worsening, and that unless aid is let in millions more lives will be at risk. some 80% of the country relies on aid to survive. extreme hunger and disease
are already killing an estimated 130 children a day. australians have voted in favour of legalising same—sex marriage in an historic postal survey. more than 61% of voters support the move. prime minister malcolm turnbull said his government would now aim to change the law by christmas. now on bbc news, panorama. tonight, the fraudsters helping bogus students rip off student loans. they're targeting private colleges backed by the government to open up higher education to all. for a cut of the student's loan or cash, fraudsters