and this is bbc news. i am christian fraser. the headlines at 11pm: robert mugabe's decades in power seem to be over following a military takeover in zimbabwe. he's now under house arrest in the capital harare. armoured vehicles are patrolling the streets, but military leaders claim they haven't mounted a coup. we wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover of government. the husband of nazanin zaghari—ratcliffe, the british woman jailed in iran, has finally met the foreign secretary borisjohnson. scotland is to become the first country in the world to set a minimum price for alcohol, following a ruling by the supreme court. and on newsnight, we look at mark zuckerberg's political ambitions. why is the facebook founder on a mission to meet the american people? and we asked where zimbabwe goes from here after 37 years of robert mugabe's dictatorship. good evening
and welcome to bbc news. military vehicles are patrolling the capital of zimbabwe tonight, as president robert mugabe remains under house arrest. the military are insisting this is not a coup, though it's clear they are seeking to block the progress to power of mr mugabe's wife, grace. the british embassy has advised uk nationals to stay indoors. our correspondent in zimbabwe, shingai nyoka, sent this report. this is what zimbabweans woke up to this morning — tanks on the streets of their capital city, something that has never happened in nearly a0 years of independence, followed by a statement from the military on state tv, saying the mugabe family was safe and that this was not a coup. what the zimbabwe defence forces is doing is to pacify
a degenerating political, social and economic situation in our country, which, if not addressed, may result in a violent conflict. overnight, president mugabe, the world's oldest leader, lost control of the country he has led for 37 years. and though the generals say he remains president, he is clearly no longer calling the shots. the presence of the military is being felt here on the streets of harare and some parts of the city are in lockdown. now, this is as close as we can get to some of the military tanks that have stationed themselves in strategic positions. one, as you can see here, has blocked off access to the president's office. there's another that has blocked off access to parliament. the president still has his supporters, especially in the rural areas, but here in harare, it is a different story. translation: we're going
to have a good life now. we're looking forward to christmas because of what has happened. we want to thank those who organised this and we want them to remain until our problems are resolved. translation: i want to thank the general for removing this tyrant. he was ruling the country as if it belonged to his family. much now depends on how zimbabwe's neighbours react to this situation, especially south africa. its president, jacob zuma, spoke on the phone to mr mugabe earlier and has now sent south africa's defence minister to assess the situation first—hand. i am hoping that the defence force will not move and do more damage, that they will be able to respect the constitution of zimbabwe as well as the people of zimbabwe. but ultimately, this takeover is down to a power struggle within zimbabwe's ruling zanu—pf.
last week, emmerson mnangagwa was sacked as vice president. a loyal ally, he was, like mugabe, a veteran of the country's struggle for independence. but in recent years, he's found himself up against this woman, grace mugabe, the president's young, ambitious and some would say ruthless wife, a one—time typist and now one of the most powerful political figures in the country, with plans to take over as vice president. she remains a divisive figure among party supporters. just last week, she was met with boos while attending a rally. i don't care! since the takeover, the military has begun to arrest those close to her and the british foreign office issued a warning to british nationals in the city. stay at home. stay in your hotel room. wait until things settle down a little bit. tonight, the city remains in relative calm. so far, a bloodless military takeover, but it leaves those
inside the country wondering what lies ahead. change is under way but whether it's the change zimbabweans have been yearning for is far from clear. shingai nkoya, bbc news, zimbabwe. robert mugabe has ruled since 1980, when zimbabwe, formerly known as rhodesia, officially gained independence from britain. our africa rditor fergal keane analyses how how the president has stayed in power for nearly four decades. robert mugabe is a leader who has outlived his epoch. from icon of the struggle against racist rule, to symbol of excess and repression, he has fallen hard and inflicted untold damage on his country in the process. there was a deceptive calm in salisbury, capital of rhodesia, on the day of udi, the declaration of independence. it was this world of white privilege and black exclusion he and other revolutionary leaders sought to overthrow. robert mugabe went to jail for ten years and later fled tojoin his guerillas in the bush.
a revolutionary war led to thousands of casualties but when apartheid south africa withdrew support from the rhodesian regime, it was forced into negotiations. whether they accept it or not is immaterial to us, really. they will have to accept it in as much as they must accept political domination. under the stewardship of the old british colonial power, there were elections, which robert mugabe won, promising forgiveness and tolerance. and bear true allegiance to zimbabwe and observe... but in power, a ruthless nature swiftly asserted itself. my government will never rest until those within that party who are responsible for organising the disturbance are crushed and crushed fully. in matabeleland province,
he used the army to crush supporters of a rival guerrilla army. it was a pitiless campaign of massacre, as i discovered when i went to investigate the atrocities. this is a country in a state of fear. everywhere you go, there are militia, police roadblocks and of course, the spies whom you can't see. the west stayed silent, believing robert mugabe was good for stability and had kept his promise to allow white farmers to hold their lands and lifestyle. but as opposition to his rule grew amid economic downturn, he turned on the white farmers, harnessing anger over long—festering grievances among the landless poor and veterans of the guerrilla war. his political opponents were terrorised, too. none of this troubled the army or the man tipped
to succeed mr mugabe, emmerson mnangagwa. he is another veteran of the liberation war and has been implicated in past massacres and corruption. there isn't much difference between mnangagwa and president robert mugabe himself. they may differ in terms of style and he's much younger than president robert mugabe but he has been part and parcel of the formation of zanu—pf. he has been behind the scenes. he has been the brains behind president robert mugabe. what forced him and his military allies into action was the inexorable rise of grace mugabe. her ostentatious spending shocked even some of the corrupt elite around the president. but it was her political plotting that finally forced the old revolutionaries of the army and the ruling party into action. there is among an older generation of africans some residual affection for a man once seen as an icon of liberation. but his old regional allies are dead and gone and many in his own country will be glad to see the end
of the age of mugabe. fergal keane, bbc news. the foreign secretary borisjohnson has held his first meeting with richard ratcliffe, the husband of nazanin zaghari—ratcliffe, the british—iranian woman in prison in iran. mrjohnson pledged to leave no stone unturned in trying to secure her freedom. our special correspondent lucy manning reports. he's waited 19 months. richard ratcliffe finally on his way to meet the foreign secretary, with his wife still in prison in iran. nazanin zaghari—ratcliffe, a dual citizen, was accused of trying to overthrow the iranian regime. today, her husband said the meeting was positive, but there were reservations about giving his wife diplomatic protection, and he's still waiting to hear if he can travel to iran with the foreign secretary. he said listen, i'm open to the idea, you know, i'd love you to come, but i need to check both with the foreign office officials whether they think it's a good idea and also with iran.
how closer do you think you are now to your wife coming home for christmas? well, the foreign secretary didn't make any promises. he promised to do his best. and you know, i couldn't ask for more than that. in terms of how close do i feel, it feels like with all the attention and concern, that can only be a good thing. but the foreign office has always been reserved that more attention makes it more complicated. mrjohnson upset the family two weeks ago, appearing to contradict her claim that she was just in iran on holiday. he spoke ahead of the meeting. people here in the foreign office and across government have been working very hard over the last 19 months to secure the release of nazanin zaghari—ratcliffe and indeed to solve some other very difficult consular cases in iran, and we're going to continue to do that, and we will leave absolutely no stone unturned. if you ask me if nazanin is still cross with him, yes she is still cross with him.
if you ask me if i'm cross, i'm not cross. me, i'm focused onjust bringing her home. and to bring home his three—year—old daughter gabriella, who is also still in iran. mr ratcliffe now has the publicity and the political profile, but will it help to ensure the release of his wife? the kind of concessions that the iranians want of the british government cannot be done publicly and it's much better to try and do these things behind the scenes, just as the kind of concessions that they have to give goes through a similar sort of stages. but with reports the charity worker's health is deteriorating, her husband hopes there can be a diplomatic solution. lucy manning, bbc news. scotland is to become the first country in the world to introduce a minimum price per unit of alcohol, after a long legal battle. the supreme court has ruled that it's a proportionate means of improving public health. our health editor, hugh pym, reports. in scotland, with 22 people dying
each week from alcohol problems, minimum pricing has been on the agenda for over five years, but it's only today the government can plan to implement it. though it won't be popular with everybody. it's not going to stop anybody buying it. it's probably quite a good thing. i actually work as a community psychiatric nurse, so we get a lot of people addicted to alcohol and things like that. the changes will mean prices of some of the cheapest alcohol in scotland increasing sharply. this four pack of beer costs £1.00, it's set to rise at least £4.00. this bottle of wine is currently £2.80, in future it'll be at least £4.69. and this £11.00 bottle of vodka will be at least £14.00. ministers were celebrating, saying it was a step forwards in tackling the country's unhealthy relationship with drink. the policy is, you know, by its very nature, controversial because, you know, again this is an example
of scotland leading the world. it will continue to have its critics, but it's the kind of bold and necessary policy that we need to tackle our public health challenges. the ruling followed attempts by the scotch whisky association to block minimum pricing, calling it a restriction on trade. they now say they accept the ruling. the scottish government's pioneering move will be watched closely around the uk. the welsh government wants to go ahead with a similar policy. there's sympathy for it in northern ireland. but in england a plan to introduce minimum alcohol pricing under the last government was later dropped. joanne wants to see change in england, her daughter megan was just 16 when she died after drinking strong cider at a party. it had costjust16p a unit. it's so cheap. you know, it's pocket money prices and the minimum unit pricing that's come in in scotland, you know, i'm ecstatic about. you know, it's fantastic news and hopefully it will roll out now just across the
rest of the country because that's what needs to happen. for retailers and manufacturers, there'll have to be a major rethink of how they market alcoholic drinks in scotland. what remains to be seen is the impact on drinkers and alcohol—related health problems. hugh pym, bbc news, glasgow. the head of britain's national cyber security centre has confirmed that russian hackers have targeted the uk media, telecoms and energy sectors over the past year. ciaran martin said it was a "cause for concern" and accused moscow of "seeking to undermine the international system." at least 15 people have died in flash floods in greece. three towns to the west of athens were hit by a torrent of water caused by heavy overnight rain. locals said the damage was on an unprecedented scale in the region. that's a summary of the news. newsday is coming up at midnight. now on bbc news it's time for newsnight with emily maitlis. we wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military
takeover of government. tonight, the dictator who said he wanted to live to 100 and rule for life is stuck in his house. is mugabe's regime at an end? and what happens to zimbabwe now? we'll ask two zimbabweans with very different perspectives, and later the africa minister, rory stewart. also tonight — is mark zuckerberg's tour of middle america a clue to presidential ambition? and if so, is the world ready for it? mark zuckerberg would have a very good chance of winning the election. if it was mark zuckerberg on donald trump in 2020? i'd say it would be close. and this... # and i'll take my place again. # if i would try...