welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: counting's underway in the alabama senate race. will controversial—republican roy moore be the winner? a change of tune on north korea. the us says it's ready to open talks without preconditions. ‘the world is losing its fight against global warming' — france's president macron gives other world leaders a blunt warning. also in the programme: on a red carpet not so far far away. the latest star wars film feels the royal force at its european premiere. hello. after weeks of scandal and vicious political in—fighting, it's still looking too
close to call in alabama. these are the live pictures from montgomery. we are expecting the republican roy moore to come out. he is still slightly ahead in the counting of the democrat royjones. mr moore has tried to brush off allegations of sexual misconduct. alabama has long been a deeply conservative republican stronghold. if the special senate election there has gone to a democrat, it would be the first time in a quarter of a century and has national implications. it could put at risk the slim republican majority in the senate. that would make it harder for that would make it harderfor mr trump to do what he promised in his election campaign. this is a deeply read state in the deep south, which you would have thought would have normally not thought twice about returning the republican candidate
to the senate, to succeed jeff sessions. but those allegations of sexual misconduct levelled against the republican candidate roy moore have turned everything on its head and have given the democratic rival jones everything to play for. the polls closed just over an hour ago and it is officially to close the call, according to the news outlets here in the united states. the democrats have been working hard to get out the black vote in birmingham, asi get out the black vote in birmingham, as i mentioned, but the fear of amongst republicans is that those white conservative voters could decide to stay at home, having been put off by those allegations levelled against roy moore. turnout it seems is probably going to be the key to all of this, but as you say quite astonishing that we're even in
this apparent neck and neck type situation in the first place. who would have thought itjust a few months ago. there could hardly be a more dramatic choice between the two candidates of course. absolutely. roy moore is an archconservative, a formerjudge, a roy moore is an archconservative, a former judge, a man roy moore is an archconservative, a formerjudge, a man who twice had to give up his seat on the state supreme court after flouting federal orders there. that was against doug jones, a former us local attorney general, a man who prosecuted several members of the ku klux klan in the past. that was in alabama. jarvis jones's statement about being pro—choice has alarmed some voters down there. —— doug. it's a very deeply conservative state, alabama. but roy moore remains very controversial because all these allegations of sexual misconduct
that have been levelled to him. president trump initially tepid in his support for roy moore has been more. called of late, —— full throttled of late. but those in the party are very dubious about roy moore and there is every indication that should roy moore pull off a victory in this race, then he will be subject to an ethics enquiry by members of the senate, which could result in him being expelled from the chamber. we will bring you more on that of course as soon as we have something we can confirm. let's take a look at some of the other stories making the news. liberia's electoral commission has announced the second round of the elections will take place on the 26th of december, following a court challenge. former soccer star george weah faces vice—presidentjoseph boakai in the poll that was held up for several weeks. the successful candidate will replace ellenjohnson sirleaf as president.
firefighters in los angeles say a wildfire which swept through bel air, one of the city's most exclusive neighbourhoods, started in a homeless encampment. the fire is one of several that has destroyed hundreds of homes and forced more than 100,000 people to evacuate. us prosecutors have brought federal charges against the man suspected of bombing the city's main bus terminal on monday. three people suffered minor injuries. akayed ullah was badly hurt when he set off a pipe bomb strapped to his body. he'd made a facebook post critical of president trump on the day of the attack. the us secretary of state rex tillerson says washington is ready to enter into talks with north korea, without conditions. tillerson made the comments in a speech in washington, dc. he added that pyongyang must be willing to change course in its nuclear and missile programmes. andrew plant reports. we have said, from the diplomatic side, we are ready to talking —— talk anytime north korea
would like to talk and we are ready to have the first meeting without preconditions. let's just meet, and we can talk about the weather if you want. we can talk about whether it is going to be a square table or a round table, if that's what you are excited about. but can we at least sit down and see each other face to face. and then we can begin to lay outa map, a roadmap, of what we might be willing to work towards. i don't think — it's not realistic to say we are only going to talk if you come to the table ready to give up your programme, we have too much invested in it. and the president is very realistic about that as well. so it's really about how do you even begin the process of engagement, because we are dealing with a new leader in north korea that really no one has engaged with.
steve mcdonnell is our correspondent in seoul. i asked him whether this was a sign that the trump administration was now softening its stance on north korea. it does seem like the us trump administration is offering something of an olive branch and let's assume they are being genuine in this, it does seem to be an attempt to break the gridlock which we have at the moment. what's on offer is an initial meeting without preconditions and then for further talks to keep happening, there would have to be some sort of progress. rex tillerson said this was without preconditions but he did add that america would require what he described as a period of silence from north korea in terms of further nuclear and missile tests. he says no preconditions. that is something of a precondition. but beyond that, he is saying we can talk about anything and it is an indication that they do seem to be wanting to just somehow
or other open up a dialogue is at the moment, we've got nothing and this comes at the same time that north korea's leader at a munitions conference has pledged to make his nation the greatest nuclear—powered country on earth. so there is quite a gap to be bridged here. the white house has said there is no policy shift, the president's views on north korea have not changed. we have seen in recent times different views from the us president than his own secretary of state with rex tillerson talking about having some sort of talks and donald trump saying the time for talk is over, we had to get tough. i'm not quite sure what is going on in terms of communication however in terms of a meeting, it is interesting because north korea does crave this type of credibility. they would love to have some sort
of meeting with the united states and over the years, north korea, for example, has wanted diplomatic recognition from the us and it could be this as the way forward to start some sort of dialogue but the positions they have are so different. the us says, this is going to start a process which might lead towards denuclearisation. the north koreans have shown they are not prepared to go down that path and so we have to very different positions and up until now, the deadlock. we'll have to see what comes out of pyongyang in the coming hours in terms of what they make of this offer from the trump administration. the french president emmanuel macron has warned that the world is losing the battle against climate change. he was speaking at the one planet summit in the french capital two years after the historic paris agreement.
mr macron said the rise in global temperatures had become a permanent emergency and nobody could claim they did not know. the bbc‘s lucy williamson reports from paris. the french president has a way of sending messages. this one involved a river cruise. his guests — kings, prime ministers and business leaders — may have different visions and different values, it seemed to say, but when it comes to the future of the planet, we're all in the same boat. and two years after the paris agreement, mr macron said it was heading for a fall. translation: we're losing this battle. those who came before us had an advantage, they could say they didn't know and it was true but for the last 20 years or so, we have known and we are finding out more every day. the world bank has said it will stop funding oil and gas exploration from 2019 and there are new commitments from business on renewable energy. but how much will these commitments mean without the world's only superpower? us president donald trump has said his country is pulling out of the paris agreement,
and mr macron‘s show of solidarity is partly aimed at him. just along the river from the summit venue is a reminder of france's long relationship with america — its shared history, shared values. emmanuel macron has been positioning himself as a global leader on human rights and democracy and now on climate change, but this time, at least, donald trump isn't here. before the meeting, the british prime minister, theresa may, met mr macron at the elysee palace, another bilateral relationship undergoing change. but few of the agreement‘s most powerful leaders were here in paris. this meeting was less about policies and more about a political message — that with or without the united states, this agreement will survive. lucy williamson, bbc news, paris. at least one person has been killed
and a team others hurt in a huge explosion which rocked our gas hub in austria. it was at a major hub for import of russian gas just east of the capital, vienna. the explosion sent gas prices soaring and a state of emergency was declared over the supplies of gas. austria's main gas pipeline hub, baumgarten, in flames. an explosion at the plant set off a major fire. the blaze could be seen for miles. firefighters rushed to the scene. one person was killed. the injured were taken to nearby hospitals. production at the plant was suspended. translation: we switched to a security mode, as we always do when something like this occurs. the gas flow was stopped in order not to make the situation any worse. all people working on the site were then evacuated. the blaze was eventually brought under control.
it appears to have been caused by a technicalfault. the baumgarten plant in eastern austria is a key hub for import of russian gas, which is sent on to a number of european countries. the company says supplies to austria were secured but deliveries to the south and south—east have been affected. translation: the gas supply towards italy in the south is now limited. the market gas providers in the neighbouring market and gas traders were of course informed. we are in regular contact. we can't say at this time when distribution will return to normal. italy, the largest recipient of gas from baumgarten, has declared a state of emergency. gas prices soared. an investigation is under way. it's not yet clear when the plant will go back online. bethany bell, bbc news, vienna. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: born with her heart
outside her body. meet the baby girl who's undergone a pioneering operation. john lennon was shot at the entrance to the dakota building, in the centre of new york. there's been a crowd here standing in more or less silent vigil. and the flowers have been piling up. the 14th ceasefire of this war ended at the walls of the old city of dubrovnik. this morning, witnesses said shells were landing every 20 seconds. people are celebrating the passing of a man they hold responsible for hundreds of deaths and oppression. elsewhere, people have been gathering to mourn his passing. imelda marcos, the widow of the former president of the philippines, has gone on trial in manila. she's facing seven charges of tax evasion. she pleaded not guilty.
the prince and princess of wales are to separate. a statement from buckingham palace said the decision had been reached amicably. this is bbc news. the latest headlines: voting has closed in the american state of alabama in an election which could affect republican control of the us senate, and where the party's candidate, roy moore, is accused of preying on teenage girls. it is still looking very close. the american secretary of state, rex tillerson, has said the us government is willing to talk to north korea without preconditions. it appears to be a change from previous demands that the north must first disarm. a baby girl born with her heart outside her body has survived in what's thought to be the first case of its kind in the uk. the baby, who is three—weeks—old, has undergone three operations to place her heart
back within her chest. it follows a similarly successful operation on a baby in texas. our medical correspondent fergus walsh's exclusive report contains some graphic images. good girl. yeah, who's a beautiful girl. their pride and joy. this is vanellope, astounding her parents and doctors with her progress. after three operations in three weeks, her heart is now back inside her chest. vanellope's parents say the moment she was born they knew she was a fighter. she came out kicking and screaming. then she gave all the surgeons aggro, didn't she? yeah. it was a beautiful moment, weren't it?
the family knew from the first ultrasound that vanellope's heart was outside her chest. you can clearly see its unusual position which is due to the absence of a sternum or breast bone. babies with this rare condition are usually stillborn. but immediately she emerged during the caesarean section doctors could see that vanellop's heart was beating strongly. within minutes, they were preparing herfor surgery, covering the chest with a sterile bag for protection. now three weeks on, her heart is back where it should be, covered with her own skin. vanellope is going to be here for some considerable time. the next step will be getting her to breathe without the help of a ventilator. then, in years to come, she faces more surgery to create a new sternum to protect her heart. there may be strategies whereby we can put some internal boning protection in, whether that's with 3d printing, either of something plastic or maybe even something organic that might grow with her. this little girl was born in texas with the same condition and was allowed home
after three months. doctors created a special chest shield to protect her heart. audreena is now five years old and still doing well. that is the hope for vanellope. she faces a long road ahead, but has already confounded predictions. fergus walsh, bbc news, leicester. a former american sergeant who defected to north korea at the height of the cold war has died. charlesjenkins was one of four us soldiers to abandon his unit, fearing he would be killed in patrols or sent to fight in the vietnam war. he was a prisoner in pyongyang for nearly a0 years until his release in 200a. the bbc‘s celia hatton reports. this was charlesjenkins, arriving injapan after spending 37 years in north korea. as a young american soldier, he wanted to avoid ongoing military duty and being sent to fight in vietnam.
he says after getting drunk one night he walked across the border into north korea, hoping russian forces fighting at the time would capture him and eventually let him go home to the us. that didn't happen. instead, charlesjenkins was kept in north korea, eventually marrying a japanese woman who'd been abducted by the north koreans. they made the best of it, falling in love and having two daughters. then, they were separated. an agreement brokered between the thenjapanese prime minister, junichiro koizumi, and the late north korean leader, kim jong—un, negotiated forjenk‘s wife, hitomi soga, to return to japan. years later, charlesjenkins followed, agreeing to serve a 30—day sentence as punishment for deserting the us military. time served, charlesjenkins returned to relative isolation, working in a gift shop and living the rest of his life in his wife's rural hometown. celia hatton, bbc news.
monday night was the coldest this yearin monday night was the coldest this year in the uk. there was fresh disruption for travellers and schools were closed for a second day running. a bed of snow with freezing conditions — across parts of the midlands it's not been easy, icy roads and extremely cold temperatures. for the children, though, it's been another day off school. we've been obviously sledging, snowball fights. we've been like building snowmen. yeah. here in shropshire, more than 200 schools were closed and in gloucestershire and herefordshire almost 100 remained shut. it is pretty difficult trying to find them things to do. you know, keep them occupied.
when you've got childcare issues and you're working full—time then, obviously, it would be disruptive to you because obviously the schools are closing on a day—to—day basis and you're not knowing until that last—minute. obviously, it's very disruptive to the home. well, it's bitterly cold here, the temperature is around minus four celsius and there's no sign of this snow melting any time soon. as night falls, the temperatures are expected to plunge even further. in the west midlands, it was a similar story — more schools closed than open. some councils have been criticised for advising them not to re—open even though many roads have been cleared. so the initial advice, last friday, was to all schools to close. we have now changed that advice to say the decision should be made locally depending on whether you can get school transport to the school and whether or not it's safe to do so in consideration of the roads and other conditions. more than 200 homes in the region were without power this morning. tomorrow is likely to present its own challenges.
with rain coming in from the west, some of the snow will be turned to ice, making roads and pathways even more slippery. sima kotecha, bbc news, shropshire. the royal premiere of the latest star wars movie has been held at london's royal albert hall a0 years since the first movie that spawned one of the most successful film franchises in history. princes william and harry were on the red carpet, and in a first for the royal family, in the movie, but you'd be hard—pressed to spot them. this report from our entertainment correspondent, lizo mzimba, contains some flash photography. the stars of star wars, cinema royalty, on the red carpet with actual royalty. princes william and harry, such fans of the saga, during filming, they secretly played cameos as stormtroopers, much to the excitement of the cast. it was great, fantastic. fantastic. phenomenal. and they've done an official visit as well. they got in an x—wing and all that kind of stuff. it was fun. alljust one more indication
of the impact the series has made since its return. one key factor in the recent success of star wars has been the expansion of its own universe, with respect to on—screen representation of both race and gender. i think movies start a conversation. it's a wonderful place for a reflection of societial changes, hopefully and progress. action. shot here in the uk at pinewood studios, the films are amongst some of the most expensive ever made, ensuring they connect with 21st century audiences is crucial. it's five years since some questioned the wisdom of disney paying around $4 billion for lucasfilm and the right to keep making star wars films. the first new movie made $2 billion at the global box office. now the deal is looking like one of the better hollywood bargains. telling a wonderful story, creating characters that people care
about — we pay attention to all those things inside these movies and hopefully, then shareholders and business and everything that goes along with it are happy. we always start with that. the strategy has ensured continuing adulation from fans and helped disney consolidate its position as hollywood's top studio. liza mzimba, bbc news. scientists in britain have suggested that bumblebees are much more intelligent than was previously thought. in a study, the bees were given the task of finding the most efficient routes between different sources of food. they quickly learned to refine their flight paths despite attempts to distract them. the researchers say understanding how pollinating insects hunt for food could help ease the threat from intensive agriculture and loss of habitat. before we go, listen to this.
piano plays. this is officially the most number of people playing a piano piece at the same time. 20 bosnian youngsters set a guinness world record for the performance in sarajevo. the previous record was 18 playing simultaneously in italy in 2014. we willjust go back to the story from the us state of alabama. these are the live pictures from montgomery, alabama. at some point they expect roy moore to appear. things are moving very fast. there are some reports suggesting the democrat is ahead, but not all votes are counted. it is still too close to call. if it happened, it would be a political earthquake, as this is a long—term republican stronghold. it would be the first time in a quarter ofa would be the first time in a quarter of a century if that happened. no
results yet. thank you for watching. well, the weather story is getting a bit messy now during the middle of the week. and although we will see cold air through the middle of the country, there is still the risk over the next few days of some snow and also further ice. and we are starting wednesday morning off with the risk of ice across scotland and england. that is because we have overnight rain moving through, falling on freezing surfaces, then skies will clear for a time during wednesday morning before the next bout of rain moves in. so this is where we will see the ice risk ahead of this next rain band. and it will be quite showery pushing into much of scotland and north—west england and northern ireland, quite a messy commute to work in the morning. a lot of standing water around because there will be a little bit of snow melt as those temperatures will be a little less cold than we have had over the last few mornings. snow will be falling over the mountains of scotland and maybe a little bit of sleetiness over the higher ground of wales, too. but generally speaking, it is going to be of mostly rain here, combined with
the snow melt elsewhere. this is bbc news. the headlines: counting is still under way in the us state of alabama. it has been a very ha rdfought us state of alabama. it has been a very hardfought election for the senate. it is looking to close the call, but with 90% of votes counted at the moment the democrat is ahead, which would be a political earthquake if this special election goes to a democrat. it would be the first time in 25 years. it could
give the republican majority in the senate. now it's time for panorama. how have simple medical devices left thousands of women in total agony? i think when you have this amount of pain, it's horrendous, really horrendous. american manufacturers have made huge profits but are now paying out millions of dollars in damages. how can they sleep at night knowing that they injure thousands and thousands of women? tonight on panorama — we reveal one of the world's biggest medical companies who failed to fully inform doctors of the extent of the risks. if you knew there was a problem, you should have told everybody. and how permanent mesh implants were put inside women before long—term human studies were completed.
they're experimental test subjects. they put money in front of the health and safety of women. panorama has been in contact with dozens of women who are in extreme pain. they've been recording their stories. it's 25 to 5. once again i'm not sleeping. can't sit upright. it's like needles digging into my groin. they're suffering after an operation they were told was the gold standard. it can feel like glass, actual like broken glass. that's the way i'd describe it. i'm sore all the time, tired all the time.
can't do anything. it really has ruined my life. i've counted them many times, every one of the 49. each of the 49 steps to get to claire daisley‘s flat is a struggle. do you want a rest? i tell myself only a few. three more. this is claire seven years ago. like many women, child birth left her with a weakened bladder. so she had an operation to fix it. she was told it was a simple procedure. 20 minutes, 25 minutes. new woman. sort you out. gold standard.