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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 17, 2017 5:00am-5:31am GMT

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this is bbc news. i'm lewis vaughan jones. our top stories: celebrities under threat. new evacuation orders in california as the flames spread towards the homes of the rich and famous. the un security council considers a resolution which would challenge president trump's recognition ofjerusalem as israel's capital. the family of the canadian billionaire couple found dead in their home criticise the media and the police over speculation about the cause of their deaths. rescuers in southern chile are searching for survivors after a deadly mudslide engulfed a village. and hitting new heights. the world's steepest funicular railways opens in switzerland. hello, and welcome.
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celebrities in california have shared their fears as raging wildfires spread towards their homes. new evacuation orders were issued as a huge wildfire flared up again in santa barbara county. the blaze, which has been named the thomas fire, is the third—largest in the state since reliable records began. meteorologists say fresh northerly winds are likely to drive the flames towards the pacific coast. sarah corker has the latest. fierce winds are driving one of the biggest fires in california's history towards the wealthy neighbourhood of montecito. they have or are you destroyed more than 700 homes. now another 18,000 are at risk, as the flames moved towards the coast. strong winds out of the north, pushing the fire back downhill. some extremely dusty, cold, and relatively humid to come but it is a very hazardous
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firefighting environment. this area north—west of los angeles is home to many celebrities, including 0prah winfrey, who tweeted: and earlier this week, talk show host ellen degenerate as, who was forced to leave her home, posted this to thank firefighters. —— degeneres. and west wing actor rob lowe shared shocking photos of the fire raging close to his house. playful santa barbara, he wrote. tens of thousands of people have fled. this is what they are escaping from. 8000 firefighters are working around the clock to try to contain this mammoth blaze called the thomas fire. two people have been killed. the fire has been burning for nearly two weeks, blackening everything in its path. it is pretty crazy. and to
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sleep last night about midnight, and woke up to the roar of this fire coming through at three a.m.. these trees at the base of the park are going to go up soon, that is what they are telling us. and the fake -- thick, billowing smoke is causing breathing problems across santa barbara county. the community can come by the station, we have masks sitting out on the patio in front of the station and they are as welcome to as many as they would like stop the authorities say 40% of the fire is contained. it with winds of up to 60 miles an hourforecast, via fighters are battling to protect coastal cities and towns. —— firefighters. the un security council is considering a draft resolution affirming that any unilateral decision on the status ofjerusalem must be rescinded. the proposal comes in response to america's decision to recognisejerusalem as israel's capital. the draft resolution was circulated by egypt. it calls upon member states to
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refrain from establishing diplomatic missions injerusalem refrain from establishing diplomatic missions in jerusalem and refrain from establishing diplomatic missions injerusalem and stipulates that a unilateral decision on the status of the city wouldn't have legal effect and should be rescinded. the move follows president trump's decision earlier this month to recognisejerusalem as israel's capital, a decision which prompted international condemnation and has led to protest in the middle east and elsewhere. following that decision, arab foreign ministers agreed to seek a security council resolution, and it is possible the measure could be voted on early next week. but although it has brought support, the resolution will almost certainly be vetoed by the united states. —— broad support. meanwhile, the palestinian movement fatah has called for protests to be held when us vice president mike visits jerusalem next week. it is the latest action urged by the palestinians against mr trump's decision. police investigating the
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deaths of a 75—year—old canadian billionaire and his wife say the circumstances appear suspicious. barry sherman, who founded a major pharmaceutical company, was found dead with his wife honey at their mansion in toronto. reports say there was no sign of forced entry. lorenda reddekopp is a reporter for cbc news in toronto. she gave me the latest on the investigation. the autopsies were supposed to have been done today, but we haven't heard what those autopsies revealed. but at the scene today there were police vehicles, they were there all day long, at one point, it was six police cars lined up one in front of the other in front of the house and one of those vehicles was a forensics identification van. there is still yellow police tape up in front of that mansion. as well, a few people, two people who say that they were employees of that company that
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barry sherman founded, this was back in the 1970s, they left bouquets of flowers just outside the home and both of those employees were incredibly upset, they were actually both in tears. they say that he was a very nice man, kind man and theyjust couldn't believe this news. we have also heard reactions from pretty high—profile canadians, even the prime minister has responded on this and that is because he was one of canada's wealthiest people, worth multi—billions of dollars and also they were such philanthropists. they donated many millions of dollars to foundations, organisations, also hospitals and schools, there were buildings that had his name on them. it is such a shocking scene at that site where it is such a wealthy neighbourhood, a quiet street, people just couldn't believe that something like this could happen. and has there been any reaction from the family? well, the family has actually
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released a statement and that is because some news outlets today were reporting that this was as a result of a murder—suicide, that is not something that i was yet reporting, but late today the family actually did actually issue a statement and they really strongly criticised police and also those media outlets. i am going to read you a couple of lines that statement. it reads in part: "we are shocked and think it is irresponsible that police sources have reportedly advised the media of a theory which neither theirfamily, their friends, nor their colleagues believed to be true." and so police officially haven't said much, just saying that they don't believe anybody entered the home using forceful entry and that they don't believe anyone else was in the home at the time of these deaths. they actually haven't even officially released the couples names as the people who were killed in this case. they say they are going to be waiting for the autopsies
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and also their investigation before they release any further details. at least five people have been killed and 15 are missing after torrential rains caused a landslide in chile. a river of mud hit the town of villa santa lucia, burying dozens of houses. rescue workers are now searching for survivors. nimesh thaker reports. on arrival, rescue teams could see most of the village, including its school, several homes and roadways were destroyed by the landslide. local media reported that the region had experienced unusually heavy, persistent rain for the previous 2a hours. more than 11.5 inches fell in a short period. the alert level in the area had been raised to red. with water and electricity supplies cut, and major road networks blocked, president michelle bachelet declared a state of emergency. dozens of people have been airlifted out of the disaster zone to medical centres.
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search and recovery teams say they are determined to follow up reports of missing people. forecasts according to the interior ministry suggest weather conditions were expected to improve. the mudslide also destroyed a voting centre which was preparing for chile's presidential election on sunday. nimesh thaker, bbc news. federal police in australia have charged a man in sydney they suspect of acting as an economic agent to broker the sale of missiles and military expertis e from north korea. they named him as chan han choi, who is originally from south korea. police said they believed he also tried to facilitate the sale of coal from north korea to vietnam and indonesia to help raise foreign currency for cash—strapped pyongyang. senior members of austria's far—right freedom party have been given top level roles
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in the country's new coalition government. they reached a deal with the larger conservative people's party — whose 31—year—old leader, sebastian kurz, will become chancellor. from vienna, bethany bell reports: austria has a new government, and it is right wing. sebastian kurz of the people's party has done a deal with the far—right, traditionally eurosceptic freedom party. but he says his government will be strongly pro—eu. translation: we have agreed on a pro—european outlook with the aim of strengthening subsidiarity in the european union. a european union which should be stronger on the big issues and holds itself back on small issues. while the parties do not always agree on europe, they both take a hard line on migrants. the freedom party leader said the new government would crack down on illegal immigration and cut benefits for refugees.
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translation: the minimum income for asylum seekers will be reduced to 365 euros per month, and those being integrated into society will receive an integration bonus in the amount of 155 euros. primary care for asylum seekers will be more supported with more material and funds than before. the freedom party is thejunior partner in this coalition, but it has come away with some significant posts — the interior, defence and foreign ministers. it has been a significant player in austrian politics for years, but it has been troubled by its past. it was formed by former nazis in the 1950s. these days, it routinely expels or suspends party members who veer towards neo—nazi ideology.
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the freedom party has toned down some of its more extreme rhetoric in recent years, but many observers believe it has helped to set a right—wing agenda not just here in austria, but across europe. bethany bell, bbc news, vienna. stay with us on bbc news — still to come, death by smog. london's fatal four—day pea—souper. we hear from the scientist who helped clean up the city's air after thousands perished. after eight months on the run, saddam hussein has been tracked down and captured by american forces. saddam hussein is finished because he killed our people, our women, our children. the signatures took only a few minutes but they brought a formal
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end to 3.5 years of conflict that has claimed over 200,000 lives. before an audience of world leaders, the presidents of serbia, bosnia and croatia put their names to the peace agreement. the romanian border was sealed and silent today. romania has cut itself off from the outside world in order to prevent the details of the presumed massacre in timisoara from leaking out. from sex at the white house to a trial for his political life. the lewinsky affair tonight guaranteed bill clinton his place in history as only the second president ever to be impeached. this is bbc news. the latest headlines: authorities in california have issued new evacuation orders as a huge wildfire flares up again in santa barbara county. it's the third largest blaze in the state since records began. the un security council considers
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a resolution which would challenge president trump's recognition ofjerusalem as the capital of israel. south african president jacob zuma has warned that the ruling african national congress is at a crossroads. he was speaking as delegates met to choose his successor as party leader. during his speech mr zuma, whose presidency has been blighted by corruption allegations, called for an end to ‘party infighting'. 0ur africa editor fergal keane has more. not since the anc came to power 23 years ago has so much depended on the votes of its party members. an organisation that held together through more than eight decades of white rule is now bitterly divided. they sing the same song, but support very different visions. this conference isn'tjust about the future of a liberation movement, a political party.
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it's about the future of this country. will the anc elect a new leader who has promised to sweep away corruption? the anc has always been good at shows of unity, like the clasped hands of the two contenders, dr dlamini—zuma and the man targeting corruption, cyril ramaphosa, both vying for delegates' votes. who would you like to see as your next president? nkosaza na dlamini—zuma. nkosazana dlamini—zuma, she's going to be the president. definitely? yeah, definitely. you'll see, you'll see. you can see, look at the numbers. who do you think will be the next leader? cyril ramaphosa with be the president, no doubt. the mandate is for cyril ramaphosa to be the next president of the african national congress and to be the next president the republic of south africa. dr dlamini—zuma is a senior
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politician in her own right, but is also the ex—wife of jacob zuma. cyril ramaphosa could prove his nemesis if he makes good on his anti—corruption rhetoric. the president's allies have sought to portray ramaphosa as the puppet of greedy white business, hence this swipe in his speech. we need to find ways of protecting the anc from corporate greed and ensure that the decisions we take are informed by the policies of the anc and are not dictated by... are not dictated to by business interests. africa's oldest liberation movement is fraying, even in the face of poignant pleas for unity. whoever is elected leader tomorrow will inherit a party in crisis. fergal keane, bbc news, johannesburg. let's ta ke
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let's take a look at other stories of. president trump has defended the tax plan, saying it will be a great christmas gift to middle income americans are. congress is expected to improve the legislation on tuesday after an agreement between the senate and house of representatives. tens of thousands of people have gathered on the streets of the breast for the state funeral of the country's last king, michael the first. he died earlier this month at the age of 96 and spent most of his time in exile in switzerland. thousands are thought to have died, after a thick polluted fog engulfed london forfour days in december 1952. the smog was so dense that visibility was just one metre. in response, the government passed the clean air act to reduce the use of smoky fuels.
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dr brian commins, who worked for the air pollution unit in the 1950s, spoke to the bbc‘s witness programme. reporter footage: ordinary fog does little harm, but smog, smoke and fog, has become one of the greatest mass murderers of modern times. the smog began on a friday, and it was black. it was described as a pea soup because it was a bit yellowish. you could smell it. it tasted a bit acidic. and it caused absolute havoc in the levels of pollution, they were horrendous. you could not see your feet. i remember on one particular occasion i wanted to cross a very wide road, and i shuffled across, and after 10 minutes i did not know where i was. and finally i ended up on the same side of the road as i started.
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it was extremely cold for several days. and, of course, londoners wanted to keep warm, because it was so cold, and so they burnt coal on their open fires. the pollution did not rise up, it tended to drift down and pervade the street and everything else. the smog got in everywhere, you couldn't avoid it. reporter footage: special filtering masks are the latest weapons designed to combat smog. quite a number of people had bronchitis because of industrial exposure and because they smoked. and, of course, when they breathed polluted air, this became very hard for them. reporter footage: heaven help the doctor on a night like this. what can you do when records
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and experience tell you that the city's death rate is about to jump. as many as 100,000 people in london were made ill by the pollution at the time, especially people with asthma, cardiovascular problems, and also, the very young and the elderly, they also suffered. reporter footage: if you looked at his x—ray, you would see plenty. we don't know exactly... and to see somebody fighting for air is a harrowing experience. breathing heavily. trying to get air into their lungs. and, of course, it would be dirty air, even in the wards. there were estimates that there were some 4000 excess deaths, and there was a shortage of coffins, because there were so many people who died. the government recognised we need
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to study this pollution, and that is why we had set up an air pollution research unit in barts hospital in central london. and i was a founding member of that unit in 1951, there were three of us. in 1956, the government decided to pass something called the clean air act to try and discourage and minimise the amount of smoke and fuel that was being used. reporter footage: new flats are a part of the campaign... we still had but as time went on, we had the availability of smokeless fuels like gas and oil. without that, we would have been in a bad way. switzerland is known
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for its transport challenges, with children regularly using cable cars to get to school. now the world's steepest funicular has been unveiled and opens to the public later. virginia langeberg reports up here, 1,300 metres above sea level, is not a view for the fainthearted. and transporting people up this steep swiss mountainside is not without its challenges. two years behind schedule, it has taken 1a years of building with a pricetag of $53 million. but the swiss are convinced their new funicular on the world's steepest line, is worth it. translation: to construct a tunnel with 110% gradient has rarely been done before. all the workers have to secure themselves. sometimes they have to work hanging in the ropes. we have to be very careful with the material. if you drop something, it falls all the way down.
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and what is even more dangerous, if you drop something, it could fall on the head of a worker down below. if the breathtaking climb itself doesn't leave you weak at the knees, standing upright in the carriages shouldn't be a problem either. they have been uniquely designed to allow the floors to adjust with the gradient as it travels. each carriage can carry 3a people at a speed of ten metres per second, meaning the climb or descent lasts no longer than four minutes. the line replaces an old funicular that had been operating between the valley town of schwyz to the mountain village of stoos since 1933. the new space—age—looking carriages have been hailed an engineering success. it remains to be seen whether it will help take the area's tourism to new heights. the skeleton of a woolly mammoth has sold at auction in france for more than six
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hundred thousand dollars. rhodri davies has more. it may be staggeringly big and staggeringly old, but it has lost none of its grace. a 15, 000—year—old woolly mammoth skeleton has been sold at auction in france. the ice age beast was found complete and frozen in siberia about ten years ago and was kept by a hunter. it retains 80% of its original bone. translation: here, you have an exceptional specimen, first because of its size, it is a very big one, 5.4 metres in length, 3.5 metres in height, three metre tusks, a gigantic weight of 160 kilograms. this is very important. in general, we find much smaller specimens. the male is believed to have been about 50 years old when it died, weighing nearly a tonne. it is a rare sale of the largest land mammal of all time. auctioneers sold another woolly mammoth skeleton in 2012
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for around $370,000. this time, the budget needed excluded many private museums. the deep pockets of a strasbourg based construction company won the lot for around $6a4,000. a record price for a mammoth skeleton. translation: since our logo is a mammoth, we couldn't do anything else but buy it. the company has deep pockets and plenty of room. we will put him at the firm's entrance, we have enough space. it becomes the largest of the species in the hands of a private owner, the auctioneers say. the giant that stood alongside early man captivating it once more. rhodri davies, bbc news. you're watching bbc news. good morning.
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after our wintry week of weather, it's all change on the weather front. the week ahead looks mild for all of us. there's also going to be a lot of dry weather in the story. but, unfortunately, not that much in the way of sunshine. it'll be quite cloudy. and we can see the first signs of that cloud spilling in from the atlantic through the night. now, ahead of it, we'll keep some clear skies. so, a west—east divide first thing in the morning. eastern areas could start cold, even frosty as well. but you will see brightness. patchy fog as well in the midlands and south—east england. that'll be slow to clear. here, temperatures hovering around just below freezing. further west, it's a different story. the milder air pushing in and turning wet and windy. in fact, some of that rain as it pushes into the higher grounds of scotland will be heavy for a time. the rain pushes into south—west
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wales and south—west england through the morning. the frost will lift. dry weather clouding over. by the middle of the afternoon, the rain does push south—east. that will give us quite a contrast into the afternoon. showery outbreaks of rain linger into the south—west. poor visibility with any height in the higher grounds of wales. a similar story in the pennines. the south—east, a wet end to the afternoon. the mild air behind it, 10 degrees in wales. and for northern ireland and scotland, not too bad. a real contrast to the morning. sunshine coming through, just a few isolated showers in the far north. but nowhere near as cold as it has been. rain continuing to sweep south overnight. briefly, the wind could swing around to a north—westerly for a time. and that means a slightly chilly start to monday morning in places. temperatures falling as low as six degrees. it also means we could have brightness to start
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with in eastern areas. but this is the trend for the early half of the week. high pressure building from the south and it is likely to stay there. weather fronts fringing the extreme north—west. the winds will revert to a south—westerly. a mild start to next week. a change to the feel of the weather if you have outdoor plans in the next few days. christmas holidays coming. cloud coming and double digits for all. whatever you do, enjoy. goodbye. this is bbc news. the headlines: authorities in california have issued new evacuation orders as a huge wildfire flares up again in santa barbara county. meteorologists said fresh northerly winds were likely to drive the flames from the fire towards the pacific coast. the blaze is the third—largest in the state since records began. the un security council is considering a draft resolution saying any unilateral decision on the status ofjerusalem should be rescinded, following
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president trump's move to recognise the city as israel's capital. diplomats say it has the backing of most council members but is likely to be vetoed by washington. police in canada say they're treating the deaths of the billionaire businessman barry sherman and his wife honey as "suspicious". the sherman family issued a statement urging police to conduct "a thorough, intensive and objective criminal investigation" into their parents' deaths and urged the media to avoid speculating on the cause. coming up at 6:00, breakfast, with ben thompson and rachel burden. but first on bbc news, politics europe.
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