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tv   BBC News  BBC News  February 18, 2018 1:00pm-1:31pm GMT

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this is bbc news, i'm ben brown. the headlines at one. brendan cox, the widower of the murdered mp, jo cox, resigns from two organisations set up in her memory after claims of sexual misconduct in the past. the education secretary says university tuition fees should reflect the economic benefit graduates will have to the country, ahead of a wide ranging review of higher education funding in england. president trump criticises the fbi for missing warning signals about wednesday's school shooting, describing it as unacceptable. a plane with 66 people aboard crashes in iran. it's not clear whether there are any survivors. also, emma watson donates £1 million to a new fund aimed at making uk workplaces safe for women. ahead of tonight's baftas, the actorjoined 200 female british and irish stars in signing a letter calling for an end to sexual harassment in all industries. we'll have all the latest action from the winter olympics
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as skeleton winners, lizzy yarnold and laura deas are presented with their gold and bronze medals. and africa express, a unique train journey between tanzania and zambia, that's in the travel show, in half an hour here on bbc news. good afternoon and welcome to bbc news. save the children, says the widower of the murdered labour mp, jo cox, resigned from a senior role at the charity in 2015 before an inquiry into a complaint of inappropriate behaviour was completed. brendan cox this morning stepped down from two organisations set up in her memory after admitting he had behaved inappropriately three years ago. but he rejects a separate allegation
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he assaulted a woman at harvard university in 2015. charlotte gallagher reports. the murder ofjo cox by a far right extremist stunned the nation. the labour mp and mother of two was shot and stabbed in the week before the eu referendum in 2016. in the months after her death, her widower, brendan cox, vowed to campaign in his wife's memory, and set up thejo cox foundation and more in common. now, following allegations of inappropriate behaviour against women, he has stood down from both charities. he was accused of harassing a female colleague at save the children, and assaulting a woman during a trip to harvard university in 2015. late last night, brendan cox apologised for his actions. "while i do not accept the allegations contained in the 2015 complaint to the police in cambridge, massachusetts, i do acknowledge and understand that during my time at save the children
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i made mistakes and behaved in a way that caused some women hurt and offence." the labour mp jess phillips, who was friends withjo cox, said he was right to stand down. i'm not defending his actions, i am trying to think about this person who i know and my friend who isn't here, and make sure that there is a change in the future. i don't defend any of this behaviour. a spokesperson for thejo cox foundation said staff admired mr cox's contribution and dedication to the charity. today, jo cox's sister said the family would support brendan cox as he endeavoured to do the right thing. charlotte gallagher, bbc news. the education secretary says university students should pay different amounts, to study different courses. damian hinds suggested that subsidies could be provided to fund more expensive degree courses, such as science and engineering.
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it comes as the prime minister prepares to outline details of a wide ranging review into higher education funding. but labour say another review isn't going to solve basic funding problems. tom barton reports. what's this worth? cheering. that's the question facing ministers as they try to address concerns over the cost of university, both to students and taxpayers. a review launching tomorrow to look at how degrees are funded and whether it's right that expensive science and engineering courses cost students the same as cheaper arts and humanities degrees. when the system was brought in, it wasn't anticipated that so many universities, so many courses, would all have the same fee for their course. there hasn't been as much variety that has come into the system as we would have expected and wanted, so i think it is right to ask questions about that and see
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what can be done to stimulate that diversity and variety. the review comes as mps from the commons treasury committee say interest rates as high as 6.1% on student loans are questionable. with many undergraduate in england accumulating £5,000 in interest whilst still studying, and leaving university with average debts of £50,000. many are seeing today's announcement as a response to labour's success with younger voters at last year's general election, after promising to end fees and reintroduce maintenance grants. we've had three announcements and reviews in the last 12 months and eight years of the conservatives that have damaged higher education and totally decimated our further education infrastructure, so another review really isn't going to solve the problem of the hike in interest rates which this government has done. tuition fees remain a divisive subject, something ministers hope
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this review will help address. earlier i spoke to nicholas barr, professor of public economics at london school of economics and an architect of the student loan, and asked him whether he thought the current loan system was working. ican i can understand the lack of public confidence because there have been so confidence because there have been so many changes to the system. the system introduced in 2006 was well thought through and reforms in 2012, which were mainly motivated by short—term we have got the right system but with the wrong gravity is, the interest rate is too high, the threshold is in the wrong place and the public do not understand that it is not a debt like credit card debt, it isa is not a debt like credit card debt, it is a payroll deduction alongside income tax and national insurance
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conflict contributions and should be seen as that. the interest rate is being seen by many students as iniquitous, 6%, around that figure anyway, which is a lot more than people are paying for their mortgage. absolutely. that high interest rate was a political fudge during the time of the coalition government. the correct interest rate on a student loan should be broadly equal to the government's cost of borrowing. students should have access to loans at the same low interest rate, the risk—free interest rate, the risk—free interest rate, the risk—free interest rate that the government can borrow at. it should be much lower than the current 6.1%. is the student loan system here, do you believe it is here to stay? there are many people who would like to see it abolished, but do you think it is here to stay? it has to be here to stay. as a nation we have to invest in higher education, but also
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we need to widen participation and there is so much preoccupation with there is so much preoccupation with the 50% of the people who ought to go to university but do not, or those where we ought to be spending more on tertiary education and apprenticeships and things like that. if you look at the system in the round you have to have a well—designed system of student loa ns. well—designed system of student loans. we have got to the right idea, but we have got to just adjust the parameters of the system so it works better. can i ask you the broader question with the government having a review of higher education funding and the education secretary talking about there might be more government subsidies provided to fund the more expensive degree courses. what do you think of that? science, engineering and those sort of degree courses being subsidised by the government. does that make sense? it has always been the case.
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degrees in science and medicine are incredibly expensive because they need all the kit. whereas a social science degree, like my own is subject, economics, chalk and talk, basically you need a lecturer and a powerpoint projector. it has always been the case they have been subsidised and so they should otherwise it makes no sense for people to train to become a scientist or a doctor and that would be barking mad. professor nicholas barr of the london school of economics. president trump has criticised the fbi for missing warning signals about wednesday's school shooting, describing it as unacceptable. in a tweet, he said the fbi's failure to stop the gunman, nikolas cruz, were because it was spending too much time investigating allegations of russian interference in the presidential election. he said the fbi needed to get back to basics. thousands of people in florida, including survivors of the shooting, have taken part in a rally to demand tighter gun controls in the united states. the event took place
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outside the court building in the city of fort lauderdale, a short distance from the school where cruz killed 17 people. laura westbrook reports. chanting: no more! outside the federal courthouse in fort lauderdale, this was the message to lawmakers. among the protesters was emma gonzales, who took cover on the floor of her school's auditorium as a gunman started shooting. she had this to say to donald trump. if the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened, and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, i'm gonna happily ask him how much money he received from the national rifle association. cheering and applause. what she's referring to is the millions of dollars the nra has given towards the trump campaign. on a visit to the hospital where the victims of the attack are being treated, the president once again made no mention
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of guns or gun control. instead, he says the problem is mental illness. just a few kilometres south of where the protest is being held, a gun show is taking place. in the us, there is as many guns in circulation as there are people. the nra is the most powerful lobbying organisation in the united states. they have successfully resisted every move to tighten gun controls and for their supporters, it is a fundamental freedom. when somebody infringes a right for persons in this country to keep and bear arms, then it's an infringement upon our rights as a violation of our civil liberties, now we have a bigger problem. we will be spending our times at funerals! but after yet another school shooting, anger among the younger generation is rising. anger comes to mind for the fact
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that all of this happened, but overall i cannot be angry at law enforcement, they did theirjob. i cannot be angry at the school, they did theirjob. this kid was expelled, he was put through the system and then he came back in with a gun and kill people. that was out of their power. all they could have done was make sure that somebody like that could not get a gun.|j done was make sure that somebody like that could not get a gun. i am feeling in shock, it is like i am dreaming. last night i was discouraged when people started going on about the tram investigation, which is important, but so are children's' lives. in fact, students across the country are planning a mass walk—out of schools in april — the anniversary of the columbine high school massacre. they are demanding adults listen to them and tighten gun control. laura westbrook, bbc news. church spires are going to be used to help people in rural areas get better access to mobile networks, broadband and wifi services. a deal between the government and the church of england aims to make it easier to put communication masts
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in spires and towers — as james waterhouse explains a church spire can often be the highest point of a village, and given that the church of england has more than 16,000 buildings of different kinds, government ministers are hoping these will give the perfect infrastructure to help more parts of the uk get better signal. they say this deal will make it easier for vicars and bishops to get this technology installed, and there's cash to be made. the rental is typically between £5,000 and £10,000, which can be equivalent or more to a normal income for a church for a year. now, conservationists may not like the idea of a mobile phone mast being bolted onto their local church. however, the government argues in many cases the technology can be hidden within the spire. they'll be rolled out over the next five years, and both parties will be hoping this signals better mobile phone coverage and internet for more parts of the uk. james waterhouse, bbc news.
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nearly 200 british stars of film, tv and stage have signed an open letter calling for an end to sexual harassment at work, ahead of tonight's bafta awards in london. emma thompson, keira knightley and emma watson are among the names listed in the letter, published in the observer. the stars are expected to wear black for tonight's bafta, in a show of solidarity with the hollywood movement time's up. a committee of mps has warned that a hard brexit could mean higherfood prices for consumers. a report by the commons environment, food and rural affairs committee also said failure to get a free—trade deal with the eu could be devastating for farmers. our business correspondent joe lynam reports. the peace and bucolic splendour of uk farmlands could be dramatically upset if britain fails to get a comprehensive free—trade deal post brexit. a key group of mps says consumers might also end up paying more forfood if the uk reverts to world trade organization rules.
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the environment, food and rural affairs committee of mps says a so—called hard brexit would have a devastating effect on rural communities. that's because 60% of uk food exports go to the eu and they could face much higher tariffs. the committee also said that britain should not dilute its own high food standards in order to sign new global trade deals, such as one with the us. we go into a sort of wto situation where there's tariffs on imported food that will actually drive food prices up. now, for some commodities, that will actually suit farming, but perhaps not the consumer if they have to pay more for theirfood. but the government has sought to soothe those concerns. it said that leaving the eu gave the uk a golden opportunity to secure ambitious free—trade deals while supporting our farmers and producers. it said it would not compromise on the uk's high environmental or welfare standards. joe lynam, bbc news.
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earlier i spoke to the national farmers union's director of eu exit and international trade, nick von westenholz. i began by asking him what safeguards were needed to protect the farming industry post—brexit. i think the important thing is that the government finds a way that it can maintain tariff free trade with the eu when most of our exports and imports are with the eu, and also to reduce to as low as possible those nontariff barriers like border checks. what we hear around friction at the border is the term used, to keep that at a minimum so we can continue to enjoy the high level of free trade we currently have. but there are going to be changes. it will not be like we were in the eu. yes, there will be changes. some of those changes will provide opportunities. we can over a period of time begin
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to look to extend markets overseas for british produce. we can also look to increase the amount of food we supply within these own shores. at the moment we are only 60% self—sufficient. but we are looking at an evolution rather than a revolution. the idea we might crash out of the eu in march 2019 or soon after and be trading on the basis of wto tariffs would be really quite damaging for uk farming. if we do seek other markets, are you worried about standards? we are looking in america, australia and new zealand and all those other countries. absolutely. we know uk consumers really value the production standards of uk farmers. they have high welfare, they look after the countryside that people enjoy so much, and throwing the doors open to world trade outside the auspices of a close relationship with the eu would mean that products produced
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to very different standards in terms of welfare and environment would have much freer access into our markets. what we would essentially be doing is reducing the amount of british produce on shop shelves and increasing the amount of imported produce where we have no control over how that is produced and what the environmental and welfare impacts of that produce is. the headlines on bbc news: brendan cox, the widower of the murdered mp, jo cox, has resigned from two organisations set up in her memory after claims of sexual misconduct in the past. the education secretary says university tuition fees should reflect the economic benefit graduates will have to the country , ahead of a wide ranging review of higher education funding in england. president trump criticises the fbi for missing warning signals about wednesday's school shooting, describing it as unacceptable. 66 people are feared
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dead after a passenger plane crashed in iran. the flight, which took off from the capital, tehran, came down in the zagros mountains, in the south—west of the country, on its way to the city of yasuj. it was operated by aseman airlines. earlier i spoke to our bbc persian correspondent amir paivar about the crash. we don't quite know exactly what was the reason for the crash. we know the weather conditions in that area are very severely bad, but also the plane had a history of technicalfaults. it was grounded for seven years because of technical problems. it was commissioned only recently again, but only 20 days ago on the same route it had to come back to the capital again because of a technical problem. so it does have a history of technical problems, this particular plane, which crashed today,
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but also in that area the weather is not great. it could be either of those two. they put out a statement, the airline, saying there were no survivors, but they have now retracted that because they are not sure. that statement was put out before anyone had reached the area. no one has reached the area still because of the weather conditions. they thought there might be some survivors and it was a bit too early to put that statement out. you were talking about the plane. we were showing a picture of a plane like the one that was involved, not the actual plane involved in this crash, but is there an issue with airlines in iran generally? the fact they are ageing and not necessarily very well maintained? absolutely. because of international sanctions, for a long time iran has not been able to purchase new planes until recently when the sanctions were lifted.
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but still, of the 180 planes iran has made contracts to purchase only 11 have been delivered and eight of them are the same type of planes, atrs. but because of banking problems, because no international banks work with iran, although iran is prepared to pay and buy these planes, it has not been able to do so, so it has an ageing fleet. they are not maintained very well and that is why it is so often that we hear news like this out of iran. let's get the full sports round—up, including the latest from the winter 0lympics. richard has all the details. richard has all the details. to the winter olympics in pyeongchang first of all, where it's been another day to celebrate great britain's skeleton medallists. lizzy yarnold was presented with her gold medal earlier this morning. lizzy, the defending champion, won the event
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in thrilling style yesterday. the back—to—back olympic champion was joined by british team mate laura deas on the podium. laura took bronze. the british pair were part of what was britain's most successful ever day in a winter games. british short—track speed skater elise christie is in a race to be fit for tuesday's 1000m. she suffered soft tissue damage from her fall in saturday's1500m short—track skating semifinal. christie was taken to hospital after colliding with china's li jinyu as she tried to finish in the top two and reach the final. as for today's action, britain's women's curling team lost their latest match in controversial fashion. gb lost 8—6 to sweden after a decisive 11th end. gb skip eve muirhead was ajudged not to have let go of her final stone before the line, meaning the shot was void. that gave the swedes an easy final shot to secure an 8—6 victory. it leaves muirhead's rink with a record of won three, lost three, with switzerland, japan and canada still to play in the round—robin stage.
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when you see the replays in the stadium it looks like it was let go before and it is hard to take, but it came down to inches and millimetres. the first time i have ever done it in my life and when it comes to a time like that it is horrible, but it makes it worse when you see it and it does not look like it is. we got the stone tested and it is fine. there is nothing we can do, we have to move on. the men are in action now against italy. britain currently lie one place outside the qualification spots in fifth. great britain lead 6—5 in the final end. an intense finish in store in that match. james woods just missed out on a medal. he ended up in four.
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he was eventually overtaken, meaning he finished in an fourth place. team gb's two—man bobsleigh team have started their campaign at the sliding centre. brad hall and joel fearon lie in seventh after the first heat. like the skeleton competition the boblseighers get four runs in total. england's cricketers failed to make the final of the t20 tri—series despite victory over new zealand in hamilton. captain eoin morgan top scored for the tourists with an unbeaten 80, whilst dawid malan made 53 in a total of 194 for seven. but because of their superior run rate, new zealand only needed 175 to deny england a spot in the final and thanks to colin munro and martin guptill, they reached that target with room to spare. england recorded their first win of the t20 series byjust two runs, but it's new zealand who will face off against australia in wednesday's final in auckland. britain's super middleweight world
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champion george groves says he's confident he will fight in the final of the world boxing super series, even if that means the date of the event needs to be put back. groves dislocated his shoulder in his points victory over chris eubankjunior in the semifinal of the competition in manchester last night and he says he may need to see a specialist to recover in time forjune's final. my my boxing career wants to go on and intrigue what is the dream in the world boxing super series. i have worked so hard to get to the final. they have already set a date and i need to go and see the specialist to find out what the recovery time is. if truth be told, if the date needs to be changed, i am sure the tournament would decide it is better
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tournament would decide it is better to delay it to get me in the final. it would not be the same. that's all the sport for now. they describe themselves as britain's forgotten veterans. 60 years ago, thousands of uk service personnel were sent to the south pacific to test nuclear bombs. some claim the radiation caused cancers and birth defects which they passed onto their children and grandchildren. now they hope a new study of their dna will prove it, as sarah corker reports. it was so bright you could see the bones in your hand. you just saw, like, another sun hanging in the sky. that's what it was. the south pacific at the height of the cold war. the british military testing the nuclear bomb. i'm bob fleming. i was a nuclear test veteran. bob was 2a and in the forces
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when he watched one of the world's most powerful weapons detonate on christmas island. one of 22,000 british men involved in the testing programme. we had no protection. bush hat, shirt, shorts, flip—flops. most of my children and grandchildren have suffered a range of illnesses, some frightening. three generations of the fleming family believe they have suffered because of his exposure to radiation. 21 odd members in our family, and 16 of us have health problems. muscular, skeletal, tumour problems, kidney stone problems. they have spent decades searching for answers. it was back in 2012 when the test veterans took their case to the supreme court and lost. the court said they had faced great difficulty proving a link between their illnesses and taking
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part in the test. now, here at brunel university in london, they are carrying out scientific research to see if their dna has been irreparably damaged. the chief scientist told me blood cells will be taken from 100 veterans and their families. we are sampling a group of veterans that we know were present at nuclear tests back in the 50s and 60s, and we are comparing samples of their blood with a control sample of veterans who we know were not present at the nuclear test sites. and the scientists will work closely with veteran charities. they are the forgotten generation of people who saw these very, very powerful weapons exploded in their faces, and it is almost like they have been wiped from the history books. the ministry of defence says it is grateful to the servicemen,
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but says three previous studies of the veterans found no valid evidence to link the test to ill health. they set up the aged veteran fund in 2015 to help fund this new research. the flemings want to take part in this study and are waiting to hear if they have been selected. we want recognition. that is what we are fighting for. so, 60 years on, nuclearfamilies are still living in the aftermath of these bomb tests. sarah corker, bbc news. a new swedish fitness craze has reached british shores. "plogging", or picking up litter while jogging, is gaining momentum in the uk. greg dawson explains. in many ways, it looks like any other weekend fitness routine. you'll need a pair of these. a warm—up will help —
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it is february. but don't forget to pick up one of these. and maybe this will come in handy too. plogging, or plucking and jogging, first gained popularity in sweden but it's quickly caught on around the world, from the beaches of australia to the pavements of india, and here in the parks of south—east london. ilike running. i like doing stuff in the community. i like finding places that i didn't know existed — like, i didn't know this park was here, even though i live in the area, i've never been here before — so i think it does two things. it helps me to get fit and helps me to find out more about where i live and that, i enjoy. ivo gormley is the founder of good gym which runs plogging sessions and other community activities across the uk. we have been getting hundreds of new people signing up. every time you go for a run, you're likely to pass by somewhere

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