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tv   BBC Newsroom Live  BBC News  February 20, 2018 11:00am-1:01pm GMT

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this is bbc news — and these are the top stories developing at 11. oxfam's chief executive apologises to mps for the actions of the charity's workers in haiti — and his own comments on the handling of the scandal. lam i am sorry, we are sorry for the damage oxfam has done. the brexit secretary says britain won't plunge into a ‘mad—max dystopian world' — promising to uphold workers and environmental standards after leaving the eu. these fears about a race to the bottom are based on nothing. not our history, not our intention, not in oui’ history, not our intention, not in our national interest. another deadly day in syria. more than 100 civilians killed as government forces target a rebel—held area. also... a fine of £6.2 million for the bookmaker william hill for failing to take adequate steps to prevent money laundering, and crashing out —
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britain's elise is disqualified from the 1,000 metre speed skating heat — ending her 0lympic dream. good morning, it is tuesday the 20th of february. welcome to bbc newsroom live. 0xfam's chief executive has apologised to mps this morning over the way the charity handled claims of sexual misconduct by its staff in haiti. mark goldring said he was sorry for comments in which he appeared to downplay the seriousness of the allegations. the international development committee has called an urgent questions have been asked about how
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0xfa m questions have been asked about how 0xfam handled their staff. he was asked by the committee chairman if he would apologise for the actions of the charity's workers in haiti and his comments in a newspaper which appeared to downplay the seriousness of those allegations.” appeared to downplay the seriousness of those allegations. i do apologise. i was thinking under stress. i had given many interviews. i made many decisions to try and lead 0xfam's response. i was thinking about amazing work i had seen 0xfam do across the world, most recently for refugees coming from me and my. ishould not recently for refugees coming from me and my. i should not have said those things. it is not for 0xfam tojudge issues or proportionality or motivation. i repeat 0xfam's broad apology and my personal apology. i
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am sorry, we are sorry for the damage 0xfam have done, both to the people of haiti but also to the wider efforts for aid and development, by possibly undermining public support. i wholeheartedly apologise for those comments and commit to work in the greater public interest so 0xfam can make a powerful role in the work we all believe in. that was mark goldring talking at the start of the committee hearing. we can go to the committee hearing. we can go to the committee room live now. he is still being questioned. in a moment you will see he is sitting alongside the charity board of trustees, caroline thomson. and actually saying we cannot give any reference for this person, he was dismissed for gross misconduct. that is what we should be able to be doing on a systematic basis. i also saw the references 0xfa m basis. i also saw the references 0xfam got when he was first employed. they gave no cause for
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concern. i am deeply concerned, as you have said, about the idea people can move on and that we don't put public interest first. that is the commitment we have made and we are working as hard as we can and as fast as we can with other agencies on that. i am going to have to come to another question. we will come back later on some of the other questions about some of the legal challenges you said you faced. you said that a number of times. before ido said that a number of times. before i do that ijust wanted to ask some questions about where does the safeguarding team feed into? you have set up a new safeguarding unit. does it feed into yourself? to the board of trustees? at what level is the head of safeguarding? the safeguarding team was set up in 2011 has a direct response to the cases of 2010 and 2011. the head of safeguarding reports to the head of internal audit and also has a line
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through to a lead trustee, who is one of our involuntary trustees sitting under caroline. the header safeguarding reports to the leadership team now on a quarterly basis. not the case as dorothy. —— not the case historically. we have an absolute commitment that if she has concerns on individual cases, thatis has concerns on individual cases, that is handled directly with the charity commission and other authorities as need be. can i add to that from a government point of view? be safeguarding group meets quarterly and it has a direct line to the lead trustee. safeguarding the lead trustee and chair and the audit and finance committee, which has received quarterly reports on safeguarding and is now receiving an annual report to look at the bigger
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coui’ses annual report to look at the bigger courses and the bigger pictures, which then feeds into the broader council agenda. has the head of safeguarding attended trustee meetings? yes for a sample they came to the meeting in october. i spoke to the meeting in october. i spoke to the meeting in october. i spoke to the audit and finance committee. both helen and her successor hannah have had access to the trusty audit and finance committee, direct access. if they had a concern, could they come straight to you? they certainly could. have they done. one of the things i did as part of my induction is meet with hannah, the current head of safeguarding when she was able to spend an hour and a bit talking to me about things. they could ring up at any time and say, can we have a meeting and it would be yes? ordo can we have a meeting and it would be yes? or do they have to go through a procedure? is it direct?” would expect under the current arrangement is the normal procedure
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to be they would talk to the trustee leading safeguarding, whose numbers so leading safeguarding, whose numbers so farasl leading safeguarding, whose numbers so far as i know they have. they certainly have regular meetings. having just looked at the situation they are now in and the agenda of they are now in and the agenda of the audience and finance committee, i have decided we need more focus on safeguarding. —— audit and finance. we will take the issues into a special council subcommittee which i will be sharing. we are now developing this to minimise the chance of anything like this happening again. i will take personal responsibility for holding to account the delivery, together with the honorary offices and indeed for the direct link to the safeguarding unit. is it a similar process on safeguarding unit. is it a similar process on whistle— blowing? safeguarding unit. is it a similar process on whistle—blowing? there is a way staff members can contact somebody, either in the trustees or somebody, either in the trustees or somebody independent directly? there isa somebody independent directly? there is a wassail blowing hotline set up
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in 2011 which we are now strengthening. —— whistle—blowing hotline. it will now be run completely independent of management. it depends on the nature of the complaint where it goes to when they have done the whistle—blowing. when they have done the whistle— blowing. and when they have done the whistle—blowing. and the council of oxfam great britain receives an annual report on whistle—blowing. if there is anything big significance that comes up in between there is consta nt that comes up in between there is constant monitoring and no obligation to report them. on whistle—blowing. .. obligation to report them. on whistle-blowing. .. we have different arrangements with different organisations of oxfam. but we had been bringing its together. and now increasingly we are looking at an external whistle—blowing system, so that people can feel safe and able to report and not feel that they could be victimised. this is a system already working for 0xfam america. one of our organisations.
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0xfa m america. one of our organisations. 0xfam uk has been looking at using the same system. a number of others are alsojoining the the same system. a number of others are also joining the external system, whistle—blowing system. are also joining the external system, whistle— blowing systemm is about making sure all the oxfam branches around the world operate in the same... the same system. over the same... the same system. over the weekend my office spoke notjust to oxfam but work in middle east and africa and their response was not only is prostitution happening in all of the sector, but they said no one grasses as the process in many agencies is everyone might be sent home. this means you can lose your additional high pay money if you are ina dangerarea additional high pay money if you are in a danger area and also means everyone is tarnished with the brush of misdemeanours. i also know that
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yesterday the hr director met with unite, the union, and unite have asked for a guarantee that this work will be done with the union, that staff who report complaints about other staff in action are given protection. they have not yet received a cast—iron guarantee. i wonder if there is a moment you could give it on the record so unite is happy and those people are happy that any staff member that reports bad behaviour will have no persecution against them, unless they have actually done something wrong but will be protected but secondly will not be automatically moved out of country and the whole country team will not be swooped away? the danger is they will keep quiet. can you give me this reassurance? i can certainly get you an assurance that nobody making a complaint will be victimised in any way. i am shocked people do not
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understand that at the moment. that is the position at the moment. i would give a personal guarantee that will be the case. i would also say, clearly the events, dreadful events in 2011 well predated me and mark, but actually at its maximum, 0xfam had 500 people working in haiti and seven 01’ had 500 people working in haiti and seven or eight of them ended up leaving. the rest of the team carried on doing incredible, fantastic work, helping the people of haiti. i think that ought to provide comfort to those were concerned... will you make sure you get back in touch with unite so they are 100% sure...? can i get back in touch with unite so they are 10096 sure...? can i reply get back in touch with unite so they are 10096 sure. . . ? can i reply to that? as soon as i hear from unite i responded to say we were happy to meet with them. that seemed better than responding to a long list of questions and we have done that. the whistle—blowing questions and we have done that. the whistle— blowing line questions and we have done that. the whistle—blowing line is anonymous. when i have had issues coming to me for retention related to it, i have
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never known who the complaint was made by. iwould never known who the complaint was made by. i would certainly reiterate from a management perspective the assurances caroline has given. thank you. we will move on in a moment to dig in more to haiti and how it was handled. i have supplementary questions to the evidence you have given so far, mr goldring. one is to pursue further the issue of reporting serious incidents to the charity commission. can you confirm you have always reported serious incidents of sexual misconduct to the charity commission in your time and position? i certainly believe so. and position? i certainly believe so. last year, if i can bring that to light, last year we had about 87 reports of incidents across 0xfam great britain, in the uk and internationally, among a woke first is -- internationally, among a woke first is--a internationally, among a woke first is —— a workforce of about 30,000. 50 of them related to shops and are
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trading operation. many did not relate to incidents happening in them. they could be instances of domestic abuse in the home somebody brought to work. we report the ones which are relevant to the relevant authorities, whether the police or social services. we reported about 35 incidents to the charity commission. those are the ones where we think there is an issue for 0xfam rather than for other authorities. and in many cases, we have followed up and in many cases, we have followed up with further detail where that has been relevant. it might be worth adding that in reporting the incidents to the charity commission that comes from the governance unit to me and the honorary officers to sign. then the 26 cases you told us about, the recent cases, tell us more about the 26. are they similar issues to what happened in haiti? are there issues which relate to allegations of rape or other forms
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of sexual violence ? allegations of rape or other forms of sexual violence? i am sorry but i will have two update you on that after the meeting. it all happened in the last two weeks. my belief would be that this is a direct response to the publicity and therefore will be the full range of concerns, from the very serious to somebody who felt maybe something was not dealt with properly in the past. but i do not want to give misleading... if you can write that response as soon as is misleading... if you can write that response as soon as is of.” misleading... if you can write that response as soon as is of. i have given you the breakdown of where the issues happened. —— as soon as possible. they related from the very serious to minor. because we have young people and vulnerable people volunteering in our shops, we do have two report everything and indeed we publish this summary and did in ourannual indeed we publish this summary and did in our annual reports. we then try to make sure the right references and follow—up is made. james.
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references and follow—up is made. james. i am looking at page 24 which go through roughly the same numbers. it does not seem to have any more detail. setting that aside, the, three paragraphs on this issue, it said under reporting is recognised in the sector. oxfam are in the ci’oss in the sector. oxfam are in the cross hairs and it feels a little bit like a potential ratners moment. is this not a cross sector issue and if it had not been oxfam kid could easily have been a different organisation or multilateral in front of us having had a scandal exposed? mr russell moyle quoted from your constituency work where you are saying people are talking generally about the sector. 0xfam believes it has well—developed systems and processes. not good
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enough, we have made that commitment. i think every agency needs to have these systems. have you got a feel for the size of under reporting, whether it is a scale of two orten? it reporting, whether it is a scale of two or ten? it feels it could be exponential. i feel that what our safeguarding team are aware of and the 26 cases we just asked about, at the 26 cases we just asked about, at the time some people choose to report and some people do not. some speak to a friend but do not report it and will not allow them to report it and will not allow them to report it formally. we are hearing more stories. all i can do... it is not right for me to look to other agencies. what i can say is over time there have been stories in the media about peacekeepers, international aid workers, that have consistently come up. i think of any good can come out of the horror of haiti and the last couple of weeks, it isa haiti and the last couple of weeks, it is a more intensive commitment across the whole sector that we
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route this out, both in the practical way by encouraging reporting, which 0xfam have tried to do, but also in the way winnie described, by getting to grips with culture, power relations, responsibilities and values. that is the real commitment we are having to step up to. we are going to drill a bit more into the specifics around haiti. i bit more into the specifics around haiti. lam bit more into the specifics around haiti. i am conscious of the thatcher did not hold at the time. we are going to be conducting a full enquiry. —— of the fact you did not. we will bring to give evidence those that did have responsibility at the time. i will hand over to pauline. i should put on record the committee appreciation for pauline, who has spoken out about these issues after she heard at the humanitarian summit in turkey two years ago. pauline. thank you very much, stephen. i would like to go back to a couple of things you said. you said there is
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no blame for the safeguarding team. but surely there is because they we re but surely there is because they were not doing theirjob adequately to bring to your attention or you we re to bring to your attention or you were not listening things that were happening within oxfam. i found were not listening things that were happening within oxfam. ifound it quite shocking that you said, when you were talking about when you first came into post, that you were briefed on it but actually you are very focused on syria on both sides. does it mean as head of this organisation you can only deal with one problem at a time? that is surely not the right sort of person for thejob. if you cannot surely not the right sort of person for the job. if you cannot do with a multitude of things you are busily being paid a lot of money to do this job, surely you should be able to deal with more than one thing and it should not just be, deal with more than one thing and it should notjust be, i now focused on syria. —— obviously you are being paid a lot of money. i am sorry if i gave the impression i could not deal with multiple things. that was not my intention. my point was i was
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given at the time clear assurances that the haiti case had been well handled, that it had been properly closed, action had been taken and there was a work programme of improvement which had been put in place straightaway. but haiti will not have been the only problem 0xfam have. it would not have been the only thing you are being briefed about. they would have been other country problems. we have heard about three other african countries. they would have been more. you thought that was ok, that was fine, dealt with that, push that to one side and now i am going to think about syria and syria alone.” side and now i am going to think about syria and syria alone. i am not thinking about syria alone. i am dealing with dozens of countries and issues every day and every week. the issues every day and every week. the issue i was trying to say was i felt at the time myjob was to work on how oxfam improves rather than should i reopen... ? how oxfam improves rather than
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should i reopen...? i had no reason to believe i should reopen the haiti case. i to believe i should reopen the haiti case. lam to believe i should reopen the haiti case. i am not saying to believe i should reopen the haiti case. lam not saying i to believe i should reopen the haiti case. i am not saying i was only working on one issue. i am saying i believed myjob was to apply that learning to oxfam's work around the world and that is what i was trying to do. but he had failed on that. you have not actually made it so much better. —— you have failed. this is coming out now. it is not just haiti. 0ther this is coming out now. it is not just haiti. other instances which may be had not got into the media yet but will do, because it will come out in the open. as i responded to an earlier question, we report the summary, we investigate every case and support the series once to the charity commission. there will always be individual cases in any organisation, whether international organisation, whether international or not. ourjob is to minimise them. to repeat what is unacceptable and drive them out of our organisation. that is what i tried to do and i
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believe we have mailed real progress in that. i fully acknowledge we have not made enough progress. —— made real progress. you were appointed in 2013 and it is now 2018. i want to go on to haiti. 0ne 2013 and it is now 2018. i want to go on to haiti. one of the reasons you said you did not report the matter of prostitution to the haiti police was that he believed it was very unlikely any action would be taken. —— you believe. prostitution is illegal in haiti. should 0xfam not have reported it anyway? oxfam should have reported the matter to the haiti authorities. it was not for oxfam to decide if a crime had been committed or not. but something that was serious and undermined the rule of law and public confidence in haiti should have been reported to the relevant authorities. i can only apologise that oxfam did not do that. but that was a decision which
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was made at the time, having taken advice, it was the wrong decision. why did 0xfam believe the advice it was given about the likelihood of any action being taken? why did you think that as 0xfam and were is a substantiated craze —— case where you could prove they would take no notice of it? i can only believe advice was taken within haiti. i do not know who the advice was sought from. i had not seen the specifics of the advice and i repeat i think oxfam should have reported it in haiti in 2011. knowing that the media and other people, how spotlighting onto haiti, you have not looked at the evidence. i find it completely astonishing. this has been running for more than a week.” looked at the evidence, i have not
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been able to find any evidence as to who oxfam spoke with. i have looked at all evidence i have been able to find. i have not been able to track back into who said what and who took that advice, verbally or in writing. i have seen a range of different advice given at the time, including from legal advisers in the uk, as to what was said in the uk, but i have not seen advice as to what was said... but prostitutes are victims. they are not doing it because they wa nt to they are not doing it because they want to be prostitutes. in this case they were probably doing it to get some paid from oxfam. and it is believed, i would like to know what you think, some of them would have been between the ages of 14 and 16. legal age in haiti is 18, of consent. how can you justify not reporting these failings in these matters to the haiti authorities? because these poor girls have had a
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natural disaster. you as an organisation along with others would have gone in there, promising to help. you are talking about pretty vulnerable women and girls in that situation, who are looking to oxfam and others to help them get through this terrible situation. you are not telling me those girls actually said, actually we are prostitutes so we will come and entertain you in the evening, for any reason other than they want some help. you as an organisation are dealing with these women and girls as if they are trinkets and you can pay for them and give them a bit of aid and that is ok and you don't, when you know about it, the organisation does not report it to the haiti authorities. that is pretty shocking. can i reply to the details and then allow you some space? thank you. i want to
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repeat what oxfam did in 2011 in haiti was wrong all stop i was not in post but i apologise for that. i am sorry. at the time oxfam conducted an investigation. it was wrong not to report that set of issues to the haiti authorities and decide how they wanted to handle it. pa rt of decide how they wanted to handle it. part of the investigation oxfam carried out included trying to speak to the women involved and i fully acce pt to the women involved and i fully accept your definition of the circumstances. i make no excuses whatsoever. it interviewed as many of the women as it could trace. in those interviews, women were asked their age those interviews, women were asked theirage and no those interviews, women were asked their age and no evidence arose to suggest they were under 18. that does not mean no women involved were under 18. the investigation concludes we could not establish any women were under 18. but oxfam should have reported it, absolutely
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clearly. it should have let the haiti government decided how it wanted to investigate and notjust investigate it internally. the commitment we have made under ca roline's commitment we have made under caroline's leadership is we will always report to the relevant authorities and we will work with them as to how they want to handle it. the country director was not sacked. he left before you concluded your evidence and before you concluded the investigation. has he ever been employed again but you might have any of those seven or eight people that left over haiti been re—employed by oxfam? in any capacity whatsoever?” been re—employed by oxfam? in any capacity whatsoever? i believe one person was re—employed as a contractor, so indirectly by another oxfam, not oxfam great britain. that isa mistake. oxfam, not oxfam great britain. that
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is a mistake. it should not have happened. it was a short—term contract in another country. it was a failing. was it done knowingly? it isa a failing. was it done knowingly? it is a complete failing. as the chairman said. did you know this person had been involved before?” know oxfam great britain warned all the other oxfams, including a list of names, about not re—employed these people. it is completely shocking you should even contemplate re—employing them, however short—term. these men were predators. i quite agree. short—term. these men were predators. iquite agree. iam short—term. these men were predators. i quite agree. i am not excusing it. sorry... that is why we have now set up a global database of accredited... when was that started? we have just started it. accredited... when was that started? we havejust started it. but accredited... when was that started? we have just started it. but only because you were found out. not because you were found out. not because you were found out. not
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because you actually wanted to do it or thought you needed to do it but because you were found out. not really. because we had been working with our peers to establish a way of vetting humanitarian workers. but we we re vetting humanitarian workers. but we were not making progress because of different jurisdictions and the complexity of doing this across many countries. when you say our peers, who do you mean? other organisations in aid? other international sectors working in the humanitarian sector but we were not making sufficient progress. we decided on our own to make r.n. progress. we decided on our own to make r. n. system progress. we decided on our own to make r.n. system of ensuring references coming from oxfam are genuine, not fake. —— making r.n. system. it has taken the last ten days of this candle for you to do that. —— making ourvery days of this candle for you to do that. —— making our very own system. is that a fair summary of the
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situation? to the extent we have made a decision on the global database, yes. in terms of setting up database, yes. in terms of setting upa task database, yes. in terms of setting up a task force to look at these issues, we have been working on this since november. but for the last ten days you would still be struggling with the legaljurisdictions and all of that and the database would not be being set up so it is a direct consequence? it is rightward bid this has been a real wake—up call not just for 0xfam but the whole sector. and it is timely and important it happened. and i am sorry we did not do these things earlier. i have been talking about these things for two years and nobody has taken any notice. not least the sector itself. when i went to this conference in turkey, everybody was talking about it across a panel like it was common knowledge. everybody knew this had happened. everybody knew that the aid sector was pretty rotten because it had all these people who were abusing women and girls regularly in all countries, but nobody, not one
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organisation was actually tackling it and doing anything about it. that is shocking. you are supposed to be good people trying to help the world but it appears you are not as good as you should be. it is really heartbreaking that we are in this situation but i want to assure you that we were working on it but we have reached a point where the world has woken up to the abuse of women and girls in a very special weights and girls in a very special weights and we find ourselves not to have done enough but we did something, we have been improving every year but we are not where we want to be and we are not where we want to be and we admit that. your organisations are not victims in this, it is the women and girls being abused by the
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men you employed. this is shown shocking, no wonder the world is angry and people are questioning whether money should be given to charities. the people who should benefit from this are the poor people in countries who will lose out because of all your behaviour in the aid sector. i can say that indeed some people entered an assistant who didn't share our values, they abused the trust of oxfam, the power of oxfam, they abused the trust of the british public and turned on the very people they were supposed to protect, its true, and we are deeply sorry for that, but the lifeline that we give to people caught in conflict and in disasters, i know personally, i came to this country as a teenager fleeing a brutal dictator ship in my
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country and benefited from the generosity of british people. i think that lifeline must be kept going but we will clean up. think that lifeline must be kept going but we will clean upm think that lifeline must be kept going but we will clean up. it must happen. thanks, pauline. mr goldring, how many subscriptions have been cancelled to oxfam following the allegations?” have been cancelled to oxfam following the allegations? i think about 7000 individuals have cancelled a regular donation over the last ten days. and corporate sponsors? at the moment, sponsors are reserving judgment, they want to look at what we have done, what our policies and procedures are, how their relationship may have been compromised and what we are setting in place for the future. and of the
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cases coming to light although some of them are historic, taking regard of them are historic, taking regard of sex tourism laws, would you be passing that information to the releva nt passing that information to the relevant police authorities? we have made a commitment that if there is a possibility that a crime has been committed we will pass that information on. what i have done is right to the governments of the countries, the seven countries from which the perpetrators in haiti came, and explained what we found them culpable of. i have also given that full list to the haitian government but we will report anything that may be a crime and it's not for 0xfam to decide whether it's not for 0xfam to decide whether it isa it's not for 0xfam to decide whether it is a crime, if it is potentially a legal ourjob is to make sure the releva nt a legal ourjob is to make sure the relevant authorities are informed. could i add something here? oxfam
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works at any one time in more than 40 crisis countries at any moment, we have long history that started in 1942. on the ground things are complex. in some countries where there are laws against prostitution, but where the practice is that it is women who are pursued for being prostitutes, not the men who buy sex. in other countries it is only women who work under the law prohibited from prostitution, the law doesn't touch men, so in providing this information to authorities, we must always be conscious, are we risking their very women who have been abused by doing this? i appreciate that but we have domestic laws in the uk and other countries where we can pursue wrong doers here. i realise this is out of
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your purview can you came in 2013 but when andrew mitchell was secretary of state, he suggest that discussions 0xfam had with the permanent secretary there, the gravity of the situation didn't come to light. in the discussions you have had with the permanent secretary, how far has the officials drill down to the serious allegations about the sexual problems that exist? it's fair to say that oxfam did not tell the department for international development enough. oxfam contacted every donor who had given money. the department for international development was not among those donors but in terms of the parent government of oxfam gb, oxfam contacted the department but did not say enough and mr mitchell's
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assurance that he did not realise the gravity is backed up. at what stage have you started to give full information about what has gone on? last week i called on of state and gave her a copy of the full investigation report and a full picture of what had happened and what oxfam did afterwards. we have assured the charity commission who are our primary regulator, no matter where the money comes from, that we will not use words like sexual misconduct, which is what we used in a report to them, we will spell things out and they can make a more informed decisions as to whether they want to follow that through. we see they want to follow that through. we see the charity commission as our prime source of formal accountability because the money may or may not come from dfid but where
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i add my apology is that dfid is trying to be a global leader in a development and in tackling violence against women than anything we do that undermines that effort of the british government is compromising. that is why are not delving too far back before your time, all we have is what andrew mitchell said and you concede that was the case, your predecessor was not as forthcoming, but i am interested in the discussions dfid officials have had with you. how often did they raise the case of sexual must practice in projects around the world and how rigorous are only in drilling down with you these days? i mean ever since you took over your position, in the issues pauline has raised?
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dfid is an important funder of oxfam on specific projects. around 10% of our turnover per year comes from dfid. as the representative of the british government we have a bigger obligation so are detailed accountability is to the charity commission. what we committed to the secretary of state is to give details of all these new cases. so in essence you are saying that discussions between prominent officials and themselves on this issue have not been that detailed until now. on individual cases relating to the british government fundingl relating to the british government funding i believe we have kept them well informed. where we have friends from other sources, it has been more a sense of what we do together to pick up on the kinds of issues that mislead them was talking about,
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tackling sexual violence which the former foreign secretary took a lead on. you never got the sense that officials in dfid have raised this issue as being something that is endemic in aid work in certain parts of the world? i think the government has shown leadership in saying this is notjust has shown leadership in saying this is not just about the behaviour of aid workers but abuse of women is something the british government has given priority to. we have tried to work with them and made a commitment that there should be no surprises from oxfam that undermine that. so when the permanent secretary meets officials from 0xfam and yourself in particular, how often have you spoken with permanent secretaries about sexual malpractice?” spoken with permanent secretaries about sexual malpractice? i cannot say i have spoken to permanent
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secretaries or ministers about sexual malpractice in oxfam until theseissues sexual malpractice in oxfam until these issues that have now risen. i have spoken to civil servants about working together to tackle violence against women and abuse of women and we tried to work on a sectoral basis and to respond to some of those with things like passporting. mark, you mentioned many times that you are answerable mainly to the charity commission but when oxfam brought that mattered to them, what reasons ido that mattered to them, what reasons i do not know but failure to mention that crimes had been committed and it is true that miners have been involved, why was that omitted?”
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cannot defend that decision. the report oxfam made at that time in 2011 talked about sexual misconduct, rolling and intimidation, breaches of oxfam's code of conduct. i believe my colleagues at the time thought that was sufficiently transparent. i do notjustify that and we will go further. i can see why the charity commission says that was not enough. at the time the charity report which i believe you had says that oxfam was unable to establish or are there was no proof that women under 18 were involved despite the investigation. we should have said exactly that rather than simply leaving it out. i think my colleagues did what they thought was sufficiently transparent at the time but we know now that was not
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transparent enough and our commitment is to give the details to releva nt commitment is to give the details to relevant authorities, whether in the countries concerned or the uk, and let them work out how to follow it up let them work out how to follow it up and we will cooperate. do you agree that when the public think there was a deliberate way of hiding there was a deliberate way of hiding the truth from the public, when they failed to inform such an important pa rt of failed to inform such an important part of the complaint to the charities commission?” part of the complaint to the charities commission? i can fully see why the public has a challenge to any confidence in what oxfam did. we now have to work hard to earn back that trust and we will not earn it by words but by deeds. at that time, my colleagues reflected and decided on a form of words that they
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thought was sufficiently transparent, including sexual misconduct, but we know that was not sufficient and telling half story is not enough, we have to go further, especially if we want to set ourselves up to be trusted by the public, we have to say we will go the extra mile and the unequivocal and how we handle this and that is the commitment we have all made. can you comment a bit later because we have a few more questions and further panels? earlier in response to mr evans you conflated sexual violence committed in country but shouldn't we expect a higher standard of people from our european environment with a european set of laws who were funded by the taxpayer and small donations, and split those two things because i do not think
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they are equivalent? i'm sorry if i gave that impression. i was trying to respond to what oxfam had talked about in international development, we we re about in international development, we were talking about general behaviour but oxfam has to be held to the highest standards of personal behaviour, those individuals came from seven countries around the world, not including the uk, but we re world, not including the uk, but were managed by a world, not including the uk, but were managed bya uk world, not including the uk, but were managed by a uk agency and we ta ke were managed by a uk agency and we take responsibility for that. we have to work on this in a cultural level in the way that winnie described so our values are driven from everything from how we collect references to how we give them and everything in between, training and accountability, it was not a cce pta ble accountability, it was not acceptable that oxfam tolerated this or that certain individuals resign rather than go through a formal
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disciplinary process, so you have our commitment that we don't accept those standards and will not live with them. could i probed the charity commission submission where there was a statement as categoric and tried to get a grasp of what a beneficiary is? i think you are saying there was no transaction for aid forfood, i expect saying there was no transaction for aid for food, i expect you to have sex, but isn't there are much wider definition of beneficiary in that nobody goes into prostitution as an alternative to a well—paid job someone else, it is desperate people who should be defined as beneficiaries. i completely agree. oxfam uses beneficiary to mean those who are in direct receipt of oxfam assistance. the whole population of porto prance and much of haiti were the beneficiaries in the wider
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sense,in the beneficiaries in the wider sense, in that they were affected by the earthquake and living in poverty, and oxfam trying to distinguish in a technical way was not the right thing to do. the investigators were trying to say there was not selling of sex in return for oxfam aid but there was a much bigger failing and misdemeanour. do you think there is sex for aid going on, notjust in oxfam? sex for aid going on, notjust in 0xfam ? do you sex for aid going on, notjust in oxfam? do you think it happens?” just want to say that this categorisation is not even something we should give much attention to. this is about abuse of power and of women, they are vulnerable and voiceless, whether they have given them some money from an oxfam
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programme or from their pocket as their salary, it is still up aren't and we are ashamed about it and we will root it out over organisation. it isa will root it out over organisation. it is a cultural issue, we have to fight it as that, but also an issue of systems and procedures. a legal issue, i agree. could we go back to theissue issue, i agree. could we go back to the issue of references? you said that the former country director of the haiti office went on to work with other ngos and 0xfam provided a record of when he worked for 0xfam rather than a reference in the traditional sense. there were seven men involved in those incidents in haiti. did any of them have references from 0xfam ?
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haiti. did any of them have references from oxfam? to the best of my knowledge, one did. one gave as his breath very one of the other staff in the haiti office who was his senior, who then got sent a form by another agency to fill in and filled it in as from oxfam. it had no official oxfam stamp but it was as from oxfam, so because the reference went straight to the individual to be written, the former manager filled it in having left oxfam's employment as an individual but said i was the manager of that person. that is the one incidents i have come across on a reference which an innocent third party in another agency could reasonably believe the reference had come from
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oxfam, although it had not come from the institution, and to prevent that happening again, the improvements we have been talking about witches that we will only references from certain channels, we have now introduced. we should have been aware that was a risk that could happen but we couldn't stop the individuals doing it. we need something more proactive which is effectively the central register that we are now trying to explore that goes across all agencies. and we have directed that no oxfam reference will be given until we have that database. the manager who gave the reference was one of the group that was dismissed. thank you. could we go back to the 2011 report that you were briefed on
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when you took over? one of the recommendations of that report was that all regional management teams would review learnings from haiti and consider potential risks and actions needed, and that was meant to be carried out by december 2011. were you briefed that that was one of the results that came out of that investigation? i wasn't very specifically on that but i was told all necessary follow—up actions had been taken, it had been followed up ata been taken, it had been followed up at a regional level and that certain central actions like the setting up of the safeguarding team and the whistle—blower line of the safeguarding team and the whistle— blower line had of the safeguarding team and the whistle—blower line had been carried out, so it wasn't at my briefing was specific on that recommendation but the sense that this had been appropriately followed up was the
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sense i was given. has there ever been an organisation wide review of potential risks and what are they? we have been aware of high risk countries and try to put extra work into them, they tend to be countries with highest levels of conflict and destabilisation of government, so at the moment places like the democratic republic of congo and south sudan are put in that high risk level. any country with an immediate natural disaster is always a high risk because there are people who, as in haiti, have had their lives traumatised and so we try to put protection teams in at an early stage of our response to one we work on the practical front and safety front at same time. one of the other
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recommendations was when the regional management team staff or headquarters staff are in countries, they should arrange meetings with female staff where they explore issues and cultural ways of working through problems. does that happen? as pa rt of through problems. does that happen? as part of my induction to oxfam i have done two visits, to zambia and pakistan, and it was made clear to me that i should have this meeting with female only staff, my predecessor did it religiously every time she visited so these are things, which are as much about building trust as anything else, giving women a voice and making sure they have a safe place where they can report things or give indications about problems and malpractices in the running. does that come as a matter of course?
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all—female senior staff. that come as a matter of course? all-female senior staff. it's very important that it is done by female staff. when was that brought in? it was done by 2013, it was in place by then but it wasn't something i had to get involved in starting.” then but it wasn't something i had to get involved in starting. i want to get involved in starting. i want to ask a quick question about the references you give. it is common practice in a lot of organisations that references are available to the employee who is seeking them. is that standard practice that they are available to your employees?” that standard practice that they are available to your employees? i will have to get back to you on the university of that —— universality. i don't think it is normal practice, i feel no obligation to show a
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reference to the individual and i expect that to be agreed and shared with the people to whom you are giving the reference so it is not standard practice. so you can be com pletely standard practice. so you can be completely honest in your references that you are not because you allow people to leave and move on to other jobs even if the art questionably perpetrators of sexual violence? jobs even if the art questionably perpetrators of sexual violence ?” think the events you are describing work in 2011, oxfam gave a certificate of service but it should have gone beyond that.” certificate of service but it should have gone beyond that. i am sure the note you were given has clarified that. the note says the statement of service that was given in 2011 for mr hal meyer said we cannot complete this form, and then it says for
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legal reasons we cannot say more. that is the note that i have just got, so it then said he served from 2010 to 2014 but i had not shared that statement that this said, for legal reasons. when oxfam's internal investigation concluded in 2011, the statement to the public was hopelessly vague. why didn't you provide full details? was it a cover up provide full details? was it a cover up or was provide full details? was it a cover up orwas it provide full details? was it a cover up or was it had in the sand?” cannot give you that thinking of each individual but i can tell you what was recorded and what we now know. oxfam was trying to deliver a programme of desperately needed assistance toi programme of desperately needed assistance to 1 million programme of desperately needed assistance toi million people, a huge programme with 500 staff and i believe in making the decisions at
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the time, my predecessor... that gives you a flavour of the questioning that mark goldring, the chief executive officer of oxfam gb, has been facing from mps at that committee, alongside tim caroline thomson and winnie byanyima have also been answering questions relating to the use of prostitutes by some 0xfam staff in the aftermath of the earthquake in haiti in 2010. there was a full apology from mark goldring at the start of proceedings and some of the other lines that have emerged about this investigation into sexual misconduct and he talked about regular donations, 7000 regular donations to 0xfa m donations, 7000 regular donations to 0xfam have been cancelled in the last ten days. more reflection on that evidence in the next hour, headlines to come shortly but first the weather. yesterday we got to 14
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celsius in cardiff and it felt like spring with the sunshine, we have sunshine now across many parts, look at this scene in the peak district a short time ago, but not sunny everywhere, we have this weather front affecting eastern areas and with that more cloud and rain, so this is the current scene in greater london, grey skies and rain. this afternoon the cloudy weather will continue, a few spots of rain in the far east but elsewhere that sunshine will continue and it will feel pleasant, although temperatures down bya pleasant, although temperatures down by a few degrees from yesterday and with the cloudy weather in the east seven or 8 degrees. this evening a lot of rain will clear away but it will stay quite cloudy, that cloud moving north and west so there will
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bea moving north and west so there will be a frost free night here but elsewhere you can see there will be frost into wednesday morning, temperatures down to —34 minus four degrees but we start off with sunshine, elsewhere there will be cloud floating around, the odd spot of light rail but for most it will bea dry of light rail but for most it will be a dry day on wednesday with bright spells but those temperatures down by a couple of degrees. this is the scandinavian high that is keeping things settled so another dry day on thursday, a bit of cloud but a few bright spells here and there and temperatures on thursday down again, there is a downward trend in the next few days, perhaps 8 degrees, friday pretty similar with that area of high pressure in charge so bad dry day, sunny spells from time to time, temperatures from
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four to 7 degrees. that area of high pressure will stay with us and block these weather systems from the west so our weather will be influenced by the east and we have some cold air across siberia, look at those dark blue colours. a south—easterly wind will set up over the weekend and into next week so it will get colder and there is the risk of some snow, so as we approached spring, winter isn't done yet. this is bbc news and these are the top stories developing at midday:
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oxfam's chief executive apologises to mps over the sexual misconduct scandal in haiti and says 26 other cases of abuse are being investigated. he reveals several thousand people have cancelled regular donations.” am sorry for the actions 0xfam have done, both to the people of pt —— haiti and also for wider aid and development. britain won't plunge into a ‘mad—max dystopian world', david davis has promised, saying britain will uphold rights and standards and not undercut the eu. these fears about a race to the bottom are based on nothing. not our history, not our intentions, not our national interest. another deadly day in syria. more than 100 civilians killed as government forces target a rebel—held area. still no chicken at kfc — meaning more than half of the fast food giant's shops
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remain closed today. also... the end of the olympic dream for great britain's elise christie. she is disqualified from the 1000 metres speed skating heat but she says she will be back.” metres speed skating heat but she says she will be back. i can promise britain i will fight back from this. i will come back for beijing. and hopefully i can do britain proud then. good afternoon. it's tuesday february the 20th. welcome to bbc newsroom live. 0xfa m 0xfam said it is investigating 26 new cases of alleged misconduct,
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including 16 in international operations, since the scandal broke over its handling of the case in haiti. oxfam's chief executive has apologised to mps this morning over by some staff in haiti. he said 7000 people had cancelled regular donations to the charity since the scandal broke. ido i do apologise. i was thinking under stress. i had given many interviews to try to lead oxfam's response to this. i was thinking about amazing work i have seen 0xfam do across the world, most recently for refugees coming from me and ma. i should not have said those things. it is not for me tojudge have said those things. it is not for me to judge the portion our tea and motivation. i repeat oxfam's
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broader apology and my personal apology. i am sorry, broader apology and my personal apology. iam sorry, we broader apology and my personal apology. i am sorry, we are sorry for the damage 0xfam have done, both to the people of haiti but also wider efforts for aid and development, by possibly undermining public support. so i wholeheartedly apologise for those comments and commit to work in that greater public interest so 0xfam can make a powerful role in the work we all believe in. angus crawford has been listening to the committee hearing and he is with me. a very clear apology. what else do you pick out? it is a morning of apologies. it is worth going deeper into the apologies. his first apology he was asked for make was for what was called grossly inappropriate comments in a newspaper where he talked about the media interest in 0xfam being overblown. he said it was like we had murdered babies in their cots. he apologised unreservedly for that.
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he apologised unreservedly for that. he also apologised for exactly what happened in haiti, what he called serious misdemeanours. but then as you heard for the wider damage the scandal caused to the aid sector. two other very interesting figures came out of this hearing. the one you talked about earlier. 26 new allegations of sexual misconduct, recent and not recent, have been brought to the charity's attention since the scandal broke. some may go back years and some may be much more recent. of those, ten were in the uk, 16 concerned international operations, and then something that showed an immediate impact on 0xfam and its ability to deliver programmes, 7000 direct debits have been cancelled since the story broke. they often lose direct debits naturally in the ordinary course of the year but this is far higher than they would have expected. and that is the wider picture. which is why the committee's concerns are as alive as they are. what impact does
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this have on the wider aid sector? it is about trust, simple word, trust. it was acknowledged by mr goldring in his apology. he said we had damaged the whole image of the sector with the public which gives so much money, with government which gives so much money. but also, it does not stop here. this is not the end of the committee's interest. it is setting up its own full enquiry to look at the wider issue of sexual exploitation across the aid sector. thank you very much indeed. the brexit secretary, david davis, has insisted britain will not be plunged into what he describes as a "mad max—style world borrowed from dystopian fiction", after it leaves the european union. in a speech to business leaders in austria this morning, mr davis rejected the idea that brexit would lead to a "race to the bottom", in workers' rights and environmental standards. labour has warned that the uk could become a low—wage, offshore tax haven. norman smith is in westminster.
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thank you. the great fear of many eu leaders is after brexit, britain might choose to become a singapore of the channel, trying to cut regulations, business rules, workers' rights, in order to give the uka workers' rights, in order to give the uk a competitive advantage over the uk a competitive advantage over the rest of the eu. david davis is saying no, you can trust us. we will behave after brexit. 0ur rules will be as good as yours. they will be pretty much the same but not the eu rules. the hope is that will be enough to reassure eu leaders to cut britain's trade deal we so desperately need. have a listen to what david davis said. i know for some reason or another people have sought to question our real intentions. they think brexit
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could lead to an anglo—saxon race to the bottom, with britain plunged into a mad max style world borrowed from dystopian fiction. these rumours about a race to the bottom are based on nothing. not our history, not our intentions, not our national interest. frankly the competitive challenge we in the uk and the european union will face from the rest of the world, where 90% of growth in market will come from, will not be met by a reduction in standards. we will never be cheaper than china or have more resources than brazil. this challenge can only be met by an increase in quality, in service levels and intellectual content. while i profoundly disagree with those who spread these fears, it does remind us all that we should provide reassurance. 0n on thursday mrs may will lock cabinet ministers inside checkers to
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try to hammer out some kind of a final brexit position. you wonder whether it might be the deal which keeps all the different voices in the cabinets together. in other words, we are not going to take eu rules but we are going to stick by our own, which are remarkably close to the eu rules. i am joined by sir keir starmer, shadow brexit secretary. david davis is saying don't worry, we will not become a mad mac society. do you believe him? this is getting farcical, really. he is saying it will not be mad max and we will not deregulate and nothing is going to be any different. by contrast last week boris johnson was the champion of deregulation and thatis the champion of deregulation and that is the point of the exercise. as ever, two different rules and views within one week of each other. this is the continuing problem. there has been no resolution of the conflict, which is a basic question, do you want to stay close to the eu on trading grounds or be distant?
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that has got to be resolved. everybody is getting very frustrated the government has still not resolved that. do you think we are getting the skeleton of the deal mrs may is likely to put to her cabinet on thursday? we might be but we have been here before. we keep expecting a resolution of this question. if there is to be no difference, if we are to be close and aligned, that will be good for business. the labour party has been clear there should be no deregulation. but the government voted against amendments when we were pushing that. this has to be resolved one way or the other. close distant? labour party says close. i hope the prime minister can resolve this. the talks cannot go anywhere until this question is answered. mr davies said this is an arrangement where we stick by eu rules without them being eu rules. that is in the interest of the eu as well because they want frictionless trade. in other words they would be wise to take that deal.”
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trade. in other words they would be wise to take that deal. i think the eu wants to make sure we are not a deregulated race to the bottom country on the shores of europe. neither does labour or anybody who cares about standards. the problem is while you have got people in the saying we would like to deregulate, some in the past have said the whole point of the exercise is to get rid of workplace rights. it is hard to see how that can hold very long with this cabinet. what about the labour party position? i know you had an away day yesterday to thrash out a final position. what is your position on something as crucial as whether you support membership of a customs union? on a customs union, the position we adopted last summer was we want to be in it during a transitional arrangement and after that it should always be an option on the table. the challenge we have put to the government is how can you say they will not be a hard border replacing northern ireland? have you say they will not be damaged to trade after the customs union is of
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the negotiating table? that is a big divide between their position and ours. david davis today speaking alongside michael gove. liam fox also doing a speech today. you get the sense that things are reaching a critical moment when mrs may will finally have to spell out exactly what the government position is in order to get at trade deal after brexit. norman smith at westminster, thank you very much. we will go to brussels and hear from adam fleming with reaction. nothing mad max to worry about. what are people saying over there? there is much speculation on twitter about what british macro would be like other than mad max. —— brexit would be like. extracts david davis's speech was released last night for newspapers, meaning when eu finance ministers arrived for the meeting in brussels this morning i could ask what they thought about some of the concept. this is what they had to say. i think it is in each other's
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interest... do you trust the uk or is there a lack of trust? not on our part. i would trust of the uk, definitely. in this day and age you cannot be selfish and go it alone. it is impossible. each side would realise that. if there is a certain free flow of goods obviously the standards must be the same. if you wa nt total standards must be the same. if you want total liberty on the one hand and do what you want on standards and do what you want on standards and other things, you cannot have a free entrance of gertz. that is how it balances. —— of goods.” free entrance of gertz. that is how it balances. -- of goods. i always trust the british politicians, of course. but we need... what one politician says today, you might have new politicians and new governments in the years to come. of
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course i would trust david davis but we do not know who will come after him sunday in the future. those short clips are a good summary of broadly the opinion on this subject among the eu 27. —— some day in future. but the are two slight problems with what david davis was doing today. what the eu operates on is commitment is written binding and very precise and enforceable and they did not quite get that in his speech today. the other thing is how it fits into brexit negotiations. what the officials working on those talks want again is written down concrete proposals from the uk that they can then negotiate rather than a series of speeches. and in their favourite phrase they say the clock is ticking, because the remaining 27 members will start the process very soon of writing their guidelines for the next phase of brexit talks, about the shape of the future relationship, which will be agreed
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by leaders at a summit on march the 23rd. but it may take may be four weeks to get that document ready. that is why pressure is coming from this side of the argument onto the prime minister to spell out exactly what she would want the future relationship to look at them —— look like and to do it very soon. studio: thank you very much. it's expected that many of kfc‘s 900 uk outlets will remain closed today — because of a continuing lack of chicken. the fast food chain has blamed teething problems after switching to a new logistics deal with dhl and quick service logistics. kfc is encouraging staff to take holiday while outlets are closed. they say salaried staff will be paid as normal. but the majority of outlets are franchises — which means many workers could be hit hard. a statement has literallyjust coming from the uk head office in working in surrey. "we anticipate the number of closures will reduce
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today and over the coming days, as our teams work flat out to clear the backlog, more deliveries are being made. however, we expect the disruption to some restaurants to continue over the remainder of the week. which means some will be closed and others will operate with a reduced menu or shortened hours. oxfam's chief executive apologises to mps about the scandal in haiti and several thousand people have cancelled regular donations. david davis promises to uphold worker rights and environmental standards during a speech in vienna. a fine of over £6 million for the bookmaker william hill forfailing over £6 million for the bookmaker william hill for failing to take adequate steps to prevent money—laundering. time to bring you up to date with the sports news with 0llie foster. it is all overfor great
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the sports news with 0llie foster. it is all over for great britain's elise christie at the winter olympics, failing in all three of her events. her last chance was in the 1000 metres but in the heat today she was disqualified. and swiss is in jung today she was disqualified. and swiss is injung chang. hello, andy. —— pyeonchang. there was an inevitability about this, wasn't there? yes, just when you thought it could not get any worse, elise christie has had it worse. desperate disappointment. she emerged from the heat clearly struggling with the ankle injury she picked up on saturday. she fell in the first few metres at the start of the race after she was clips by one of her rivals. she fell awkwardly and looked in a lot of pain but was able to get up. the race restarted and she took part in the restarted race. she began very slowly but picked up pace as the race went on. and in fa ct pace as the race went on. and in fact on the last lap she came through and finished in second place in the qualifying spot. at that
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point we thought she had qualified for the next round on thursday. such a brave performance from her. she had to be carried from a track in pain afterwards. but then the cruellest of twists, because shortly after leaving the track it flashed up after leaving the track it flashed up on the scoreboard she had been disqualified for two penalties, for impeding her fellow athletes, disqualified for two penalties, for impeding herfellow athletes, after two falls in herfirst impeding herfellow athletes, after two falls in her first two vents, disqualification afterwards, she tried to make some sense of what had happened. days ago i did not think i would be getting on the ice. i did everything i could to turn this around. i have ligament damage in my ankle and putting a skate on with thatis ankle and putting a skate on with that is not the most comfy thing in the world. we did everything we could to turn it around. it obviously was not meant to be. could to turn it around. it obviously was not meant to hem could to turn it around. it obviously was not meant to be. if it was any other competition would you have been on there today? no, i would have been out five or six weeks. i have would have been in
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rehab. that would not have been my choice. i would rehab. that would not have been my choice. iwould be rehab. that would not have been my choice. i would be told i am not getting on. the only reason they gave me the choice is because it is an olympics. the worst that could happen is high damage it more and i might well have. i have been kicked in it and fallen from the start. but that did not matter to me. i have trained all my life for this. it was everything to me. yes... it is done. she laughed and she was gutsy to front up after all that disappointment. i know the british tea m disappointment. i know the british team have had a psychologist in place to help her deal with any calamities after what happened last time. but they cannot have drained it would have been as bad as four yea rs it would have been as bad as four years ago. it almost defies belief after what happened at the last games in sochi when she was disqualified from all three events. she received death threats and thought about quitting. she decided to carry on and last year became a
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triple world champion. this was all about redemption for elise christie. it was a chance to get that elusive 0lympic it was a chance to get that elusive olympic medal. we thought surely things could not get as bad as they did four years ago. but two falls under disqualification. yet again her 0lympics have ended in heartache. andy swiss, many thanks for now. that is all the sport for now. i will be back after one o'clock. go to the bbc sport website for a full round—up from the winter 0lympics. for a full round—up from the winter olympics. ollie foster, thank you very much indeed. the united nations has demanded an end to the targeting of civilians in syria — as government forces intensify their bombardment of an area near damascus. syrian activists say that 100 civilians, including 20 children, have been killed over the past 24 hours in the rebel held enclave of eastern ghouta, on the outskirts of the capital. the syria civil defence force, also known as the white helmets, said bombs were continuing to fall this morning.
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there was no comment from the syrian military but the syrian government says that it targets militants and not civilians. a warning — lina sinjab's report contains some distressing images. sirens wail. syria's war is intensifying in eastern ghouta. government air attacks rained down again today. scores more dead, hundreds more injured. another desperate search for survivors here in the neighbourhood of hamouriyah. it's hell, activists have told us. they say the final stages in the battle for eastern ghouta, one of the last rebel—held areas in the country, is under way. houses reduced to rubble, hospitals hit, children terrified. "i want my mum," this girl cries, "i want to get out." this is what is left of their home. finally, they are out. people living in ghouta say barrel
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bombs and surface—to—surface missiles were used to target them. today was a very miserable day for eastern ghouta. there was many air strikes and many shellings and bombings. the worst thing in eastern ghouta we didn't see before is helicopters, meaning there are barrels of tnt. 0ne barrel can destroy one neighbourhood completely. that is most fearing for the civilians here in eastern ghouta. syrian government forces and their russian allies are determined to clear this area of opposition fighters and take back full control of the capital, damascus. but with the death toll rising to the highest in a single day this year, the question is, at what price? lina sinjab, bbc news, beirut. as well as its offensive against rebels near damascus, the syrian army has sent troops to the city of afrin in the north of the country, which has been under attack by turkish forces.
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turkey launched its operation against the kurdish militia — codenamed olive branch, as a response to growing calls for independence from the kurdish population in the region. a bbc arabic crew were the only international broadcasters to reach the area. rami ruhayem reports. inside this area, the newest front line of the syrian civil war. the city is the focus of an attack by the british army. as they vent angen the british army. as they vent anger, protesters carry pictures of the jailed leader of the kurdish group which has waged a decade—long war inside turkey. kurds have been pushing for autonomy and turkey has grown increasingly nervous. invading northern syria was their response. a bbc arabic crew travelled through territory controlled by the syrian army before they arrived here. there
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was no attempt to stop them. in spite their own misgivings about kurdish separatism, it seems damascus even more incensed by the actions of turkey. it has just announced it will send troops to help repel the invasion. as turkish warplanes attacked border villages, civilians flee towards arfin. this dark shell is all she could find for herself and her children. translation: on that day there was bombing. the planes came over our village. it bombed the area. we were flight -- village. it bombed the area. we were flight —— frightened and we left. my daughter was crying. we came to this cave. you can see it is dark and scary. the kurdish fighters are resisting the turkish advance. they have been putting and video showing their attacks on turkey ‘s positions. translation: so far
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militarily the turkish army is in crisis. yes they have entered syria territory. there are clashes in border villages but they cannot say they have consolidated their positions anywhere. but the turkish military presents a very different picture. these shots show kurdish units tracked by a kurdish drone and then destroyed. turkey's aim is to stop the creation of a continuous kurdish region on its southern border. for the moment the fighting is concentrated around arfin. the next objective for turkey is further east. but it is notjust kurdish forces based here. the us is here as well. it supported the kurds in the fight against is. that has strained relations with turkey. this has pushed it to rating point. we have a lwa ys pushed it to rating point. we have always been clear to turkey that the weapons provided to the syrian forces would be limited, mission
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specific and invited on an incremental basis to achieve military objectives only. as to arfin, we call upon turkey to show restraint in operations to minimise the casualties of civilians and avoid actions that would escalate the situation in that area. back inside arfin the conflict is taking its toll. 21 fighters are being laid to rest. help may be on the way but ata to rest. help may be on the way but at a cost. the regime would be fighting to extend its sovereignty, while the kurds would be fighting to defend their dream of self—rule. the bookmaker william hill has been fined £6.2 million by the gambling commission forfailing to prevent money laundering. the commission said that "systemic" failures by senior management and ineffective social responsibility processes meant that ten customers were allowed to deposit large sums of money
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linked to criminal offences. the commission warned william hill may have to pay more if more money laundering comes to light. tim miller, from the gambling commission, says today's fine sends a message to the whole gambling industry. we know that in britain there are roundabout 2.5 million people either problem gamblers or at risk of developing a problem. these responsibilities gambling companies must take seriously. today shows where they do not they could face and robust regulation. gambling is clearly a fast changing area, with technology making changes, happening all the time. i think our decision shows today that the rules do work. if somebody does not comply with the rules, they will face stiff regulatory action from us. the decision today does notjust send a clear message to william hill but to the entire gambling industry. that
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was tim miller. american students demanding action on gun control have taken their demonstrations to washington, following last week's florida school shooting in which 17 people were killed. the students want to see a turning point in the american debate about guns, after president trump promised to support efforts to improve background checks on gun ownership. ben ando reports. cassie bernall, 17. stephen curnow, 14. as the names of the dead were read out, students lay down outside the white house to represent the 17 who were killed at marjory stoneman douglas school in florida last week. their message, said one survivor of the shooting, was simple — these demonstrations will go on until the lawmakers of the us congress do something about guns. he's going to see in our eyes that we're not going to back down, no matter what. we're not going to stop until this country changes. and president trump may be listening. a spokesman says he supports a bill
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aimed at strengthening background checks on those buying guns. it's something of a shift for a president who has had the backing of the nra, america's powerful national rifle association. it comes as 19—year—old nikolas cruz, a former student accused of the shootings, appeared in court. he bought his weapons, as many as ten, entirely legally, despite a record of mental health issues. enough is enough, enough is enough! these demonstrators may be too young to vote now but that changes with every passing day, and lawmakers know soon they'll be able to have their say at the ballot box, notjust on the streets. ben ando, bbc news. now the weather with susan. quite mixed fortunes across the british isles today. a lot of sunshine to the north and west. we have a
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weather front in the east making for a grey day and bringing in drizzly outbreaks of rain. more of that this afternoon. if anything turning heavier and more persistent across east anglia for a time in the next hours. temperatures still doing reasonably well, with a bit of brightness, 11 or 12 degrees possible in the south—west. in the evening and overnight the weather front continues fizzling out across the eastern side, but keep enough clout to hold an overnight frost at bay. 0ne clout to hold an overnight frost at bay. one or two spots close to zero. further north and west with clearer skies, lows of around —2 or minus three. but the north and west get the best of the sunshine first thing on wednesday. a largely fine day to come. maybe thicker cloud in wales for a time come. maybe thicker cloud in wales fora time and come. maybe thicker cloud in wales for a time and a light spot of rain but nothing too significant. already feeling a little colder. that is just a taste of things to come. it is going to be exceptionally cold come next week. this is bbc newsroom live.
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our latest headlines: oxfam's chief executive has apologised to mps for the damage the charity has done to the people of haiti and the wider efforts of aid workers. he has been facing questions over allegations of sexual misconduct by 0xfam staff. he revealed that 7000 regular donations had been cancelled over the last ten days. i am sorry, we are sorry, for the damage that 0xfam has done. britain will uphold rights and standards and not undercut the eu after brexit, david davis has said, saying the uk had no intention of becoming a mad—max—style dystopia. chicken chaos — kfc has closed more outlets after delivery problems meant the company ran out of chicken. ina in a statement within the last art, the company said it anticipates the disruption will lessen in the next few days. and crashing out — britain's elise christie is disqualified from the 1000—metre speed skating heat,
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ending her 0lympic dream. syrian government forces are bombarding the rebel—held enclave of eastern ghouta for a third day. activists say more than 150 civilians have been killed in the past 24 hours. 0ur middle east editor jeremy bowen is here. give us a sense of the scale of what people are enduring. a terrible situation. i was in eastern ghouta a couple of years ago when it was easier, still very difficult but it's impossible to cross into eastern damascus from ghouta, but even then it was very badly damaged so goodness knows what it is like there. there are around 400,000 civilians and antique regime fighters and it is looking as if the
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regime of resident bashar al—assad and his allies, the iranians and the russians, have decided to roll up the last rebel enclave around damascus. why might they see this as the time to do that? the position of president assad is stronger now than at any president assad is stronger now than atany time president assad is stronger now than at any time since the war started, with all the help he has had from the russians but also from iran and other groups. because of that he has taken back a lot of the territory that had been taken from him and generally politically he is not isolated in the way that he was towards the beginning of the war. at that time there was a ring of rebel held territory around damascus, you had the sounds of war the whole time and it hasn't been like that of late because they have eaten away and
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start them out and besiege them and so those enclaves are no longer there so it has become an increasingly lonely life for people in eastern ghouta. what international efforts have been made to pull things back from the brink? the area was supposedly part of a deconfliction zone where they tried to lower the temperature but clearly thatis to lower the temperature but clearly that is not happening. i think the un will be active and try to do the things they tried to do but i think one characteristic of this war from the time it started is that the actions of outside powers who don't have forces on the ground are not releva nt. have forces on the ground are not relevant. it's all about force and about those who were stronger and at the moment i think for the people in eastern ghouta and antique regime fighters there, this is looking like a difficult moment. there are
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comparisons with what happened in aleppo, does it look on that scale? in aleppo, the russians did are strikes and heavy artillery and i was there just after it was taken by the regime and its allies and in many years of covering wars i have rarely seen a place so absolutely destroyed, so i hope for the sake of the people in ghouta it will not be like that but that is the type of tactic that has been used in the past so it's possible. jeremy, thank you. as we've been hearing, the brexit secretary, david davis, has told business leaders in vienna that britain doesn't want to undermine its neighbours when it leaves the eu. in a speech, he said he wants close co—operation to continue, to ensure "frictionless" trade. let's cross live to westminster and get more from our assistant political editor, norman smith. norman. we've been hearing notjust from
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david davis but from michael gove and liam fox, all with a similar message, the eu can trust britain post—brexit to stick to the same sort of rules that the eu has, only they would be our rules, so we would not be signing up to eu regulations but would abide by pretty much the same regime, in the hope that might be enough to reassure the eu to give us that crucial trade deal. what do some of mrs mabe's brexit critics of it? i'm joined by some of mrs mabe's brexit critics of it? i'mjoined by the some of mrs mabe's brexit critics of it? i'm joined by the conservative mp antoinette sandbach. is that a deal you would be happy with? welcome permission that regulatory alignment is necessary to have a workable deal, sol alignment is necessary to have a workable deal, so i welcome the recognition that we will have to reach agreements on standards and nontariff barriers which are the biggest threat to the british
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economy as we leave the eu. but it would still mean we were not signed up would still mean we were not signed up to eu rules and the eu might say, that's not good enough, if you want that's not good enough, if you want that deal it has to be done in black and white? hopefully that's a matter for negotiation but that is why i and other colleagues say if we cannot reach agreement, the plan b should be and after work and norway style agreement that would allow us to operate in those rules. if when theresa may gathers ministers at chequers, that is the final position, is that something you can support? i would support it if it is delivered but one example david davis gave was the vehicle certification authority, we know car manufacturing here in the uk is not recognised in europe, we will lose tens of thousands ofjobs here, so
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it is important that it is delivered and the key will be the arbitration mechanism, at the moment it's the ecj. mechanism, at the moment it's the ecj, and it was the detail that was lacking in his speech. i welcome the sentiments but the detail was lacking. the other pressure will come from brexiteers who have said they don't want to sign up to alignment because that might compromise our ability to strike free trade deals. i think that is not correct and all the examples cited by david davis showed for the british parliament was putting extra regulation that wasn't present in europe and showed the sovereignty that we have here in britain even while we are in the eu. we know theresa may ruled out the option of a customs union, there were concerns about what that means for the border
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between northern ireland and the republic of ireland, there is likely to bea republic of ireland, there is likely to be a commons vote on that later, so how significant a hurdle will that be? we need a realistic settlement that deals with the issue is in northern ireland and doesn't put the good friday agreement at risk and i was encouraged to see david davis say that the government is committed to the good friday agreement. there may be other noises from brexiteers but the government remains committed and we need a common—sense solution that will require a solution on customs. so there will need to be a customs union if there is directionless trade and travel between northern ireland and the republic. there will have to be a customs agreement but it depends what form that takes, so we think that if we cannot reach
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that, then charity commission should be the plan day. —— maybe there will be smoke emerging from the chimneys of chequers and we will report it if there is. the environment secretary, michael gove, has signalled the government will support moves to ensure a special deal for eu farm workers after brexit. speaking at the national farmers' union conference in birmingham, mr gove said the case for a seasonal agricultural workers scheme was "compelling". for g rowers for growers access to seasonal labour is mission—critical and whether it is in kent or in angus, across the uk, the demand for clarity on labour is being powerfully and loudly articulated. i
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talked to amber rudd and caroline nokes at the home office and i hope to be able to save more shortly but while i hear the arguments and can articulate, i hope on your behalf that i have to acknowledge that the lead department in this is the home office, they have to bounce a number of migration issues but the nfu could not be more coherent in the way you have made that case, i know from the way that well briefed mps explain to me in the particular circumstances, sometimes there are organisations when they mount a campaign who sometimes, what is the word, have a tendency to exaggerate to make the case but i know that is not the case here and the arguments have been very precisely and authoritatively and that is why i hope we can say more shortly. that
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was michael gove speaking at the nfu conference in birmingham. some news about a planning application in cumbria which has been causing debate about at set of zip wires over delamere in the lake district. it was put in by a company called tree top trek but has now been withdrawn. he says, we made it clear from the beginning of this process that we would not support a scheme that we would not support a scheme that was not supported by the ministry of defence, and he then talks about to pieces of communication from the ministry, he says it will not be resolved next eight weeks and as a result that application has been withdrawn. more now on the news that the chief executive of oxfam has apologised to mps for the way he defended his charity following allegations of sexual misconduct. mark goldring has been called to answer questions from the international development committee about staff using prostitutes in haiti in 2011.
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let's talk to andrew macleod in geneva. he is up for un worker. —— eight former un worker. a very clear apology from mark goldring, i wonder how you respond to that in the context of all this. it's a nice start but it came kicking and screaming. it has taken 0xfam a long time to realise how much they have betrayed the taxpayer and donors and to realise they are not above the law, not in haiti for the uk or belgium. the trail is a strong word which implies you want to hear more from them, what specifically? they need to take their head of delegation back to haiti and face justice there. they also need to
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find the prostitutes involved and make sure they are properly compensated, and make sure this horrendous situation is turned into something positive and give us a definitive answer on whether any of these prostitutes were children because if they were, someone needs to go to jail in belgium and someone needs to go to jail in the uk for aiding and abetting. did you sense now that some of what you has just demanded has been recognised as needing to be addressed?” demanded has been recognised as needing to be addressed? i think they are starting to realise that this is coming from external pressure. this is a failure of moral leadership and penny morgan is correct in saying that, she has been demanding that 0xfam asked the dossiers to the police and it's only because other people are demanding
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this that 0xfam are starting to see they have to be held to account but they have to be held to account but they still don't understand the scale of the problem and what they have done wrong. a point about the wider issues, mark goldring mentioned that 7000 regular donations have been ended since this crisis hit the headlines. what impact has there been on the wider willingness of people to give to charities like this? my view is that this is not a chance to cut aid but to fix aid and a lot of people will not be sceptical because they want to know, is the charity i have chosen a good charity or is it raping children, so if you want to check whether your charity is taking this seriously, ask them how many of their staff have they reported to police forces for prostitution because if the answer is none, they have not taken it seriously. the
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majority of aid workers are good workers but we are seeing some food workers but we are seeing some food workers and aid worker having a negative impact and we need to have a bigger discussion about aid effectiveness and which programmes work and don't work, not so we can cut aid but so we can redirect it to effective programmes that lift people out of poverty. thank you for coming on. the headlines on bbc newsroom live: oxfam's chief executive apologises to mps for the sexual misconduct scandal in haiti and told them 7000 "regular" donations to oxfam have been cancelled in the last ten days. david davis promises to uphold workers' rights and environmental standards after brexit in a speech in vienna. and the end of the olympic dream for great britain's elise christie as she is disqualified from her speed skating heat. police forces in the uk recorded nearly 65,000 child sex offences
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last year — an all—time high. the figures obtained by the nspcc reveal a sharp increase in crimes committed online, as well as rape and sexual assault. jon ironmonger reports. every eight minutes, police recorded a sexual offence against a child last year and data from all police forces suggests the total number of offences has reached a record high, rising by 15% in 2017 compared to 2016. crimes ranged from grooming to serious sexual assaults. around a fifth were recorded against children under the age of ten. better police recording is likely to be a factor behind the figures and the nspcc says more children are finding the courage to speak out. that might be due to the fact that there's been a relatively large number of high—profile cases recently but it's also testament to the good preventative work happening in schools and homes up
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up and down the country where children are having conversations about the signs of abuse with teachers. the research also reveals a dramatic increase in the number of online grooming offences which account for a tenth of the total recorded, keeping more pressure on internet companies to grapple with the problem. jon ironmonger, bbc news. campaigners say the government should criminalise "upskirting" as a sexual offence after police data showed one complainant was 10 years old. the practice of covertly photographing under the skirts of women is currently not recognised as a specific offence. figures released following a freedom of information have found there have been just 11 charges related to upskirting since 2015.
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i was on the tube, i had just sat down and a man across from me started shouting at the man sitting next to him saying i've seen what you've done, you've just taken a picture of that girl's skirt. he then said to me, he'sjust picture of that girl's skirt. he then said to me, he's just taken pictures up your skirt, he turned to my parents and said the same thing andi my parents and said the same thing and i was so humiliated and ijust froze and fortunately at that moment we pulled up at the next stop and i got off the tube and burst into tea rs. a charity is calling for debt charges and interest to be temporarily frozen for people being treated for a mental health crisis. the money and mental health policy institute wants them to have a "breathing space" of six weeks. 0ur consumer affairs correspondent, nina warhurst, reports. they're sometimes called the ugly sisters — depression and debt. they move in a vicious circle. depression and debts, depression and debts,
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until it can feel like there's no way out. often called a spiral of disruptive thinking, so you start thinking about the debt, debt collectors, losing your property and your assets, your job, friends, family. you've gotta pay this, you've gotta pay that, when are you paying it, how are you paying it, and you can't. .. this is lee. he lives with a condition called bipolar disorder and over manic episodes, he worked up over £30,000 of debt. what would you say to someone who said this is your responsibility, to pick up the phone and take control of this? when you're in that dark of an episode, it's hard to pick up the phone to my mum and say, hi, mum, i'm really, really struggling. there have been occasions when i've got under the bed and stayed there because it's the safest place i felt. literally under bed ? literally under the bed. not under the duvet? no, under the bed. there's been three instances where it's got to a point where i thought, i don't think i can go on.
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there's been two of those instances where i came very close. last year, it's thought 23,000 people were being chased for debt while being treated in hospital for their mental health. and today's report is calling on government to give anyone who's in mental health crisis six weeks of breathing space, meaning a freeze on interest and debt collection. the report outlines the different ways that depression and anxiety can impact debt. so it talked about people who'd lost theirjobs and then were too poorly to pay their bills. 0thers who'd been sectioned and then came home to find court summons. and there was even an example of someone who tried to take their own life after visits from bailiffs. and the breathing space wouldn't make this debt disappear, but it would offer some sense of control. all of the energy suppliers, banks and lenders we spoke to say they're always keen to listen
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to customers who are struggling. but campaigners say it's essential that changes become law. providers can often be very good if people contact them but that isn't an option for many people who have an acute mental illness, if you're being hospitalised in a way that you're not functional, calling up your lender might be something that's absolutely impossible for you to do and something you're not thinking about because you're not making the standard logical decisions that you may normally do. now lee's biggest financial headache is saving for his wedding, but he says that might have all happened sooner if he'd been given the space to take control of his debt. nina warhurst, bbc news. as far as school projects go, it's out of this world. children from dozens of schools across britain have made tiny sculptures that will be launched into space on a nasa rocket in april. as part of an experiment to test a new space camera, their creations will then be filmed floating in microgravity. 0ur science correspondent richard westcott has more.
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when i made something in school, it just ended up on my parents' shelf. these children have got loftier plans. their work's going on a real nasa rocket. hundreds of sugar—cube—sized sculptures will be blasted into space about 200 miles up to enter microgravity for about 30 seconds before the rocket comes back down to earth again. long meadow primary in milton keynes is one of dozens of schools sending work to the stars. they could have made anything. they decided to craft tiny cows. and then i was just screaming. i could not believe it. i did not think my cow would be picked. it is amazing for mine to be picked to go into space, where not many people have explored. i feel very special. why do you feel special?
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it's a once—in—a—lifetime opportunity, and, you know, it's not every day a cow gets sent to space. and it's notjust the children pinching themselves. i must admit, to start with, i did not believe it, but i knew it came from a good source. soi so i researched it a bit further and yeah. it is just unbelievable. i keep saying to the children, "do you realise there are going into space!" "into space!" the company behind the project want to film the sculptures floating around inside a small box. they're trialling a camera which will eventually be used to explore the moon for water. so, neil, here are the competition entrants from all over the world. a huge variety of sculptures from all over the world. talk me through it. it has been an incredible response from participants. as you can see, a huge variety of materials and concepts the kids have come up with. that's exactly what we wanted to inspire. i see a little tim peake there. is that right? it is, yeah.
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we wanted to inspire future generations of engineers. the age to do that is between five and ten. we wanted a concept that would maximise participation from children all over the world of all ages. launch date is now t minus six weeks and counting. five, four, three, two, one. go! it didn't work! richard westcott, bbc news, milton keynes. in a moment the news at one with reeta chakrabarti. first, the weather. there's plenty of fair weather on the way in the next few days, even into next week but it will turn increasingly chilly. today we had a weather front in the east, this line of cloud bringing patchy rain and a
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bit more to come this evening, the cloud helping colder temperatures up, a few spots around freezing but mostly i couple of degrees above, further north and west are clearer skies and lighter winds. that weather front is a short lived affair in the east because high pressure will around it in the next 24 hours, by wednesday it has practically gone, just a legacy of cloud and high pressure dominating for the next ten days, more on those effects in a moment but for wednesday it brings a largely fine day, still some cloud left over feeding into england and wales but most areas getting some brightness, already feeling a bit cooler than today with highs of seven or 8 degrees. for thursday high pressure doing itsjob degrees. for thursday high pressure doing its job and degrees. for thursday high pressure doing itsjob and holding these weather fronts at bay, there will be
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some patchy cloud, perhaps the biggest change on thursday will be easterly winds starting to strengthen, just four degrees in norwich and with the effect of the wind it will feel colder but that wind it will feel colder but that wind will really come into play at the weekend, the easterly remain strong for london and cardiff for friday and saturday but sunny spells widely, the centre of cross scandinavia on saturday, a fine weekend but are feeding around the bottom of this hike comes all the way from siberia, cold for any time of year but especially at the moment, that cold air pushing across the british isles on monday and tuesday and we will feel at. next week a lot of fine weather, but widespread frost and the wind will be especially raw. to get short track out there to the world and to britain. she has, and i think in that sense she needs to not be so tough on her self. i feel for
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her desperately. she said she has appreciated that support. we the chief executive of oxfam says sorry for the damage done by the charity to people it should have been helping. and to the aid sector. he said thousands of people had cancelled their charity subscriptions following allegations that 0xfam aid workers had used prostitutes in haiti. i am sorry, we are sorry, for the damage that oxfam has done, both to the people of haiti
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and to the wider efforts of aid
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