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tv   BBC News at Ten  BBC News  February 20, 2018 10:00pm-10:30pm GMT

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despite the evidence, the syrian regime denies targeting civilians in its unrelenting airstrikes. as the bombing campaign intensifies, our middle east editorjeremy bowen will examine whether this a turning point in the seven—year conflict. also tonight: oxfam bosses come to parliament to face questions about their handling of the crisis involving allegations of sexual misconduct. please allow me to begin by saying how sorry i am scientists find the cause of a rare disorder that can lead to serious disfigurement and be life—threatening. my hopes and dreams for the funding and the research is we'll one day find a cure and christie goes down before they reach the very first corner. more heartbreak for team gb's elise christie, as her hopes of a winter olympic medal have disappeared. and coming up, i'm at
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stamford bridge with the latest as chelsea take on barcelona in the champions league. and coming upon sportsday on bbc news, could chelsea get the better of barcelona in the first leg of their last 16 tie good evening. the united nations says it's deeply concerned about the fate of hundreds of thousands of people in the syrian district of eastern ghouta, which is still under rebel control. syrian government forces have carried out some of the heaviest
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starved and bombed into submission. explosion, screaming now, it looks to be eastern ghouta's turn as the regime pushes for decisive victory around the capital. screaming sirens activists in eastern ghouta say this is as bad as it's been. you can hear the shout and crying of women and children through the windows of their homes and the missiles and mortars dropping on us like rain. there is nowhere to hide from this
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nightmare in eastern ghouta. a generation has been born into the war. dozens have been killed by it in the last few hours in eastern ghouta. over the years of siege, they've set up a network of underground hospitals. this girl, named in arabic "angel", escaped the worst, but will have to go back to the streets to get home. and this is her area. with a regime plane dropping what appears to be a barrel bomb, unguided — an indiscriminate killer. the syrian regime denies attacking civilians. it says it's trying to liberate eastern ghouta from terrorists. eastern ghouta is a sprawling mix of concrete suburbs and farmland, starting about nine miles east of damascus‘ city centre.
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of damascus city centre. the syrian rebels who have controlled it since 2012 include several islamist militias, including one with its roots in al-anda. eastern ghouta is surrounded by syrian government forces. before the war, it was just a short drive from the syrian presidential palace. officially, it's been designated a de—escalation zone, that is an empty phrase. force decides what happens in syria. after seven years, syria's war isn't ending, but it's changing. president assad, with the help of russia and iran, is now secure, but syria is linked into a web of war and power politics, which guarantees more bloodshed. how many times in the last seven years have syrians dug through the rubble for survivors? there's talk of safe
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corridors out for civilians, but, based on past form, the regime wants victory in eastern ghouta and the surrender of the rebels. jeremy bowen, bbc news. jeremy hunt is with me. if assad's forces do manage to gain control of eastern ghouta, will that constitute a turning point in this conflict?m will be really important for the regime and the area around the capital damascus. it is not, though, the end of the war. back when the war was starting in 2012, 2013, i was able to cross into eastern ghouta. it was very difficult then, impossible recently, but there were real high hopes because there were other enclaves around the edge of the capital and they hoped this would really be a knife to the heart of the regime. as we see, it looks now very much as if assad is preparing to try and roll up this
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final enclave around damascus and that will secure his victory around the capital and so for him and for the capital and so for him and for the capital, it's a very big moment. the reason i say the war isn't over is because of what is happening elsewhere. up in a zero, very tangled, some big, important powers involved. russia is involved, iran is involved, the turks, americans and british special forces there as of people competing for influence in that particular area. power politics coming to get —— together with the threat of war and also the whole position of iran, perceived as a big threat by the israelis, who are also getting involved their increasingly, by the americans and the saudis, who have been big players in the war as well, so we are seeing a different cast of characters but we are continuing to see bloodshed and all that means is it is certainly not over. jeremy, thank you very much. and for more details on the background to the war in syria, you can visit bbc.co.uk/news for our analysis on the seven—year conflict. pieces byjeremy and other
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colleagues, too. that's bbc.co.uk/news. the charity oxfam is now investigating 26 allegations of sexual misconduct, which have been reported since allegations were made against some of its workers in haiti. the charity's leaders were questioned today by a parliamentary committee at westminster, when they admitted that thousands of people had cancelled their monthly donations since the the scandal broke, as our diplomatic correspondent james landale reports. in 2010, haiti was flooded with aid workers, most there to help the country recover from the earthquake. but seven men from oxfam were also hiring prostitutes and bullying colleagues, men who were eventually dismissed or allowed to resign. today, the charity's most senior executives were summoned to parliament to explain what had gone on and why oxfam hadn't been more open and done more to stop it happening again. sorry wasn't the half of it. i am sorry, we are sorry,
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for the damage that oxfam has done. on behalf of the council of oxfam, that we are ashamed of what happened in haiti, we don't think it was well handled. please allow me to begin by saying how sorry i am about what has happened. lam ashamed. in particular, oxfam's chief executive apologised for suggesting the criticism the charity was getting was disproportionate, saying it wasn't as if babies had been murdered in their cots. i do apologise. i was thinking under stress. i had given many interviews, i had made many decisions to try and lead oxfam's response to this. oxfam, he admitted, had not been explicit about what went on and was now paying a price. 7,000 people have cancelled their regular donations in the past ten days. corporate sponsors were reserving judgment. and... how many more revelations have come to your notice? across oxfam great britain,
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we have had about 26 stories, reports, come to us that were either new reports come out as a result of the stories, or earlier stories, where people said, "i didn't necessarily report this at the time." mps just couldn't hide their frustration. you as an organisation are dealing with these women and girls as if they are just trinkets, and you can pay for them and give them a bit of aid and that's ok. and you don't, when you know about it, the organisation does not report it to the haitian authorities. that's pretty shocking. it's really heartbreaking that... it is. that we are in this situation. but i want to assure you that we are not doing nothing. from our point of view, does it not look like oxfam was more interested in protecting its own brand than protecting vulnerable women and girls?
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it may look like that, mr law. i can't do anything other than say i think it was wrong. i am conscious of the fact you didn't hold responsibility at the time. the committee chairman said he would now hold a full enquiry, the fourth that oxfam is now facing, to ensure it gets its house in order. so, oxfam is apologising to mps, it's being more transparent. but what is clear from today's evidence is that to recover public trust, it will have to change a culture that tolerated the exploitation of vulnerable women. thank you, mr speaker. in the commons, oxfam was warned that if new safeguarding procedures were not in place by the end of next week, then current government funding could be cut. the uk government reserves the right to take whatever decisions about present or future funding to oxfam or any other organisation we deem necessary. the real test will come, of course, not in haiti but the next time there is another natural disaster and the world's aid industry is deployed once again.
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james is with me now. we have been focusing, understandably, on oxfam's difficulties but tonight, another charity facing difficult questions. these allegations about somebody called justin forsyth, former downing street adviser and former chief executive of save the children. radio 4's pm programme revealed mr forsyth was subject to three separate complaints of inappropriate behaviour towards female members of staff before he left the save the children in 2015. mr forsyth said in a statement he had made personal mistakes and "i recognise that on a few occasions i had a unsuitable and thoughtless, stations with colleagues which i now know caused offence and hurt. i apologise unreservedly to the collea g u es apologise unreservedly to the colleagues involved and i thought theissue colleagues involved and i thought the issue closed many years ago." mr forsyth is currently a senior figure at the un charity unicef and it said
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tonight it is discussing the matter with him "so we can take appropriate action." this of course is the second case involving the charity in recent days. brendan cox, the husband of the murdered mpjo cox, admitted at the weekend that he had made mistakes and behaved in a way that caused some women heard and offence when he had worked at the same charity. james, thanks very much. the brexit secretary david davis has tried to reassure the eu that the uk won't pursue a radical programme of deregulation after britain leaves the european union. speaking ahead of a meeting on thursday when senior ministers will try to agree the government's position on a final brexit deal, mr davis told business leaders in vienna that the uk wants to promote rights and standards. labour says the assurance from mr davis is not worth the paper it's written on, as our political correspondent vicki young reports. the uk has decided to carve out a different path to the european union. but ministers don't seem to be preparing for a sharp change in direction.
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the message here in vienna was more about reassurance. david davis denying accusations from labour that the government plans to sweep away rules that protect workers or the environment. they fear that brexit could lead to an anglo—saxon race to the bottom. with britain plunged into a mad max style world borrowed from dystopian fiction. these fears about a race to the bottom are based on nothing. he argued that high standards could help ensure trade with the eu remained as frictionless as possible, with both sides recognising each other‘s rules and institutions. some of the business leaders in the audience who want to keep close ties to britain were encouraged by mr davis' words. i think his tone is now different to what it was maybe one year ago. in reality, hopefully it will bring us together. in the end, there will be closer relationships close relationships
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between the eu and the uk, otherwise nobody will win. david davis' words today are a far cry from what many in his own party have been saying about the need to break away from the burden of eu red tape that's been stifling british business for decades. he prefers to talk now about ongoing cooperation and mutual trust with the european union after brexit. but, tonight, signs that some tory mps have their doubts about the government's approach. more than 60 eurosceptic mps have written a letter to theresa may, calling for her to grasp the opportunities of brexit, urging her to stand firm in negotiations and make sure britain really does have the power to make its own decisions. labour says it is the cabinet that needs to make up its mind. the problem is that you got david davis saying one thing, the problem is that you've got david davis saying one thing, borisjohnson saying something else and the prime minister saying almost nothing. it's got to be resolved. and that's the aim of thursday's meeting of senior cabinet ministers. david davis says he is certain a good deal with the eu
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is on the cards, but discord amongst his colleagues needs to be dealt with first. vicki young, bbc news, vienna. a brief look at some of the day's other news stories. labour'sjeremy corbyn has warned the press that "change is coming," as he accused them of publishing "lies and smears" over his contacts with a czech spy back in the 1980s. he suggested the reporting showed how "worried" media bosses were by the prospect of a labour government. a high courtjudge has ruled that doctors in liverpool can stop providing life support to a boy who's seriously ill, against his parents' wishes. alfie evans, who's 21 months old, suffers from an undiagnosed neurological degenerative condition. the judge said he agreed with medical specialists that further treatment was futile. the kfc fast food chain says disruption is expected to continue for the rest of the week after a change of delivery supplier
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meant that hey ran out of chicken. just under half of the 900 uk outlets are still closed. the company says a new delivery contract with dhl has disrupted their supplies. president trump says he wants officials to look at banning any devices that would turn legal, semi—automatic rifles into automatic weapons. the devices — known as ‘bump stocks' — were used by the gunman who killed 58 people in las vegas in october. scientists have discovered the cause of a rare blood vessel disorder that can cause serious facial disfigurement and life—threatening bleeding in children. the research, involving great ormond street hospital, pinpoints the genes responsible for the condition and, for the first time, identifies existing cancer drugs as a possible treatment. our medical correspondent, fergus walsh, has the story. ok, so we need to do the eggs, and froth the eggs. 13—year—old nikki christou
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never knows when her face will start to bleed. she has a rare disorder, which means high pressure blood in her arteries feeds directly into her veins. it causes swelling, facial disfigurement and life—threatening bleeds from her nose, and even her tear ducts. it's very scary because you don't really know if it's going to stop, how much blood you're losing, and if it is really bad, then i can, you know, become very light—headed and things like that. so i think when these bleeds happen, you just know that it's time for an ambulance. nikki has not let her condition, known as avm, hold her back. the winner of junior bake off is...nikki. as well as winning junior bake off in 2016, she's also interviewed the prime minister for cbbc. so what were you like as a teenager? oh, gosh. nikki has had hundreds of
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appointments at great ormond street hospital, and 30 operations. how are you doing? it's lovely to see you. you, too. i'm just going to have a little feel of your face. and is now part of ground—breaking research, which is led by her consultant. the team at ucl‘s institute of child health sequenced the dna of more than 150 children with her condition and found it could be triggered by fourfaulty genes. this is really an enormous step for us. having discovered the genetic causes of these in individual patients, we're now able to suggest treatments which could potentially slow the growth, stop the growth or perhaps even reverse the growth of this condition in the longer term. and those drug treatments come from an unlikely source. the gene mutations discovered in this lab, which are responsible for these faulty blood vessels, also play a key role in the growth of some cancers.
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now, the good news is, there are several cancer drugs which inhibit these faulty genes, which can now be repurposed to treat nikki's condition. this is your right eye and this is the avm. nikki's one of two patients who are taking the targeted cancer drugs. today, she's finding out the results of some new scans. this looks good. it looks exciting that, after six months, it seems to be holding the growth. that's really good, isn't it? yeah, that's so good. thank you. it'll be at least a year before doctors know for sure whether the cancer drugs nikki is taking are working, but the discovery of the faulty genes has given hope to patients with this debilitating condition. fergus walsh, bbc news. one of scotland's largest councils will provide free lunches to children from low—income households every day of the year. north lanarkshire council say that
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they'll use sports centres and other facilities to provide meals when schools are closed. the pilot scheme will begin this spring. our scotland editor, sarah smith, tells us. yeah, there's all different food you can get. my favourite's chicken curry. it's tomato pasta. so this is your favourite meal you've got today? yeah. you get lettuce and you have tomato and you have all the pasta. when i was at school, school lunches were not something you looked forward to, but are they actually good here? yeah. really good. all the kids here do seem to really enjoy their school meals, and the teachers know that, for some of them, it's the best meal they're going to eat all day. when the schools close, quite a few of these kids do, sadly, go hungry. that's why north lanarkshire council are to pilot a scheme providing free lunches to kids who need them, not just on school days, but every day. every so often, you can spot that somebody‘s hungrier than we would like them to be, after a weekend or after a holiday period in particular.
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it can be individual children, we know that food is an issue. if you're hungry, you won't learn and you won't achieve. other councils in the uk provide meals during school holidays. north lanarkshire will be the first to make free lunches available 365 days a year, from primary one, up to the third year of secondary school. i know there are children out there that don't get a meal. some adults go without to give their kids during the holidays. the children get full meals at school, so in the holidays and that, you give them a piece for lunch, and they're, like, "where's my hot dinner?", ken? about 40% of these children qualify for free school meals, but the school works hard to make sure it's not obvious who, to avoid any stigma. for the same reasons, kids won't be coming into school at weekends and holidays, meals will be served in leisure centres or community halls. it will cost around £500,000 a year to feed kids who might not otherwise eat a proper meal over the weekend. we know that at holiday periods and at weekends some parents, sadly, find it difficult to feed their children.
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we hope that this will give them the opportunity to do that. hungry children can't learn properly or achieve their full potential. north lanarkshire might be one of the most deprived areas in the uk, but they hope that doesn't mean that kids here have to go hungry. sarah smith, bbc news, wishaw. the project to build africa's biggest hydroelectric dam on the river nile is threatening to provoke a major conflict between some of the countries affected. the dam is being built by ethiopia and sudan says it welcomes the prospect of cheaper power and the ability to reduce flooding in its vast irrigation projects. but the egyptians are deeply unhappy, fearing the flow through the aswan dam and on to cairo will be weakened, in a country already facing serious water shortages. our africa correspondent,
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alastair leithead, has travelled to all three countries and he sent this special report. the river nile is the world's longest river, but these are turbulent times between three countries that share its life bringing water. the source of the row is this, the grand ethiopian renaissance dam. five years in and two—thirds built, this multi—billion dollar dam can already control the flow of the nile, and that's what's upsetting downstream egypt. when it's finished, this will be the largest hydroelectric power station in africa, and one of the biggest dams on the continent. it will not only power this country, but the surrounding countries as well. ethiopia didn't even ask the countries downstream before it started building. that is the scale of this country's ambition. the reservoir it creates will be bigger than greater london. hydroelectric dams don't consume water, but if it's
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filled up too quickly, the flow of the nile, 85% of which comes from here, will be reduced. ethiopia is obsessed with electrification. 70% of people here don't have power. it's betting on economic growth and industrial revolution often at the cost of hume rights and freedom of speech, to pull its people out of poverty and wipe out its historic image of drought and famine. one of the it's most important flagship projects for ethiopia. it's not about control of the flow. it's really about providing opportunity for us to develop yourselves. the power lines are ready and waiting to take cheap, sustainable electricity to sudan, which has a lot to gain from the dam. sudan has vast farming
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projects. and huge potential to be an agriculture powerhouse for africa and beyond. much of this cattle field is destined for the gulf. the new dam would stop flooding and regulate the river's flow. for sue danned dan it's wonderful. it's the best thing that's happened for a long time. the combination of energy and regular water levels is a great blessing. sudan has had a decade's long deal with egypt, but is now at aodds with its neighbour about how much it can use. egypt was ruled from here 2,000 years ago. powers on the nile rise and fall. luxor‘s temples represent thousands of years of egyptian power set in stone. the foundation of its proud national identity. wahbi's livelihood depends on the
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river. they say the water won't be affected, but only god knows what would happen. if they dam the river there will be wars and fighting. it's not a fear to be taken lightly. egypt relies on the nile for almost all its water. with a vast growing population the un pre—8 dibths water shortages by 2025. if the water that is coming to egypt is reduced by 2%, loss about 200,000 acre of land. one acre at least makes one family survive. family in egypt, average family size five persons. about one million will bejobless. family size five persons. about one million will be jobless. the impact of the dam hasn't been properly assessed. it's a battle between the
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traditional power of egypt and the emerging ambitions of ethiopia. war over water can be avoided through strong leadership and diplomacy. now it's up to them to navigate tensions on the world's longest river. alastair leithead, bbc news on the river nile. if you'd like more detail on that story, here's alistair to explain how you can find it. well, we took a camera that films 360 degrees with us on ourjourney up the nile, to give you a different perspective on the story. this is what the dam might look like when it's finished. you can see it in virtual reality through popping a smartphone into one of these headsets. it looks a bit like this, you can see all around. it's the first time we've done it on this scale on bbc news, and it's certainly a different way of watching. check out how to at bbc. co. uk/virtualreality. alastair leithead there for us.
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the queen has made a surprise appearance in the front row at london fashion week. it's the first time the queen has visited the event and sat alongside dame anna wintour, the editor in chief of vogue. her majesty praised the craftmanship of the british fashion industry before presenting the inaugural queen elizabeth ii award for british design to richard quinn. at the winter olympics in south korea, team gb‘s elise christie was disqualified in her 1000 metre short track heat, ending her chances of a medal at the games. these are the second olympics that have ended with christie failing to complete her events. our sports correspondent, david ornstein, reports from pyeongchang. just three days after leaving the ice on a stretcher, elise christie was back, her olympic hopes on the line. commentator: away they go. and christie goes down before they reach the very first corner. after crashing out of the 500 and 1500 metres, christie's bid for 1000 metres gold got off to the worst possible start. but having been tripped,
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she earned a reprieve, the heat would be rerun. an ankle injury meant her participation was only confirmed in the hour before the race, and although slow to get going, she fought back impressively. commentator: with half a lap to go, christie's in position to qualify here. battling through a physical contest to finish second and reached the quarter—finals, or so she thought. as christie was carried away in pain, her night would take another turn for the worse, the judges spotting two infringements and disqualifying the triple world champion. so it's heartbreak for elise christie yet again after failing to win a medal at the last olympics, four years ago, history has repeated itself here in pyeongchang, herdreams ending in bitter disappointment. right now, i'm a bit shell—shocked. you know, i worked so hard to come back from this injury. i think a thousand people wouldn't have skated with my ankle the way it was.
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the only thing i can say is, i can promise britain that i'll fight back from this, and i will come back for beijing. and hopefully, you know, i can do britain proud then. commentator: it's going to come in nicely and pick up his three. there was better news for britain's curlers as the men out dazzled the colourfully dressed norway and, like the women who beatjapan, can progress to the semi—finals with victories tomorrow. in the figure skating, penny coomes and nick buckland finished 11th in the free dance final, an event that will long be
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