welcome to bbc news — broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is tanya beckett. our top stories: hurricane florence is hearing down on the east coast of america with warnings it could bring catastrophic flooding. stay on guard. this is a powerful storm that can kill. today, the threat becomes a reality. and in the philippines there's more extreme weather. tens of thousands of people begin evacuating as super typhoon mangkhut heads towards the island of luzon. the two russian suspects accused of the nerve agent attack in the uk break their silence. they say they were in salisbury but only as tourists. and bye—bye beetle. german car manufacturer volkswagen announces it's stopping production of the iconic car next year. america's eastern seaboard
is getting its first taste of the wind and rain from hurricane florence. the storm itself is still a few hours away, but it's a prelude of the damage florence could inflict when it does make landfall. the us national hurricane center is warning of life—threatening floods. this imaging from our forecasting team shows the hurricane‘s final approach. we'll be live in moorhead city in north carolina shortly but first our north america correspondent chris buckler sent this report from wilmington, north carolina. for days people have been preparing, and now the first of the strong wind and rain has really arrived. in 12 hours‘ time this weather is expected to deteriorate rapidly,
causing real problems here. storm surge pushing water inland and this time tomorrow the eye of the storm is expected to be over the carolinas, potentially causing 2a hours or more of deeply disruptive weather. on the edge of the carolinas, the wind is strengthening and the water is rising. and this is just a taste of what florence threatens. the hurricane has been making a slow approach from the atlantic. and if what has been forecast comes true, days of flooding lie ahead. there is talk about storm surges of maybe nine feet and if it stalls like they are saying we could be going for two high tides, so i'm not sure, i'm nervous. i would be lying if i was saying different. the hurricane has been downgraded to a category two storm but the authorities are doing everything they can to emphasise how dangerous it remains.
don't get complacent. stay on guard. this is a powerful storm that can kill. today, the threat becomes a reality. home after home lies boarded up here. families have been listening to the warnings. this storm is likely to threaten both property and lives. in the middle of the afternoon, downtown wilmington was deserted. shops abandoned, with sandbags placed optimistically at their doors and a few people making last—minute efforts to protect their stores. it didn't feel like a panic probably until maybe yesterday. you can just see the look on their faces when they are picking up batteries or last—minute water. emergency teams have gathered in towns along the coastline. no—one can be sure exactly where we will feel the full force of florence, but they fear they will be needed as the storm pushes onto land.
let's speak to our correspondent paul blake who's in moorhead city, north carolina. what can you tell us? the storm has been hitting here for the past few hours and we have had a strong set of wind and heavy rain even in the first few hours of the arrival of the storm. flooding is beginning downtown here. it is all low—lying area around here and that is the big concern. we are talking a few feet from sea and the concern is notjust the rain but the storm surge, the waves and the high tide pressure coming from the storm could push water into low lying areas causing devastating flooding. that is what authorities are warning about. even after it was downgraded to category
two, taking that way from the status ofa two, taking that way from the status of a major hurricane, we could still cause destruction by rain and storm surge. we keep seeing shots hear of people boarding up windows. what preparations are people making and are they inclined to leave or stay? the community is no stranger to these types of storms. i grew up here and remember seeing a number of category two, category three storm is asa category two, category three storm is as a child so that preparation of putting plywood over window to protect from flying debris, when it comes to whether or not people evacuate, that is the debate. many decided not to. i spoke to local authorities here. the county about 100 square miles and local authorities were concerned that people would decide to ride out the storm at home and not go into an evacuation is a shelter. they warned that if they decide not to go into
the shelter, they are on their own. there will not risk putting police fire service out into the storm during the peak of intensity because they cannot risk any harm to these services, trying to rescue people who decided not to take necessary precautions. people have been talking about how this will unfold because the weather forecast appears to say that the risk is much more offloading than of the lingering storm, rather than the force of the storm, rather than the force of the storm itself. there is a palpable sense of relief when it was downgraded —— downgraded to category two but authorities are afraid that residents will say, well, it is not a major hurricane in any longer. they're putting it out that the storm could stall over the region, and bring in a massive storm surge and bring in a massive storm surge and flooding and not move up the coast, towards washington dc and back out into the atlantic as they
typically do. it could sit here because of various atmospheric conditions. thank you very much indeed. lithgow to rickjones now in southport in north carolina. he is the secretary of the local residents association. he's decided to batten down the hatches and ride out hurricane florence at home. why did you decide that? when the storm was downgraded to category two that changed a number of residents. 7596 that changed a number of residents. 75% of the homeowners in our area have evacuated but we are approximately 30 feet above sea level. when hurricane hazel came through our town of southport was ground zero at the time of a 17 foot storm surge. so where we are we
think is safe for the moment. obviously we need to keep our eyes on it. preparations are you making? we have 15 or 20 of us going from home to home to make sure that all the patio furniture has been armed tied down along with grilles or anything that could be a flying object to damage a home. our neighbourhood has been sanitised of those things. some homes have been boarded up. most of them not that we have made sure, we were under mandatory evacuation here. we are not a low—lying area. by mandatory that means you have to be prepared to survive for 72 hours. you have to have enough food and water, flashlights, batteries if the power goes out. those are the major preparations that we have done. you
said earlier you would keep anionic. isa said earlier you would keep anionic. is a point at which you could change your mind? not really. we are now past the point of no return when it comes to evacuating. a final residence in the neighbourhood evacuated around 11 o'clock this morning when there was still safe passage. the intensity of the flooding is supposed to hit southport. we are across the river from wilmington and that is supposed to hit overnight. it really is no longer safe. we need to count on things like social media. we have homes here with seven days of generator power. we will relocate to those homes if we need to and charge oui’ those homes if we need to and charge our cellphones and pay attention to media coverage such as yours. thank you very much and we wish you the best of luck. there's a major storm on the other side of the world as well. hundreds of thousands of people are being evacuated on the philippines island of luzon as typhoon mangkhut approaches with winds of more than 250 kilometres an hour.
it's due to make landfall on the northern tip of luzon over the weekend. up to ten million people are in the storm's path. reged ahmad reports. heavy rocks tying down houses in the north in the hope it might save the roofs of their vulnerable homes when typhoon mangkhut arrives. the philippines is hit by about 20 typhoons and storms a year, the destruction killing hundreds and leaving millions in a cycle of poverty. but this super typhoon has been described as the strongest yet of 2018. schools and offices have been ordered shut, thousands are evacuating. at about 900 kilometres in diameter, the storm is expected to pack powerful wind speeds with heavy rains, triggering landslides and flash floods. storm surges, too, are big threat, with high waves likely
to inundate the coastline. but the biggest fear is for the estimated 10 million people in the path of the storm, with worries authorities and rescue services will be stretched thin. but the important thing is for the government to make sure that evacuation happens. in the evacuation centres, there is no panic and they can provide food. the government is ready with food. officials do not want to see a repeat of the super typhoon which killed thousands in 2013, forcing many from their homes. this time, as people prepare and stock up on supplies, some even say they plan to stay, in the hope they can protect their property. as super typhoon mangkhut draws ever closer. as america waits for
the impact of hurricane florence, politicians have rebuked president trump for questioning the number of puerto ricans killed as a result of hurricane maria last year. the president sent a flurry of tweets rejecting official findings that nearly 3,000 people died in puerto rico as a result of last year's storms. he accused democrats of inflating the official death toll to make him "look bad". paul ryan, the republican house speaker, disagrees with the president. casualties could not make a person look bad. i have no reason to dispute these numbers. i was thereafter the hurricane, it was devastated. this was a horrible storm. let's get some of the day's other news. police in the us state of massachusetts have reported dozens of fires and explosions in communities north of the city of boston. pictures show firefighters battling flames in the towns of lawrence and north andover. local media reports said the explosions may have been caused
by the rupture of a gas line. democrats in new york have been voting on whether governor andrew cuomo deserves a third term. his challenger in the primary vote is actress and campaigner cynthia nixon. she's the latest insurgent candidate trying to move the democratic party to the left. whoever wins is likely to beat their republican opponent in november's election. thousands of people have marched through the streets of argentina's capital, buenos aires, to protest at the govenment‘s austerity measures. teachers have demanded an increase in salary and students want more funding for education. president mauricio macri has announced budget cuts to tackle the country's currency crisis. the peso has lost more than half of its value this year. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: volkswagen lose the love bug for their beetle. production of this iconic car is to end next year. 30 hours after the earthquake that devastated mexico city,
rescue teams still have no idea just how many people have died. there is people alive, and there is people not alive. we just can help and give them whatever we've got. it looked as though they had come to fight a war, but their mission is to bring peace to east timor, and nowhere on earth needs it more badly. the government's case has been forcefully presented by monsieur badinter, the justice minister. he has campaigned vigorously for the abolition, having once witnessed one of his clients being executed. elizabeth seton spent much of her time at this grotto, and every year, hundreds of pilgrimages are made here. now that she has become a saint, it is expected that this area will be inundated with tourist.
the mayor and local businessman regard the anticipated boom isjust another blessing of st elizabeth. this is bbc news, the latest headlines: america's eastern seaboard is starting to feel the first effects of hurricane florence. the us national hurricane center is warning of possible life—threatening flooding. and in the philippines there's more extreme weather as tens of thousands of people begin evacuating from coastal areas as super typhoon mankhut heads towards the island of luzon. two russian men named by the british authorities as suspects in the chemical attack in salisbury in southern england —— england have appeared on russia today, russia's state—funded television channel. the pair — who identify themselves as alexander petrov and ruslan boshirov — claim they are the victims of a fantastical coincidence and insist they are innocent. in their first comments since being accused of poisoning
the former russian agent sergei skripal and his daughter, they said they were tourists on a visit to salisbury cathedral. our security correspondent gordon corera has more details. last week, britain presented ruslan boshirov and alexander petrov as a pair of russian military intelligence officers, assassins, sent with nerve agent to kill. but today we saw a different side. they told the kremlin—funded news channel they were tourists who had come to salisbury to see the sights. translation: what were you doing there? our friends had suggested for a long time we visit this wonderful town. salisbury, a wonderful town? yes. a tourist town. there is the famous salisbury cathedral, famous not only in europe but in the whole world. it is famous for its 123—metre spire. it is famous for its clock, the first ever
created in the world that is still working. salisbury‘s cathedral certainly is a tourist attraction, drawing visitors from all over the world, but just how plausible is the story of these two russians set against the evidence laid out by the police last week? there is the question of the motive for their trip, flying in from moscow to gatwick airport on friday march 2nd, all to see salisbury, and then there's their movements — the russian giving up sightseeing in salisbury on saturday because, they say, there was too much slush. they returned on sunday and here cctv catches them arriving at the station at 11:a8. but rather than head out to be tourist sites they said they wanted to see, like old sarum and the cathedral, they were spotted close to sergei skripal‘s house on wilton road,
their images captured on this cctv picture at 11:58. police believe it was around this time that novichok was smeared on the skripals' front door handle, poisoning sergei and his daughter yulia. the interviewer asked the men if they approached the skripals' house. translation: maybe we passed it or maybe we didn't, i had never heard about them before this nightmare started, i'd never heard his name before. i did not know anything about them. at 1:08 they were seen heading back to the station from the city centre. an hour and 10 minutes is not long to see the sights you've come from moscow for. it is alleged they discovered this perfume bottle which had been carrying the novichok. it was found months later and poisoned charlie rowley and killed dawn sturgess. the russians deny bringing it into the country. translation: when you go through customs, they check
all your belongings so if we had anything suspicious, any police officer would have questions. why would a man have women's perfume in his luggage? the interviewer never asked why a trace of novichok was said to be found in the london hotel they stayed in. and the interview raised another question — who are the pair? the british government says they are russian intelligence officers using fake names. in the interview, they seemed unwilling to go into details of their back story, such as theirjobs, as they said, sports nutritionists, and they declined to provide identity documents. i don't think any of their interview is plausible, i've watched it a couple of times now and i think, if i was their defence lawyer, my advice to them would be to keep quiet and wait to a trial when your alibi will be tested by our evidence. the war of words over what really
happened in salisbury will go on but today's awkward account might have done the russian case more harm than good. over the past few days, we've reported on russia's biggest war games exercise since the fall of the soviet union. on thursday, president vladimir putin attended the event and promised to strengthen the army and supply it with new generation weapons.. from siberia, our moscow correspondent steve rosenberg has more. a warning his report does contain flash photography. from over the hills, the russians are coming. they are the largest russian manoeuvres since the cold war. a third of the entire russian armed forces is taking part, says moscow. and joining them here, troops from china. under pressure from the west, russia tilting east. the army invited us to watch the show. the aim of the exercises across the russian far east, to test combat readiness. the drills, moscow insists, purely defensive. some experts suspect the russians have inflated troop numbers,
but the show of strength was indisputable. we weren't the only ones watching. vladimir putin followed the drills and then pledged to make russia's armed forces even stronger. translation: russia is a peaceloving country. we don't have any aggressive plans. but we have a duty to the motherland to be ready to defend russia's sovereignty, security and national interests. the message russia wants to send with all this is pretty clear, that it has a powerful army
and powerful allies in the east, and that moscow has no intention of giving in to pressure from the west. and that's where china comes in. presidents putin and xi have been cooking up a strategic partnership as a counterweight to the west. moscow sees closer ties with beijing as a recipe for surviving western sanctions. russia always wanted to be integrated into the west. now this era is over and russia needs a very strong external partner hich can provide technology, new markets and investments. and that's china. so russia is slowly drifting into china's embrace, definitely ignoring the bigger picture and ignoring these tectonic shifts between the two. i think it's very dangerous and shortsighted. but, in courting china, will russia end up thejunior partner? it's determined not to. moscow continues to see itself as a military super power. it's one of the most recognisable cars in the world —
the volkswagen beetle. but now the german carmaker has said it will stop making the vehicle next year. the german car maker says it's moving towards a more family friendly fleet of cars and putting more emphasis on developing electric vehicles. simonjones reports. beetlemania, one of the bestselling cars of all time, but now the end ofan era. after an official speech from hitler... it was originally the dream of a despised dictator that came to symbolise the freewheeling ‘60s, finding mass fame in the disney film, love bug, and capturing hearts with its cheap price and funky design. reliability, economy and the distinct look ensured its success, but now, as volkswagen looks towards mass—market electric cars, production is to cease. there will be two final edition models costing around $23,000. there is shock on social media.
autonews europe announced... beatle fan deezus tweeted. .. the company admitted the loss of the beetle after three generations and nearly seven decades would evoke a host of emotions from its many devoted fans, but the company has hinted the model could be revived at some point. never say never, it teased. new york auction house christie's has revealed what they say will be the most expensive work of art by a living artist ever sold at auction. they estimate this piece — portrait of an artist by david hockney — will sell for about $80 million. the 1972 painting, described by christie's as iconic and one of hockney‘s greatest works, will go up for auction in november. some live pictures from wilmington,
north carolina. the i've the storm is still 100 qantas offshore but the national hurricane centre says the storm surge in torrential rainfall causing flash flooding will be very still -- causing flash flooding will be very still —— will be various —— will be very soon. “— still —— will be various —— will be very soon. —— the eye of the storm is still 100 kilometres offshore. hundreds of thousands of residents have already heeded official warnings and taken refuge and shelters will have evacuated altogether. you can reach me on twitter — i'm @bbcta nyabeckett. thanks forjoining us. hello.
well, before we go to the weather for the uk, an update on hurricane florence battering the east coast of the united states. and the worst of the weather is technically still out to sea. the storm's eye isn't expected to cross land, that is, make landfall, until around about lunchtime on friday uk time. but it has already been battering north carolina, south carolina, areas towards the north as well as further inland, and it is a slow—moving storm, that means it is dumping a lot of rainfall in the same place for a considerable amount of time, and those destructive winds, the storm surge, likely to be some destructive flooding from this or the system. meanwhile, in the asia—pacific, we have a very powerful storm, even stronger, typhoon mankhut, a super typhoon heading for northern parts of luzon in the philippines, and the effects of the storm
could be catastrophic, so two very powerful storms both sides of the globe. meanwhile, here in the uk, obviously it is a lot quieter, thank goodness. showers in the north, much more dry in the south, and this is a satellite image from the last 12 hours, clouds into the northern part of the country, further south the clouds have broken up at bit, so we have clearer weather. and that's how we start friday morning. a lot of dry weather notjust in the south but some eastern areas, whereas in the north—west notice the rain in northern ireland, western scotland and the north—west of england. as we go through the morning into the afternoon, there is the clock, ten, 11, 12, showery spells, in the south—east it should be dry, if not even sunny, 19 in london, fresh in aberdeen at around 15 degrees. now that takes us into the friday night and eventually saturday. high pressure to the south of the uk will bring warm and sunny weather in the near continent and not so bad in the south of the uk as well
and in the midlands. sunshine on the way for saturday. you can see some of the bright weather extends all the way to scotland but a weather front only coming from the north—west, so eventually on saturday in the north—west there will be some rain and a decent breeze. 21 the top temperature on saturday. here is a look at sunday's weather forecast and a weather front is expected to move across the uk. that means the central swathe of the country could have some rain, but either side we have some brighter weather and the warm spot of course in the south and the south—east up to around 22 degrees. that's it from me. this is bbc news. the headlines: thousands of homes across north carolina are already without power and more than a quarter of a million people have fled as hurricane florence approaches the eastern seaboard. the us national hurricane center is warning of possible life—threatening flooding. and in more extreme weather news — forecasters say a huge storm is heading towards the philippines. typhoon mangkhut is travelling across the western pacific,
with heavy rains and winds of up to 160 miles an hour. hundreds of thousands of people in the philippines are being evacuated from coastal areas. two russian men, who admit they're the suspects identified by the uk, have gone on state tv to deny carrying out a nerve agent attack in salisbury. confirming their identities as alexander petrov and ruslan boshirov, they said they were merely tourists. they described the fact they were in the city when the attack happened was a "fantastical coincidence". now on bbc news, thursday in parliament.