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tv   BBC News  BBC News  April 23, 2019 4:00am-4:31am BST

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a very warm welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to our viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: sri lanka grieves. with close to 300 people killed in sunday's bomb attacks — the first funerals are taking place. the shock and disbelief remain raw. outside, shattered glass everywhere, roof tiles that are broken. and all around, a strong smell of blood and death. as the government imposes emergency powers, it's facing more questions about its failure to act on intelligence ahead of the attacks. the us threatens sanctions on any country importing oilfrom iran after the first of may. tehran calls the move illegal. as protests continue in sudan, we take a look at the role women are playing in the revolution.
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hello to you. sri lanka is holding a day of mourning for the victims of the easter sunday bomb blasts. nearly 300 people were killed in the attacks on churches and hotels. many of the funerals are under way. a state of emergency has come into force, the country remains on high alert — on monday more explosive devices and detonators were found. the government has blamed a little known islamic extremist group for the attacks, but it also said such co—ordinated bombings couldn't have taken place without international support. questions remain about the fact the government received specific security alerts days before the attacks. my colleague sharanjit leyl is in colombo.
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there's growing concern here about a failure of communication in the lead up to sunday's attack that killed 290 people, and injured more than 500. a festering row within the government has meant the prime minister was excluded from intelligence briefings and kept in the dark about a recent warning of a potential attack by this islamist extremist group. avan a van when the police tried to defuse explosives inside it. no—one was hurt. but on easter sunday, hundreds died. many of them here at st sebastian's church. it is believed to be the site of the deadliest bombing. the hall was packed with families who had come
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here to pray. a priest who was at the altar has told me thatjust before the service ended a person entered through one of the side doors and detonated a bomb. such was the impact it destroyed everything inside, but even here outside, shattered glass everywhere, roof tiles that are broken. and all around a strong smell of blood and death. people have begun to say goodbye to loved ones. the allen family is from thailand. they were on holiday in sri lanka. these boys lost their mother, monique, when she was at breakfast in a five—star hotel. my wife loved sri lanka. this was her favourite country. she was so happy, and i think maybe it was her destiny to, um... to go back home, you know, to sri lanka. among the eight british nationals who have been killed are anita nicholson, her son alex, and her daughter annabel. in a statement, ben nicholson said his wife and children had
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the priceless ability to light up any room they entered and bring joy to the lives of all they came into contact with. also among the dead are a retired firefighter billy harrop, and his partner, sally bradley, from manchester. the vast majority of those dead are sri lankan. hundreds of families in this country in grief. popular chef sha ntha mayadunne, seen here on the left, and her daughter nisanga, to the right, posted this photo just before they were killed at the shangri—la. some, like this woman, are still searching. today, a sri lankan minister apologised to his people. we are very, very sorry as a government. we have to apologise to the families and the other institutions about this incident. several people have been arrested, and the government has blamed a local hardline islamist
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group for the attacks. there are questions about whether warnings about the bombings were not passed on. the intelligence never indicated that it was going to be an attack of this magnitude. they were talking about one or two isolated incidents, not like this. and also besides, there is no emergency in this country. we can't request the armed forces to come and assist us. we can only depend on the police, so we informed the police. for a people that have endured war, these attacks are a sudden reminder of more violent times. yogita limaye, bbc news, colombo. it is morning. a new day in colombo, the capital of sri lanka. a state of emergency has been declared, came into effect at midnight, a few hours
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ago. that will give the government sweeping powers to detain and arrest suspects. today is also an official day of mourning. we expect to see more funerals take place today, more of that outpouring of grief and shock that we have seen the city experience over the last two days. now we know that this is the deadliest violence the country has witnessed since the end of the civil war in 2009. that was when the country was torn apart by ethnic strife between similes and ethnic tamil groups. but sunday's blasts will be adding a new dimension to that, bringing back memories many sri lankans would ratherforget. sharanjit in colombo. earlier i spoke to mia bloom. she is professor of communications at georgia state university and studies terror groups. i asked her what her thinking was behind this attack. it's a terrible tragedy and part of the reason the tragedy could have
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been avoided is as we know, indian intelligence agencies and the american intelligence agencies warned sri lanka, and part of the reason nothing was done is the fact that the president and the prime minister are barely speaking to one another, and the prime minister who could have done something, had been excluded from security briefings. that does seem an extraordinary situation, doesn't it? it does, and partly it's because the president had the prime minister sacked in october, and the sri lankan supreme court reinstated him, and so he has been frozen out, and it's unfortunate because how they acted either on information they received two weeks ago or ten days ago, even minutes before the attack, a lot of bloodshed could have been avoided. reading your material, i was astonished to see that something like 60% of terror attacks are never claimed. there is some concern about the fact that nobody seems to have claimed this one. you wonder whether somebody is waiting to take the temperature, to see the reaction to it, more worryingly, perhaps, another attack is being planned. absolutely, that's generally
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what is seen in other cases. according to the global terrorism database, the gtd, which has collected, all the terrorism attacks from the 1970s, 80s, on until 2016. something like 16% of attacks are claimed. and then they have been able to attribute about 27%, which leaves more than 50% never claimed. with isis, we've tended to see, for example, the attack in turkey against the airport about two and a half years ago. they never actually claimed it. partly because as you say, they could be assessing the reaction as very negative, we've even seen arab and muslim leaders come out against this attack. but what is more worrying is that they don't claim the attack. in part because they are worried about increasing security if they do claim it.
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let's get some of the day's other news. north korea has confirmed that it's leader kim jong—un will visit russia for a summit with vladimir putin. while there are few other details at this stage, north korea's state media said the meeting would happen soon, with some expecting the event to take place at russian's eastern port of vladivostok. after the breakdown of denuclearisation talks between donald trump and kim jong—un in hanoi in february, this visit is widely seen as a chance for pyongyang to show it has diplomatic alternatives to washington. thejudiciary committee of the us house of representatives has subpoenaed former white house counsel don mcgahn to testify over whether president trump obstructed justice. according to the report by special counsel mueller, the president ordered don mcgahn to fire him as he was investigating russian interference in the 2016 election, but mcgahn refused. mr trump denies any obstruction. the bbc understands the white house is to announce a state visit to the uk by president trump. it's thought it could coincide with the 75th anniversary of d—day — so around june 6th. he made a four—day
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official visit lastjuly. the white house has declared that any country importing iranian oil after may the first will face american sanctions. the us pulled out of the international nuclear deal with tehran last year, and this puts further pressure on iran. it will also affect china, india, south korea and japan, who were given waivers to buy iranian oil to limit market disruption. at a press conference, the us secretary of state suggested the sanctions were a way to combat terrorism. before the sanctions went into effect iran would generate as much as $50 billion annually in oil revenue. 0verall, today, we estimate that our sanctions have denied the regime well north of $10 million. the regime would have used that money to support terror groups continue missile development in defiance of un security council resolution 22—31. at that news conference was our state department correspondent barbara plett usher.
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in november, when the sanctions against iran fell back into place, the administration here issued waivers to eight countries so they could continue buying iranian oil because the us was afraid there would be disruptions to the market. now officials are saying, after six months, they've made the calculation that the market can bear this sort of thing, so they have cut off these exemptions completely. just the news of the drive prices up to some degree. that's also partly because there is a tight supply at the moment. it is notjust the sanctions on iran, it is sanctions on venezuela and other things. the administration officials — president trump himself has tweeted that they do expect their allies in the middle east, the united arab emirates and particularly saudi arabia to increase production so the market can manage this, so that any gaps will be filled. the saudis have said they will work together with other producers to make sure the market is balanced. although they have not given full guarantees that they will step up production. they are in fact benefiting from the higher oil prices.
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but this is something the administration has been quite clear about, they are quite sure that saudi arabia will step up. barbara plett usher there for us. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: getting away from it all — the home on the high seas causing controversy in thailand. the stars and stripes at half—mast outside columbine high. the school sealed off, the bodies of the dead still inside. i never thought that they would actually go through with it. one of the most successful singer songwriters of all time, the american pop star prince has died at the age of 57. he was a great musician and, you know, a genius. for millions of americans, the death of richard nixon
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in a new york hospital has meant conflicting emotions. a national day of mourning next wednesday sitting somehow uneasily with the abiding memories of the shame of watergate. mission control: and lift-off of the space shuttle discovery with the hubble space telescope, our window on the universe. this is bbc world news, the top story: with close to 300 people killed in sunday's bomb attacks in sri lanka — the first funerals are taking place. the government's facing more questions about its failure to act on intelligence ahead of the attacks. throughout the day many, sri lankans have been searching hospitals and morgues for missing loved ones. the bbc‘s clive myrie has been speaking to some of those hoping for news.
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at the police morgue today, the living are looking for the dead. those gathered cluster around a giant video screen, as images appear. grotesque photographs of those they held dearest, still bloodied. it is a particular torment to learn notjust that a loved one has died, but to see how they died. some of the injuries mean visual identification is impossible. this woman survived the attack on st anthony's church. but herfriend in the picture is still missing. translation: i just saw smoke. then i grabbed my daughter's hand and we both ran. when we got outside, we saw dead people. there were small children, and i was covered in blood. it was a global tragedy. these are swiss diplomats trying
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to locate their missing citizens, as names and pictures are cross referenced against passport details. but it's sri lanka that by far bears the heaviest weight of loss. local people who must try to make sense of all this. a christian community left flailing for answers. it's a very emotional situation here. we are trying to console their hearts, to help these people who are really in tears, who are broken, and broken into pieces. claiming the bodies of the dead and laying them to rest begins the healing process. this man witnessed the aftermath of the explosion that killed his brother—in—law. and along with many others, it's the images of children that stick in the mind. translation: this is a terrible tragedy. it's unimaginable. there were bodies of small, small children. they were in such small pieces that you couldn't identify them. i can't tell you how sad ifeel.
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there's been no violence on this scale since the end of the civil war a decade ago. as his brother—in—law‘s body begins its finaljourney, many now pray yesterday's insanity isn't a harbinger of worse to come. the murder rate in mexico has risen by almost 10% injust the first three months of 2019. 8,493 were killed in this period, according to official figures. those numbers were released on the same day as mourners gathered at funerals for the 13 victims from friday's shooting in veracruz state. ramzan karmali reports. they have come to mourn a local baseball coach and his infant son, just two victims in a mass shooting. they were at a family party when the attacker struck. it is left the community shattered.
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translation: an event of this magnitude cannot just happen. it concerns us all. we are very upset, sad, destroyed because a baby's life was involved. above all, baseball really feels the loss of this great person. this mass shooting took place at a local bar. the motive for the attack is still unclear. but there are reports that the intended target was the owner of the bar. mexico's relatively new president visited the area and gave this assurance. translation: i deeply regret what has happened here and in other areas. i want to say that we will guarantee peace in veracruz. that is my commitment as president of the republic. but the president faces an uphill struggle. he took office in december last year and vowed to crackdown on violence. but last year over 33,000 people
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were murdered in mexico. the highest since records began. and in the first three months of 2019, almost 8500 people have been killed. a rise of almost 10% compared to the same period last year. the president may point to the fact that he has inherited a violent country. previous presidents tried but failed to win the war against the drug cartels. the president wants to create a new security force, a national guard. he hopes to have this 80,000 strong force up and running by the end of the year. but some critics doubt there are enough people willing tojoin it. sudan's military council has ordered protestors to lift roadblocks, to allow what officials call essential items to be moved. since the uprising that led to the overthrow of president bashir, tensions have remained high, and the demonstrators, united in demanding change, are far less in agreement about what should happen next.
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zeinab badawi has been looking into the role women are playing in this revolution. the women of sudan have been making a stand, even the very young are politically engaged. they have made a contribution that is equal to that of the man in helping dislodge president bashirfrom power. and they have made it clear that they will not bow out from public life now that he has gone. in fact it is one young woman who has captured the public imagination. alaa salah, a 22—year—old architecture student, has become the iconic symbol of the revolution. translation: i don't expect to be called an icon of the revolution and i don't claim that i am an icon of the revolution. 0n the contrary, all sudanese people are the icons. i am part of this revolution although i had no idea it spread the way it did.
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or that it would go viral. when i stood up and protested on march eight, bashir was still in power. he was deposed three days later. and you weren't scared? translation: we were not scared although we were aware of possibilities. we could have been shot dead or injured in our arm or eyes. anything could happen. i took part in the process because i dreamt of a better sudan where everyone could live in honour. the price some have paid for this freedom has been high. these are images of some of the martyrs of the 2019 revolution. one of them was 27—year—old dr hamid whose death made local headlines. this mural was commissioned by his mother. he was treating his patients
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and then he was asked to go to another clinic which he did. he informed officials that some patients needed transferring to hospital for further treatment. he came out of the clinic with his hands raised, according to eyewitnesses. he told the security officers that he had sick people in need of urgent care, that he was a doctor. but they shot him all the same. zeinab badawi, bbc news, khartoum. environmental activists in london have taken their protests inside one of the city's best—known landmarks, the natural history museum. protests linked to the group extinction rebellion are now into a second week. more than a thousand people have been arrested. caroline davies reports. central london, day eight of the protest. tents still lie in the middle of a road junction and banners and stages continue to block the streets, so the crowds gathered in marble arch. i think it's a very important time,
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and time we're running out of. i think it's important to give support. it's all about the numbers, so the more people who show support, the more echo it will create. it's great to see so many people from all different walks of life getting involved and standing up for what we believe in. at the natural history museum, around 100 protesters lay on the floor under the blue whale in a staged die—in. they're not doing theirjob! over 1,000 arrests have been made so far, with over 50 people charged. among those detained was former gold olympic medal winner, canoeist etienne stott. it's a big step to take, but like i say, i think this is what it's come to for me. and i think if it's working, and i believe that it is, i am happy to have been counted at this point, because this could be the start, well, i believe it is the start of this turnaround. over 9,000 police officers have been deployed to the protests. the mayor of london has called for the group to allow the city to return to business as usual.
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the group behind me are currently co—ordinating what's going to happen next. after over a week of disruption, they're not the only ones who want to know how this is going to continue. exactly what will happen next isn't clear. 0rganisers suggested that more direct action is planned for this week, but wouldn't reveal the details. caroline davies, bbc news. now the phenomenon known as sea—steading — where people try to build their homes in international waters, beyond the authority of any nation state. two aspiring ‘sea—steaders' have had their property raided by the thai navy. the bbc‘s tim allman has the story. it doesn't look all that much but this small cabin could be quite revolutionary. made of what appears to be wood and plastic, surrounding a metal frame. somewhere to get away from it all, including, potentially, the sovereignty of the nation—state. for two months, an american bitcoin dealer and his thai girlfriend set up home in waters near thailand.
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more accurately, 26 kilometres, around 1a nautical miles, off the island of phuket. technically international waters but close enough for the thai navy to get involved. translation: the couple announced their autonomy on social media beyond jurisdiction of the courts of law of any country, including thailand. as well as this they were inviting others to join them in setting up this kind of living structure to create an autonomous colony. by the time the navy arrived, the sea—steaders had already left. 0n social media one of them, chad elwartowski, said that he was free for a moment, probably the freest person in the world. their home has now been towed back to shore where it will be used in evidence. the couple are not in custody
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but are believed to be somewhere in thailand. they could, in theory, face the death penalty for violating thai sovereignty. that would be quite the price to pay for living on the high seas. this a reminder of our top story — there's a growing row in sri lanka over a failure of communication in the lead—up to sunday's bomb attacks. it seems because of a dispute within the government, the prime minister had long been excluded from intelligence briefings, and security alerts may have been missed. we are leaving you of this live shot at one of the churches attacked the sunday services. almost 300 people are known to have been killed and 500 injured. emergency — make a state of emergency has come into force and many of the funerals are under way. the country is still
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under way. the country is still under high alert. more detonators we re under high alert. more detonators were found. and you can get in touch with me and most of the team well, there is some good news on the weather front if you have been enjoying the fine weather in the last few days. we have one more day of decent weather on tuesday, a lot of sunshine around and temperatures still into the 20s. after that it really will be all change. in fact, it will cool off dramatically and we have showers and thunderstorms potentially on the way. 0n the satellite already, the picture is looking very u nsettled. you can see clouds swirling around here. weather fronts as well, patterns actually, but these weather fronts are heading in our direction and in around 24—36 hours time they will arrive and we will see downpours. first in the country's south—west and then in other parts of the uk as well. for the time being, tuesday looks relatively quiet, notjust in the uk but in much of western, north—western europe
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into scandinavia as well. morning temperatures are between six and 12 celsius though not as chilly as it was yesterday morning. and then in the afternoon it is business as usual. a lot of sunshine around, warm south south—easterly wind, not quite as warm. we had temperatures around 25 degrees in the last few days and i think around 22 or 23 across southern and central areas. still making around 20 in the lowlands of scotland and just shy of 20 for belfast but another fine day on the way. here is tuesday night into wednesday and the high pressure that has been bringing us the fine weather slips away towards the east and this big area of messy weather with its weather fronts, this big area of low pressure is starting to push in. from the early hours of wednesday we will start to see rain moving into cornwall, devon, parts of wales as well, central and southern england and the midlands as well some could be downpours with thunderstorms and watch what happens through the day on wednesday. difficult to say which towns and cities will get the downpours at what time but suffice to say it will be a lot more unsettled
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on wednesday compared to the last few days. scotland is still looking fine but the north sea coast may be a little on the cool side there. some cloud as well. that is midweek — towards the end of the week it really will be a big change because we even say goodbye to the mild air. the warm air is long gone but colder currents of air from the north atlantic arrive, breezy conditions as well, showers possible. so the outlook says it all, really — a lot of shower symbols here with temperatures dropping to below average for some of us and towards the weekend even struggling to make double figures across northern areas.
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this is bbc news. the headlines: sri lanka is holding a day of mourning for victims of the easter sunday bomb blasts. nearly 300 people were killed in the attacks on churches and hotels. funerals are already under way. a state of emergency has come into force and the government is facing questions about security alerts received days before the attacks. the government blames a little known islamist group, but also says a local group could not have carried out co—ordinated bombings without international support. 0ne minister described the government as ashamed and outraged at its own failure to prevent the attacks. the trump administration has declared that any country importing iranian oil after may the first will face american sanctions. the us secretary of state says the aim is to halt iran's oil exports entirely, but it will also affect china, india, south korea and japan, who were given temporary waivers

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