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tv   BBC News  BBC News  August 20, 2019 3:00am-3:31am BST

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welcome to bbc news. i'm mike embley. our top stories: a young woman's cleared of murder in el salvador, casting afresh light on the country's strict anti—abortion laws. on the march, as nee—fascists demonstrate in oregon — we assess the rise of the far right in the us. sudan's ousted president is in court for a trial many thought they'd never see. prince andrew says he's appalled by the crimes of his former friend, convicted sex offender, jeffrey epstein.
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in a case closely watched around the globe, in el salvador, a country with one of the world's strictest anti—abortion laws — a young woman has been cleared of murder. evelyn hernandez has already served nearly three years in prison — prosecutors wanted her jailed for a0 years. she was acquitted at a retrial. her baby was found dead in a toilet, she has always maintained she was raped and had no idea she was pregnant. activists hope the result will set a precedent for other women in jail. john ironmonger reports. the young victim of rape from a poor, ruralfamily. evelyn hernandez has become a figure of hope for women in the macho, deeply catholic country of el salvador where abortion is illegal under any circumstances. jailed in 2017, accused of killing her stillborn child, she was cleared on monday to the delight of her supporters.
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translation: thank you for being here, and thank god justice was done. i also thank all the international countries and i thank my mother for accompanying me through everything. evelyn was arrested in 2016 after the body of her baby was found in a toilet. then 18, she said she passed out during childbirth, after confusing pregnancy with a stomach ache. but she was charged with aggravated homicide and jailed for 30 years. it sparked a campaign across latin america and in february, her sentence was annulled, pending a retrial after crucial evidence was produced that showed her baby had died of natural causes. translation: the judge said there was no way to prove the crime and that's why he released evelyn. he said it was a complicated birth like that of many of the women who are still in prison. women who have been in prison for ten years for something that isn't a crime.
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women like teodora vasquez, who went into labour alone at work, and called an ambulance that never came. her sentence was commuted last year after she'd spent a decade behind bars. at least 17 women are still in jail under the abortion ban, and rights organisations hope the hernandez case will mark a turning point, but change in conservative el salvador will not come easily. john ironmoger, bbc news. let's go now to mexico city and speak withjuliana cano nieto, the deputy director for amnesty international‘s campaigns in the americas. thank you for your time, what are the chances do you think that this will set a precedent? how significant is it? it's very significant, we believe that this case, the case of —— the case that also happen this year and the one you mentioned of teodora vasquez, there are precedents for future
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cases for women who have gone through similar situation so we hope that this sets a precedent for judges in terms of deciding the future of this woman but also for the legislative body of el salvador to throw down the law of abortion which is what allows this woman to remain imprisoned for so many years. and yet even if the courts are being more understanding, more lenient, it doesn't seem the prosecutors had got the message. they want to jail this woman for a0 years. the message. they want to jail this woman for 40 years. it is very concerning that the prosecutor is the one that asked for a rear trail after the first tribunal had a ready set her free. the after the first tribunal had a ready set herfree. the hope is that change in the government, new precedent, new legislative body, also moves the prosecutor ‘s office and to understand either what they are doing is criminalising women who are doing is criminalising women who are more and in a situation in which they are being assumed guilty of things that they are not committing.
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obviously there are religious reasons behind some of these very strict anti—abortion laws but it also looks, doesn't it, like men trying to maintain control over women, especially poor women who have suffered sexual violence and may not have access to a decent legal defence. yes, amnesty international has documented the situation since 2015 and case and again and again we see it is a poor woman in rural areas that are being criminalised. they don't have the resources to get rubber regal —— legal defence and they don't have the resources to fight the system and the system is already making them guilty before even going to trial. so we do believe that it has to do with entrenched chauvinistic and just situation in a salvador thatis and just situation in a salvador that is very conservative, that attacks women that are in very dire circumstances. so what are the chances of really, pushing back against that was in mark because
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this is not just against that was in mark because this is notjust an issue in el salvador, is it? it's not an issue only in el salvador but we have to realise that countries in latin america have moved forward in legalising abortion at least in certain cases. chile was the latest example. only six countries including el salvador that have com plete including el salvador that have complete abortion bands. society is moving forward, el salvador had moved forward until 1998 and that it moved forward until 1998 and that it moved back and hopefully with this new government and the situation things will change and women will be able to not go to prison because of the complete ban of abortion that there is still hope there. thank you. thank you. and, you can find out more on this story and el salvador on the bbc news website. there you will find more reaction and analysis and videos
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and articles on related topics that's all at bbc.com/news, or download the bbc news app. let's get some of the day's other news. the british prime minister has written to the president of the european council repeating his call for the irish backstop to be removed from the withdrawal agreement, reached with the european union. the backstop is a kind of insurance policy designed to avoid the return of a hard irish border. borisjohnson is suggesting a commitment to put alternative arrangements in place by the end of a transition period, after brexit. police in northern ireland say a bomb which exploded in county fermanagh this morning was designed to target security forces. it went off near another suspicious object which had been declared a hoax. the dup leader, arlene foster, has rejected suggestions the attack may be linked to uncertainty and tension about brexit and the suspended government at stormont. the united states has warned the greek government not to assist an iranian tanker, which it says is carrying oil to syria.
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the ship is sailing for greece after being released by the authorities in gibraltar, where it had been held since early last month. the state department in washington says any help could have immigration and potential criminal consequences. a french couple who were caught with 40 kilograms of sardinian beach sand in their car have been warned they could face up to six years injail. the pair said they had collected the sand as a souvenir and did not realise they had committed an offence. sardinia's famed white sand is considered a public good and it is strictly forbidden to remove it from the island. portland, oregon, was on edge this weekend as neo—facist and white supremacist groups marched through the city. as it turned out, they were heavily outnumbered by anti—fascist demonstrators, and it's that group which president trump has attacked on social media. our north america correspondent, aleem maqbool was at the rally and has been looking into white nationalism in the united states. chanting: usa, usa, usa! these days, members of neo—fascist groups in the us are definitively on the march.
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as we accompanied them during this show of strength on the streets of portland, they flashed white power symbols at us. they said they were there to protest against the militancy of the far left. ijust want people to understand that these masked people running around, committing acts of violence and, you know, criminal activity, needs to come to an end. and there are often masked antifascist activists out to confront white supremacists when they march, though the two sides were mostly kept apart in portland. chanting: go home, nazis! but it is unquestionably those linked with far right ideologies who have been responsible for the most deadly violence of late. the most recent being the murders of 22 people in el paso, a majority latino city, killed by a white gunman who told officers he wanted to shoot as many mexicans as possible. one of the numerous groups that
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espouses white supremacist ideas is the league of the south, who allowed me to attend one of their gatherings, though not film inside. what is their reaction to the el paso attack? i really am surprised it doesn't happen more often because you look at these young white guys, they have been displaced. they are told that they are, you know, part of the patriarchy. they are told that they have this white privilege, and they are looking around, and they are saying, "where's my white privilege? i can't get a job", you know, and i knowa lot of young... why should there be white privilege, though? because, well, because we created this country. and they claim they are not racist, just as they claim they don't want what happened in el paso. well, the people inside that room say they're against violence, but the rhetoric they use is certainly hateful and could be seen as something that inspires others who do want to use violence. and their own history in this group suggests
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they are not entirely peaceful. it was a member of this group that was jailed for the brutal beating of an african—american man after the now notorious supremacist rally in charlottesville. so why the apparent rise in white supremacy now? in the ‘90s, christian picciolini was a prominent leader and recruiter in the white power movement. he has since denounced neo—nazism and works to deradicalise supremacists. for so many, you know, of the ‘80s and ‘90s, they were on the fringes. it was a large organisation, it was a deadly organisation, but it was not part of the mainstream by any means. and now, today, where we are seeing the rhetoric that, you know, i used to say 30 years ago, almost verbatim coming out of the president's mouth, they are tired of waiting. now they see it as an opportunity to act.
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this is a historic day right here. at the far right rally in portland, the uniform of choice for many was trump campaign paraphernalia. he may say he opposes white supremacy, but it's clear they think they've got the president on their side. aleem maqbool, bbc news, in portland, oregon. sudan's ousted president, omar al—bashir, has been in court for the start of a corruption trial many in the country thought they would never see. sitting in a metal cage — he listened to the testimony against him. he was overthrown in april, months of protests ending nearly 30 years in power. the bbc‘s sally nabil reports from outside the court in khartoum. in a heavily secured convoy, the former sudanese president arrived at court. video cameras were not allowed inside. we barely managed to get a glimpse of omar al—bashir, sudan's longest serving president. this, his first session, it's quite a procedural one. he is being tried on corruption charges. after nearly an hour, mr al—bashir was driven back to prison in exactly
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the same convoy. the former president has left court a short while ago and you can see a heated discussion behind me between the lawyers. some of those who are against him and others who support him. many sudanese have been dreaming of seeing bashir in the dock, but some of them tell me that this man should be accused of far more serious crimes, and notjust corruption charges. a few days before the trial, i met an activist who was detained for three months during the revolution. he was released on the day mr al—bashir stepped down. translation: charges of corruption are only a drop in the sea. his crimes include genocide and ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in darfur, the blue nile, and south kordofan.
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but supporters of the former president believe otherwise. translation: this trial is politicised. the current military council wants to win over protesters by trying bashir. those military rules should be tried with him, too. they were part of his political entourage to the very last hours, until they gave up on him. protesters say rem na nts of his regime are still there in thejudiciary, and wonder if he can receive a fair trial. sally nabil, bbc news, khartoum. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: prince andrew has said he is appalled by the crimes of his formerfriend, the convicted sex offenderjeffrey epstein. washington, the world's most political city, is today assessing the political health of the world's most powerful man. indeed i did have a relationship
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with ms lewinsky that was not appropriate. in fact, it was wrong. in south africa, 97 people have been killed today, in one of the worst days of violence between rival black groups. over the past ten days, 500 have died. chanting: czechoslovakia must be free! czechoslovakia must be free! chanting: czechoslovakia must be free! russia is observing a national day of mourning for the 118 submariners who died on board the kursk. we are all with them now, within our hearts. the pope has celebrated mass before a congregation of more than 2.5 million people in his hometown of krakow. "stay with us, stay with us", chanted this ocean of humanity. "well, well", joked the pope, "so you want me to desert rome?" this is bbc news.
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the latest headlines: a young woman is cleared of murder in el salvador, casting a fresh light on the country's strict anti—abortion laws. sudan's ousted president is in court for a trial many in the country thought they would never see. the two democratic congresswomen barred from visiting israel have been speaking about what happened, insisting they had an obligation as elected representatives to see the reality for themselves. the decision by israel's prime minister to ban ilhan omar and rashida tlaib, who are both muslim, was encouraged by president trump. benjamin netanyahu later relented and said rashida tlaib could visit her 90—year—old grandmother, who lives in the occupied west bank. she then refused, saying she wouldn't go under such oppressive conditions. all i can do, as my sitty‘s granddaughter, as the granddaughter of a woman who lives in the occupied territory, is to elevate her voice by exposing
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the truth the only way i know how, as my detroit public school's teachers taught me — by humanising the pain of oppression. but it is my belief that, as legislators, we have an obligation to see the reality there for ourselves. we have a responsibility to conduct oversight over our government's foreign policy, and what happens with the millions of dollars we send in aid. so i would encourage my colleagues to visit, meet with the people we were going to meet with, see the things we were going to see, hear the stories we were going to hear. well, our north america correspondent david willis gave us this latest update. these two women, rashida tlaib and ilhan omar, were of course the first muslim—american women elected to congress. they're both democrats.
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they're both fierce critics of israel and its policy towards the palestinians. and as you mentioned there, they had been intending to visit jerusalem and the west bank this past weekend, but permission was denied at the last minute, citing their previous criticism of israeli policies in that regard. and it seems that that may have stemmed from criticism that donald trump had of these women. they are of course progressives, and they are people he has branded socialists, and dangerous to the united states. well, as you mentioned, that permission was later approved, as far as rashida tlaib was concerned. she was given permission to visit her 90—year—old grandmother in the west bank, but she said that israel had humiliated her, and she wasn't going to go. well, now these two women have been commenting further. they gave a press conference today in minnesota, and they criticised both president trump and the israeli prime minister, benjamin netanyahu.
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i guess there is the risk for them and for their party of speaking out like this — that it makes it easier perhaps for president trump to paint them, and as he would see it, the whole party, as extremist, as anti—israel, anti—american. well, it's interesting, actually, because after their permission to travel was revoked, there was criticism from a variety of democrats, many of whom don't hold such hardline views as far as israel is concerned, mike, including the house speaker, nancy pelosi, for example. donald trump has since weighed in, saying that rashida tlaib is grandstanding on this issue. he said that her travel requests were a set—up. but these two women at their press conference today basically questioned whether israel was a democracy, if it would behave in this way to two freely elected members of the united states congress. and they said, as we heard in that clip earlier, that it was part of their duty
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as congresswomen, their oversight duty, to see how money is spent overseas. there is, of course, a considerable sum in us aid that goes to israel. new york's police department has sacked the officer who used an illegal chokehold that contributed to the death of eric garner in 2014. eric garner's dying words, "i can't breathe", became a rallying cry for protests against police brutality and helped launch the black lives matter movement. here is police commissioner james o'neill making the announcement about officer daniel pantaleo. in this case, the unintended consequence of mr garner's death must have a consequence of its own. therefore i agree with the deputy commissioner of trial‘s legal findings and recommendations. it is clear that daniel pantaleo can no longer effectively serve as a new york city police officer. gwen carr, the mother of eric garner,
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held a news conference where she called for greater efforts to hold the police accountable for their actions. but, you know, it'sjust as heartening to go through this. and like we said, we're not finished. we have other offices that we have to go after. you have heard the names. we know the wrongdoing that they have done. show the pictures, say the names, do the rollcall, because they all need to lose theirjobs. new york is not safe with officers out there like that. prince andrew has attempted to distance himself from his former friend jeffrey epstein, as further questions are raised about his association with the convicted paedophile. a buckingham palace statement says the prince is appalled by new allegations epstein faced of sexual abuse and trafficking in young girls. it is a response to new video that has emerged of the prince at epstein‘s home, after the financier had already served a prison sentence for a sex offence with a child. our royal correspondent
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nicholas witchell has the latest. they are images which will haunt him, prince andrew at the home of a convicted paedophile, caught on camera as young women come and go, despite andrew's apparent efforts to be as discreet as possible. the video was taken outside the new york home of andrew's friend jeffrey epstein in 2010, two years after epstein‘s conviction. and there at the door, amid the comings and goings, the queen's second son. epstein was an associate of andrew for a number of years. it is even suggested andrew took him once to balmoral. this photograph was taken in 2001, andrew at one of epstein‘s parties with a then—17—year—old girl called virginia roberts. her claim to have had sex with andrew was dismissed by a us court. 2008, jeffrey epstein faced court in the united states charged with having sex with a minor and procuring an underage girl for prostitution.
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he was sentenced to 18 months in prison. in december 2010, soon after epstein‘s release, andrew was photographed with him walking in central park, new york. the video of andrew at epstein‘s home was taken the following day. last month, epstein was arrested on federal charges of sex trafficking minors. he was found dead in his prison cell on 10 august. prince andrew has always denied that he has been involved in any impropriety with underage girls. last night, buckingham palace added this. the denials of impropriety
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are emphatic, but what the palace cannot do is explain why prince andrew chose to continue his friendship with jeffrey epstein, or why he was at his home in new york. it all raises questions about the judgement demonstrated by the queen's second son. nicholas witchell, bbc news, buckingham palace. three years after the measles virus was virtually wiped out in the uk, the world health organization says it's back, and has removed the country's measles—free status. last year there were almost 1,000 cases in england and wales, three times as many as the previous year. the disease can be stopped through two doses of the mmr vaccine, but immunisation rates have been falling. there has been a news conference in hong kong in the past few minutes. hong kong in the past few minutes. hong kong's chief executive, carrie lam, said she hopes the non—violent
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weekend protest which saw hundreds of thousands take to the streets in a rally was the beginning of efforts to restore peace in the city. sunday's protest the calmest since the latest demonstrations against what is seen as creeping influence from beijing in the former british colony. they escalated in mid—june, largely triggered by opposition to a law which made it easier to extradite suspects from hong kong to the chinese mainland. it all culminated, of course, in those violent scenes at hong kong's international airport, which was occupied and shut down. she says she hopes to open a platform to establish dialogue between the protesters, the police and the authorities. sir eltonjohn has defended the duke and duchess of sussex over their use of private jets. the musician said that he provided harry and meghan with a private flight to maintain a high level of much—needed protection. the couple have faced criticism for taking private flights while calling for more to be done
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about climate change. hello there. the last two weeks have been pretty unsettled across the uk, quite a lot of rain around, strong, unseasonable winds too. but there are signs, as this week continues to wear on, pressure will begin to build, things will turn drier and warmer, and in fact today is looking like one of those. there will be quite a lot of dry and warm weather around as high pressure begins to nose in from the south—west. we still have a few weather fronts across northern areas. they'll generate a few showers at times, mainly across central, southern scotland and into northern england, maybe the odd one there for northern ireland, but i think elsewhere largely dry. lovely spells of sunshine after the chilly start into the afternoon. we'll see those temperatures reaching 19—21 degrees across england and wales. closer to 15—18 across
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northern ireland and scotland. so those values are a touch below the seasonal average. as we head through tuesday night, it looks like it'll be another largely dry one. one or two showers across northern and western areas. bit more of a breeze here, but lighter winds further south and east, so that again will lead to a fairly cool night, particularly out of town and where skies clear. so that takes us on into wednesday, then. we've got pressure building across southern and eastern areas as this high pressure establishes itself over the near continent, but another area of low pressure could spoil things across the north and the west of the country for wednesday. most places will start fine with some sunshine around, but then we'll see this weather front push into northern ireland, then into much of scotland through the day. wet and windy conditions, and ahead of it, perhaps a few showers affecting the north and west of wales, perhaps north—west england. but there will be some good spells of sunshine again further south and east, where it'll actually feel quite warm, 22 or 23 degrees. that weather system clears away as we head on into thursday. there'll be more weather fronts affecting the north—west corner
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of the country. the further south and east that you are, closest to the high pressure, the lighter the winds, and also more sunshine around. we'll be tapping into some of the warmth over the near continent, so you can see the red colours indicating something warmer, into the low—to—mid—20s celsius. friday, similar story — we'll have a weather front affecting the far north—west of the country, but actually, with southerly winds, that warmth will spread a bit further north. so we'll see 20 celsius or even warmer than that for northern ireland, parts of eastern scotland, and we could see 26 or 27 degrees across central, southern and eastern england. so that's the picture for friday. and as we head on into the weekend, high pressure continues to dominate. that is, away from the north—west corner of the country, which will always see those weather fronts bringing more cloud at times. but it really will turn warmer. we could see 27 or 28 degrees on saturday across the south and the east.
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this is bbc news. the headlines: a 21—year—old woman in el salvador whose baby was found dead in the toilet where she gave birth has been cleared during a retrial. evelyn hernandez had been found guilty of aggravated homicide under the country's strict abortion laws and served 33 months of a 30—year sentence. the former president of sudan, omar al—bashir, has appeared in court for trial on corruption charges — his first such appearance since being overthrown by the military in april. he was kept in a cage in the heavily guarded courthouse in khartoum. he denies all the charges. prince andrew has described as "abhorrent" suggestions that he would participate in or condone the exploitation of any human being. the statement came after a video emerged showing the prince at the home ofjeffrey epstein after the financier had served

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