tv World News Today BBC News January 1, 2020 9:00pm-9:31pm GMT
albeit a little cooler. this is bbc world news today. our top stories: israel's prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, says he'll seek parliamentary immunity from prosecution for alleged bribery and fraud. bushfires kill at least eight people in south—eastern australia this week and destroy more than 200 homes. you just go, that was the bedroom and that was where my antiques were from family history. and all my baby memories from my kids. just everything. supporters of an iranian—backed militia in iraq have pulled back from the us embassy in baghdad, after a second day of violent protest. and pope francis apologises for slapping a woman's hand when she pulled him off balance as he was greeting crowds in rome.
hello and welcome to world news today. the israeli prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, has announced he will seek parliamentary immunity from prosecution in three corruption cases. the allegations have dogged mr netanyahu as he faces his third election campaign in less than a year, after failed attempts to form a government. he was indicted in november, but the request could delay the legal proceedings against him for several months. mr netanyahu made his announcement in a live television address. translation: i intend to ask the speaker of the can a city, according to article 4, to let me implement my right, my duty and my mission to continue serving you for the future
of israel. i intend to ask because i am sacrificing my life to you people of israel. but there are people who, unlike me, did commit grave crimes, and they have lifelong immunity. they are just and they have lifelong immunity. they arejust on and they have lifelong immunity. they are just on the right side of the media and the left wing. amir tibon is the washington correspondent for the haaretz newspaper, hejoins me now. what was your reaction when you heard that the prime minister would ask for immunity in this way? so it was not a surprise, we ask for immunity in this way? so it was not a surprise, we were anticipating this was not a surprise, we were anticipating this for several months now, that prime minister netanyahu, one sees indicted, will try to seek it is unprecedented in the history of israel for a sitting prime minister to do this, we have only had two macro members of the knesset who have done this before, and they we re who have done this before, and they were low—level members of the opposition, so this is a new low,
some would say, for israeli politics, but this was really the only option for him, because if he had not sought this immunity, he would have begun his trial in a few weeks, he would have had to go to jerusalem, and this is at least delaying the court proceedings by some months. how do you think this move will go down in israel? in israel, any person is innocent until proven guilty, but this is a move that seems to convince them that netanyahu that seems to convince them that neta nyahu may be that seems to convince them that netanyahu may be as afraid of the court or hiding something, and this is the line of the opposition right now, they are saying, if you are innocent, don't you want to go to court to prove your innocence? we have seen public opinion over the last several weeks that seems to
show that this is the opinion of the majority of israelis. most israelis are against this immunity request from the prime minister, there is a big majority against it against a ce ntre—left big majority against it against a centre—left israelis, and even a considerable chunk of the right—wing who are supportive of his politics still do not like this latest move, because it is not exactly move that an innocent person would choose to do, and we have elections in exactly two months, so we have to see how this will impact the voters. this is the question i am going to ask you, i know it is impossible to answer, but given we have had election after election recently that has not delivered a result, what impact do you think this will have on the next election? so we know that netanyahu and his advisers were very concerned and his advisers were very concerned and had long deliberations about this immunity recalls, because they probably did see, in the internal polling, what we are seeing in the public polling — this is an unpopular move, and it could hurt netanyahu unpopular move, and it could hurt
neta nyahu electorally. on unpopular move, and it could hurt netanyahu electorally. on the other hand, the alternative of beginning his court trial as he is running for re—election could have been even worse. most of the public opinion polls in israel show a result in the third election that is expected in march that is almost similar to the election we had in september, three months ago. so we are not necessarily any further forward in that case? exactly, it means we are continuing to be in a deadlock. for netanyahu, a result similar to september is not good, because in the current make—up of our parliament, of not a majority that supports these immunity request. his request may be denied. fascinating stuff, thank you for your time. thank you. australia's bushfire crisis continues to escalate, fuelled by record—breaking temperatures and months of severe drought. at least 17 people have died
since october across new south wales, victoria and south australia. new south wales has been the worst hit. gires there have burned more than 4 million hectares of bush and destroyed more than 900 houses — 200 just this week. from sydney, phil mercer reports. these are extraordinary times in australia. the bushfires have brought terror into the lives of ordinary people. they are devastating and deadly. more lives have been lost, and hundreds of homes have been destroyed. you walk around a bit of your house and you go, that was the bedroom, that was where my antiques were from my family history. all of my baby memories from the kids and just everything, just gone. i don't know what i'm going home to, so... ijust hope for the best. it's upsetting to lose your memories, that's very upsetting. but you can't dwell on it, you know? if you dwell on it,
you'd just be upset all the time, and that doesn't get you anywhere. you've got to move on. help is yet to reach some residents who've reportedly suffered burns. the authorities say it's been too dangerous to send in rescue teams by road or by air. we have a very real challenge at the moment with a couple of isolated communities, where we've got reports of injuries and burn injuries to members of the public. we haven't been able to get access via roads or via aircraft, it's been socked in or too dangerous, and we simply can't access, nor can the people in these areas get out. conditions on new year's day have eased, but the danger remains. dozens of fires continue to burn across several states. bushfires have always been part of the australian story, but officials say this crisis is unprecedented. dry and windy weather is forecast for saturday,
and australia will once again brace itself for another onslaught. phil mercer, bbc news, sydney. police in hong kong have arrested around 400 people who took part in a new year's day anti—government demonstration. officers say they detained the protesters for offences including "unlawful assembly and possession of offensive weapons". despite the march starting peacefully, there were violent clashes between a small number of protesters and police. riot police used pepper spray and tear gas, while hardcore protesters threw petrol bombs. our correspondentjonathan head sent this report. the first day of the year and already a mass rally. hong kongers wasted no time in letting their government know that nothing has changed in 2020. they still fear that their city's identity and freedoms are under threat, that they cannot let up
the pressure on their leaders — and on their backers in beijing. in this huge crowd, they came from all walks of life. what we've seen today is enough to tell us what's in store for hong kong this year. and it's going to be more of the same battle of wills between protesters determined to defend the territory's autonomy and a government that is equally determined not to be seen to make concessions. when all this started more than six months ago, few could have imagined it would last this long. today very few can imagine how this is all going to end. it had been a legal protest, but suddenly the police announced it was no longer approved. the families disappeared, then the masked youngsters ready to confront the security forces took up positions. and in a now all—too—familiar routine, the riot police took up theirs. unfortunately, again, rioters
hijacked the procession today, which resulted in the decision for the police to end the procession earlier this afternoon. but today even the hardcore protesters didn't want to fight. as night fell, they left symbolic barricades and withdrew, the police moving in to clear and reclaim the streets. they and their young adversaries are surely tired of these continuous confrontations, yet it seems they are compelled to carry on playing their part in what looks set to be another year of turmoil. let's take a look at some of the other stories making the news. north korea's leader kim jong—un has suggested the country could restart its nuclear and long—range missile tests. he said north korea was no longer obliged to suspend the tests, as was formerly agreed during talks with the us. mr kim made the announcement at a government meeting two days ago.
at least eight people have died in devastating floods around the indonesian capitaljakarta. the flooding, caused by heavy rain, has brought transport to a standstill and forced thousands of people to flee their homes. the pacific nation of palau has become the first country to ban sun cream that is harmful to corals and sea life. the ban covers the sale and use of lotion containing any of ten common ingredients. several other places, including hawaii, have announced similar plans. protesters in baghdad have all now pulled back from the us embassy after earlier attacking the compound for the second day running. the crowd, supporters of an iranian—backed militia, lit fires on the perimeter wall, angry about us air strikes that had killed 25 members of the militia. jonathan josephs reports. the bitter struggle between the us
and iran has again been playing out on the streets of iraq. a sizeable crowd of protesters and iranian—backed militias set fire to the perimeter of the american embassy in baghdad for a second day. but us troops have used tear gas and stun grenades to force them back. just some of the thousands of troops it has in the country. translation: this is not the first time the us have hit us. we will never move from here, i swear on god and on my life, until they leave here. translation: we are holding a sit—in for the souls of our martyrs until the departure of the american occupiers. iraq's military says the protesters have now withdrawn and that its forces have completely secured the perimeter. that will be welcomed by president trump, who has urged the iraqi government to take a tough line.
nonetheless, around 750 additional soldiers have been deployed to the region, and despite reinforcements all public consular operations. amid his new year celebrations, president trump warned he wouldn't allow a repeat of the 2012 storming of the us consulate in the libyan city of benghazi, where four americans were killed. the marines came in, we had some great warriors come in and do a fantasticjob. and they were there instantaneously, as soon as we heard. i use the word immediately, they came immediately, and it is in great shape, as you know. this will not be a benghazi. benghazi should never have happened. president trump blames iran for the death of an american contractor at an iraqi military base last week. he responded with these air strikes against the iranian—backed militia, kataib hezbollah, at the weekend. 25 people were killed. that's drawn strong condemnation from iran's supreme leader,
ayatollah ali khamenei, who said president trump's threats were hollow. translation: if the islamic republic decides to challenge and fight a country, it will do so unequivocally. we are strongly committed to our country's interest and our peace. we are strongly committed to the dignity of our country. these protests come amid a us—iran relationship that has deteriorated since washington pulled out of the nuclear weapons deal in 2018. and all the while, iraq finds itself stuck in the middle, trying to help the us see off the so—called islamic state group, but at the same time trying to protect its relationship with neighbouring iran. jonathan josephs, bbc news. we will be live in baghdad in a few
moments. senior legal figures in cyprus have called for a british woman to be treated leniently after she was convicted of lying about being raped by 12 men in a hotel room. the woman's mother has called for tourists to boycott cyprus. she told the bbc that ayia napa, where her daughter had been on a working holiday, was unsafe. our correspondent katharine da costa reports. instead of celebrating the new year with friends and family, the british teenager is detained in cyprus and faces up to a year in prison. her supporters claim the case against her is deeply flawed, and her lawyers are planning to appeal. her mother says she has suffered both mentally and physically over the last five months. she is suffering from ptsd. she spends a lot of time with hypersomnia at the moment. that means she is sleeping an awful lot of the day. she sleeps probably 18, 20 hours a day. she's also quite withdrawn, which is very sad for me to see, and she also experiences hallucinations.
and she needs to get back to the uk to get that treated. that is my absolute primary focus. these are the young israeli tourists who originally faced accusations that they raped the young woman. they were freed and allowed to fly home after she retracted the allegation, but she said she only did that because she was put under huge pressure by police questioning when she was vulnerable. the foreign office says it has serious concerns about how this case has been handled. it has now raised the issue with the cypriot authorities. today we have learned a number of senior legal figures in cyprus are calling for the british woman to be given a lenient sentence, saying the teenager has already suffered enough. now the british woman's mother is supporting a call for tourists to boycott the country. this is not an isolated incident. the place isn't safe. it's absolutely not safe. and if you go and report something
that has happened to you, you are either laughed at, as far as i can tell, or in the worst case, something like what has happened to my daughter may happen. the cypriot government says it has full confidence in its justice system and courts. katharine da costa, bbc news. stay with us on bbc world news, still to come... in sport, a new year's victory for leicester against newcastle in the premier league. the most ambitious financial and political change has got under way with the introduction of the euro. tomorrow in holland we will use money we picked up in belgium, and then in france it is the same money, it has got to be the way to go. george harrison, a former member of
the beatles, is recovering after being stabbed at his home. he has good? fantastic! this is bbc world news today. the latest headlines: israel's prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, has said he'll seek parliamentary immunity from prosecution for alleged bribery and fraud. bushfires have killed at least eight people in south—eastern australia and destroyed more than 200 homes.
it's been a busy day in the premier league, there's still one match under way, but we've had eight results. leicester won 3—0 away at newcastle. ayoze perez and james maddison scored in the first half, and hamza choudhary added a late third that keeps the foxes in second place behind the leaders, liverpool, who play on thursday. the gap, though, is ten points, so are leicester in the title race? we are not thinking about it, to be honest, i think probably everyone else is thinking about it more than ourselves. we just concentrate on developing our game, increasing our performance level, how we play and the ability to play and improving our game idea. and for that, that's my only focus. the champions, manchester city, are a point behind leicester after they beat everton 2—1 at home. gabrieljesus scored both city's goals before ricarlison pulled one back.
that's carlo ancelotti's first defeat as everton manager. david moyes' second spell in charge of west ham has started with a 4—0 win at home to fellow strugglers bournemouth. captain mark noble scored twice, sebastien haller and felipe anderson also scored. moyes kept west ham up in 2018 before being replaced by manuel pellegrini who was sacked on saturday. in truth, i've not had any time to work with the players, we have been in a day and a bit, you know, we have not been able to do set pieces, really, just because of the time, an idea what we wanted, so the credit goes to the players for their attitude, their determination, and nobody epitomised that more than mark noble, and declan rice as well, the two of them were really good today. tottenham slipped up in their pursuit of a top—four finish. they lost 1—0 at southampton, danny ings on target again,
his 13th league goal of the season. the saints have picked up ten points in four matches over christmas and the new year. spurs bossjose mourinho was booked after a confrontaion with the saints goalkeeping coach in their dugout. i think the card is fair, because i was rude, but i was rude to an idiot. and for some reason, for some reason i was rude, and because of that i deserved a yellow card. they are 15 minutes into the second half at the emirates. arsenal lead manchester united 2—0. england's cricketers are having a tough time of it, jofra archer is a doubt
for the second test against south africa, which starts in cape town on friday. the fast bowler has an elbow injury. he was also one of the 11 players affected by a sickness bug. the rest of the squad trained this morning, archer was there but didn't bowl. he took six wickets in the first test which england lost, so would be a big miss. i don't think it changes anything, for me at least. you know, ithink they will probably... the difference betweenjofra archer, they will probably bring in mark wood or something, who also bowls 145, so it doesn't really change much. you never know, maybe pace will be nice to face this weekend. it's all different, we'lljust have to see what happens, but no, it doesn't change much for me personally at least. and in the last few minutes, peter
wright has become the pdc darts champion, beating michael van gerwen 7-3. that champion, beating michael van gerwen 7—3. that is all you'll spot. —— thatis 7—3. that is all you'll spot. —— that is all yours sport. let's get more on now on that us embassy attack in baghdad and the news that supporters of an iraqi militia group, backed by iran, have withdraw after a tense standoff at the compound. pesha magid is a freelance journalist currently based in baghdad and joins me now. it has just it hasjust gone it has just gone past midnight where you are now, what is the situation on the ground now? things are fairly quiet now, supporters of that militia group withdrew earlier today after they received orders from some of the militia commanders telling them to leave and two, you know, stop attacking the embassy. they left saying that they had succeeded, that this was a retreat in victory, but things have become quieter finally after two days. what do you think the plan is? will they be back
again tomorrow? i think that depends on what the militia commanders say. at this point in time, it seems like they don't really want them to return, and it is important to note that this is coinciding with the us are sending more forces to iraq, so if they did return, it might cause great attention. and is not great attention something that they actually want or not want at the moment? what is in their interest?” think at this point in time, obviously this is an iran supported group, andi obviously this is an iran supported group, and i think that, you know, they don't want things to spiral out of control, they kind of tit—for—tat, small spats between them are something they can deal with, but something much larger than that word, i think, would not be beneficial for any of the parties involved. and what to think of the role of the iraqi authorities in all of these? i mean, it depends who we are talking about when we say the
iraqi authorities, but definitely some of the major politicians seem to have been supportive of this move, there were figures circulating, some of the militia supporters who attacked the embassy, and just the fact that they were able to get into the green zone, which is normally quite a fortified area. you know, protesters who have been protesting against the iraqi government have been trying to enter the green zone for months now and have not been able to, and yet this group was able to get through fairly easily, it seemed. so it depends on whom you are speaking about, but definitely some of the major politicians do not seem to be com pletely politicians do not seem to be completely opposed. interesting stuff, we will keep an eye on the situation in iraq, thank you very much for your analysis, we appreciate your time live from baghdad, thank you. that isjust about it from me, i will be back with the headlines in a couple of minutes. get me on twitter any time.
it has not been a bad start to the new year, a lot of cloud around, for those of you lucky to have some rights and sunshine, a beautiful sunset, as depicted by this weather watcher from north yorkshire. as we go through tonight, the isobars are set to squeeze together. the winds will increase before the arrival of these weather fronts, which will gradually bring in some rain. maybe cloud will be thick enough for the odd spot of drizzle, a touch on the chilly side into eastern scotland, but generally a mild start to thursday morning. but the winds will continue to strengthen. we are sitting across the milder airforthe time being, the cold air waiting in the wings. it is going to slip in as these weather fronts seep in east. to start the day, some rain abound in scotland and northern ireland.
one weather front sweeping its way south—east, it will be replaced by the other. for the middle of the afternoon, winds gusting in excess of 60 mph across the south coast, and some showery outbreaks of rain in the north—west, that weather front slipping south out of the scottish borders into north wales. it stays cloudy and blustery, into the north and west. that said, a mild afternoon, with temperatures ten to 12 degrees overall. as we move into friday, those weather fronts will slip their way south and east, rain starting to weaken, the isobars opening up, the wind is falling lighter and the chilly air descending across the country. on friday, we can start off with some cloud, light patchy rain clearing to the south—east. that will ease by lunchtime, sunny spells throughout the afternoon. temperatures a little cooler than they have been, looking at highs of 7 degrees or nine.
as we move into the weekend, high pressure will build from the south—west, with a weak weather front toppling across the top, so a good deal of dry weather for saturday, best sunshine for england and wales, cloud weather front threatening to the north—west, mayjust be up to double figures in the far south—west. it will stay dry for the second half of the weekend, potentially a touch milder as well.
the headlines: israel's prime minister benjamin netanyahu has said he will seek parliamentary immunity from prosecution in three cases in which he's charged with bribery and fraud. the immunity request could delay legal proceedings against him for months. protesters demonstrating outside the us embassy in iraq have pulled back from the area after a tense standoff. for two days the embassy has been targetted by crowds angry over deaths caused by us airstrikes. police in hong kong say they've arrested 400 people during a new year's day pro—democracy march. tens of thousands had gathered for the march which began peacefully, before violence broke out. dozens of endangered animals have died after a monkey house caught fire at a german zoo. police say the fire may have been caused by sky lanterns used to celebrate new year.