this is bbc news — i'm simon mccoy. the headlines at 2pm: president putin says he will not expel anyone in response to president obama ordering 35 russian diplomats out of the us for alleged hacking. drivers are told to take care in fog and freezing conditions, as a coach overturns on the mao in oxfordshire injuring 17 people. clinging on for life — the only survivor of a boat that capsized off kent earlier this week speaks out about his 11—hour ordeal. also in the next hour: the ceasefire in syria appears to be largely holding. there's been calm on the front lines, but there are reports of sporadic clashes and some air raids. and learner drivers could soon be allowed on motorways, in a move ministers hope will make roads safer. good afternoon and welcome to bbc news.
the russian president, vladimir putin has said that he won't expel any us diplomats from the country, in a surprise response to president obama's decision to order russian diplomats out of the united states. mr obama, who's also imposing sanctions, had accused russia of interfering in the us presidential election. despite advice from his foreign minister, mr putin has decided not to retaliate — for now. steve rosenberg reports from moscow. following accusations of cyber attacks on america, the us had expelled 35 russian diplomats. so, how would moscow respond? well, today, russia's foreign minister proposed tit—for—tat. he said he had asked president putin to expel 35 american diplomats. but the kremlin leader said no — no americans would be expelled.
he would wait to see what kind of policies donald trump pursued in the white house. that doesn't change what america's top intelligence agencies believe to be true; that state—sponsored hackers, backed by the highest levels of russian government, interfered in the us presidential election, with a cyber attack on the democratic party. the aim — to embarrass hillary clinton. was president putin behind it? washington suspects he was. last week, i got a chance to ask him myself. mr president, your country has been accused of state—sponsored hacking, with the aim of influencing the result of the us presidential election. and president obama revealed that he told you personally to cut it out. so what did you tell him in response? the kremlin leader refused to say, dismissing all the talk of hacking
as sour grapes from the democratic party. the losing side always tries to pass the buck, he said. but president obama had decided there was enough evidence to merit retaliation. as well as expelling diplomats, he ordered russian government compounds in new york and maryland to be shut down. us officials believe they were being used for intelligence. washington has announced sanctions against individuals too, including these men wanted by the fbi for cyber crimes. moscow is furious. today, prime minister dmitry medvedev posted this: the russian embassy in the uk had nothing good to say either,
about president obama — "you're a lame duck" is the message from moscow. but very soon there will be a pro—moscow president in the white house, and judging by president putin's decision — not to expel any americans — it could be that putin and donald will get along just fine. sir tony brenton is a former uk ambassador to moscow — he gave me his reaction to president putin's comments the thing that will be at the top of his mind now is, "how do i establish a good working relationship with trump?", and this is a part of preparing for that. so a new relationship starting from a very low point. mr putin wants to present himself as, "i want a good relationship, i'm the peacemaker in syria, we all hate isis and need to work together", he's trying to build a good relationship with trump. trump, as you know, has said, "we want a better
relationship with russia." let's not kid ourselves, and it's a bit sad, really, that british politicians haven't really got the message yet. we were in a very extraordinarily dangerous situation, with regard to russia and america, back a couple of months ago, when both sides' generals were talking about shooting down the each other‘s planes over syria. russia was demonstrating nuclear—tipped missiles in kaliningrad and so on. we need to get away from that. trump's arrival and his talk of a thaw, give us an opportunity to do that, and everybody — including here in the uk — should be encouraging it. what does it mean for president putin, does it mean he willjust go on strengthening his position, and that poses its own threat? president putin's position is not under threat. he has the support of 75% of the russian people. and again, there's a false impression the west that our problem is president putin. it's not the case. our problem is russia. he speaks for russia. in a right—wing direction", that's not putin, that putin,
the russian security sector and all of russia. when he says "crimea is ours", we may view that is utterly illegal and unacceptable, but all of russia, more or less as one said yeah, great, it is ours. sir tony brenton talking to me a little earlier. 17 people have been injured after a coach veered off a motorway slip road and overturned in heavy fog in oxfordshire. the vehicle came off the mao slip road near thame. the met office has issued a weather warning of fog across much of southern england and parts of wales and is advising drivers to take care — our reporter helena lee has the latest. it was in the early hours of this morning in thick fog the coach veered off a slip road off the m40, before rolling into a ditch and on its side. its mangled remains and the damage done clear when it was turned back over. 16 passengers were on board, travelling from heathrow to oxford. remarkably, none were seriously
injured but all were treated in hospital, some for broken bones, others for cuts and bruises. the bad weather made the recovery operation challenging. all three emergency services attended. with 17 people on board in total, very intensive for the paramedics and the ambulance crews that attended, assisted by fire and the police services, as well. obviously, probably a chaotic scene to start with and dense fog not helping. the oxford bus company said the driver was very experienced and had been doing overnight shifts for a number of years. now the coach has been taken away, the investigation turns to how it happened. was the thick fog to blame? and, why did the coach come off a junction earlier than it should have done? things are getting back to normal here but driving conditions are still very challenging. the met office has issued a new fog warning,
extended until four o'clock this afternoon, because the fog took much longer to lift than they expected. visibility in some places is less than 100 metres. also, if you are catching a plane today, you may face delays. the only survivor of a boat that capsized off kent on tuesday has told how he clung on to the hull for 11 hours. one of his crewmates is feared drowned after he was swept away, while a second was rescued but later died. bryony mackenzie reports. this is the moment mr runcie was rescued from the waters off ramsgate, was only spotted in first light after clinging to the hull of his boat, that went down in a blink ofan his boat, that went down in a blink of an eye. translation: one, two, three and that was it. one, two, three and that was it. one, two, three and that was it. one, two, three and no more, it was that fast. a fisherman for 36 years, he started in the industry just 1a.
a fisherman for 36 years, he started in the industryjust1li. those years of experience and knowledge helping him to survive the freezing conditions. translation: him to survive the freezing conditions. translationzlj him to survive the freezing conditions. translation: iwas him to survive the freezing conditions. translation: i was on top of the boat for 11 hours. it was freezing. my legs from here to my feet, they were blue. i didn't have any feeling. i kept my head up, pulling my sweater over my head and blowing into it. i moved my hands, and if my hands got too cold, i peed on them. he last heard his fellow fishermen lost in the water. one later died in hospital and the other is now presumed dead. translation: the worst thing is to colleagues who can't come with you, that's what's worse, for me, anyway. it's a lottery. they've got nothing. despite this tragedy, he says he
won't give up fishing. a nationwide ceasefire that came into effect overnight between the syrian government and rebel factions appears to be holding across most of the country, although some clashes have been reported. the deal was brokered by russia and turkey with the backing of iran in an attempt to end the civil war that began in 2011. the united states was not involved. here's richard galpin. this was the moment when the tide of syria's devastating civil war turned. buses lined up earlier this month to evacuate thousands of rebel fighters, defeated in their key stronghold in aleppo. a huge blow to the opposition movement, leaving the syrian regime in a commanding position. and giving the regime an opportunity to negotiate a ceasefire from a position of strength. translation: this reflects the reality that after aleppo's liberation the situation is now different. there is a real opportunity to reach
a political solution for the crisis in syria, that ends the bloodshed and establishes the roots for the future of the country. but it is syria's key ally, russia, which is leading this push for an end to the five—year civil war. a chance for president putin to portray himself as a peacemaker, although he admits the ceasefire is fragile. and already some rebel groups are disputing the terms of the truce. osama abu zeid of the free syrian alliance insisting that the ceasefire applies to the whole country and all rebel groups, including islamist extremists, which the syrian army says it will continue to target. two ceasefires agreed by russia and the united states earlier this year did fall apart quickly. but this time the americans and other western powers have been completely excluded,
with russia working instead with turkey and iran. and so far this latest ceasefire has held in many parts of the country, although there have been some government air strikes. this lull a welcome respite for a country, so much of which has already been destroyed. richard galpin, bbc news. our correspondent lina sinjab spoke to me a little earlierfrom beirut and said the ceasefire appeared to be holding, but with a few local exceptions. it is the first day of a nationwide ceasefire announced by russia and brokered between russia and turkey. so far it is holding. there are some reports of isolated incidents of sporadic shooting, including some bombardment in a suburb of damascus, but it doesn't mean the ceasefire is
collapsing. every side of this conflict are hoping that this ceasefire will continue. the key question is how russia will be able to control the government, and make it abide by this deal. the government says it excludes islamic state as well as al-qaeda's affiliate and all the groups affiliated to them. for the government, in the past they have been bombarding all rebel held territories, calling all the ones fighting against the government as terrorists. it's up russia to control them and stick the fight to only fighting islamic state, as agreed by all the warring parties. after that, russia wants to move to a political settlement. there are talks about meetings to take place next month in kazakhstan, where the government and the opposition will meet, laying the ground for a un row could talk in geneva in february. the coming days and hours and weeks
will decide if this is going to be successful as a ceasefire and lead toa successful as a ceasefire and lead to a political settlement to the syrian conflict. the headlines on bbc news: president putin says he will not expel anyone in response to president obama ordering 35 russian diplomats out of the us for alleged hacking. drivers are told to take care in fog and freezing conditions, as a coach overturns on the m110 in oxfordshire injuring seventeen people. this serious ceasefire between the government and the rebel group seems largely to be holding. learner drivers in britain will be allowed on to motorways for the first time, if new government plans are approved. the lessons will not be compulsory and driving instructors will decide when their students are ready. ministers hope the move will make roads in britain safer. sangita myska reports. britain's road network is amongst the safest in europe and today's proposed changes to both driver
and motorcyclist training aims to build on that record. under the plans, for the first time, learner drivers will be able to have lessons on motorways, but there are caveats. learners would have to be accompanied by an approved instructor. the lessons would be voluntary and the instructor would decide if learners are ready. any proposed change to the law would be well publicised. at the moment you can't learn on the motorway until you have passed your driving test. there's a very small take—up which means that people learning by trial and error afterwards. much better that they get taught properly right at the outset and encouraged actually to make long journeys using the motorways rather than other roads. novice motorcyclists would face changes too. they would have to take a theory test online and those holding a provisional licence could have their compulsory basic training certificate revoked if they accrue more than six penalty points. the proposals also include a trial of target number of hours of lessons for all learner drivers before they take their tests.
the government stresses that there are no plans to make any target compulsory. sangita myska, bbc news. chris grayling said the move will make britain's road say first document it is all about making our motorways safer. one of the things we do, we expect young driver to pass let us go to the motorway straightaway without experience. this means competent learner drivers could go on a motorway with an experienced instructor at and getting experience of what the motorway site. these are already very safe road but as a first—time user they can be very scary, i think giving this experience to them will make young drivers better and the motorways safer. will we have tests on the motorway, will that be included in the test? it's not about changing the nature of the test.
it's making sure younger people, as their more experienced and are ready to ta ke their more experienced and are ready to take their test are ready to go ona to take their test are ready to go on a motorway on a dual controlled car under the supervision of an instructor. getting experience means when they pass a test and they go on the motorway they have some miles under their belt and not first timers. the ftse1oo has ended the year at a new all—time high. the benchmark index closed at 7,142 points, marginally beating the previous record, set yesterday. the sharp fall in sterling, following the brexit vote, has boosted ftse companies, which are largely global firms that generate much of their revenue in dollars. theresa may has criticised president obama's policy on israel. downing street said the comments were inappropriate. chris mason said it isa inappropriate. chris mason said it is a round number ten didn't need to get involved in but did. the pretty
outgoing of the obama administration, first on the language around the discrimination of the government in israel. downing street said it was an appropriate to attack the composition of the democratically elected government of an ally. when the issue with settle m e nt an ally. when the issue with settlement in the occupied palestinian territories, it said yes, they believed they were illegal butjohn kerry's focus on this one issue in a deeply complex dispute was not the way to negotiate peace. those remarks downing street have now been by senior conservatives. the state department in washington has said it is surprised. so why are they doing it? firstly it is their view, but secondly, diplomatically, it is useful for theresa may to align herself relatively close to donald trump, given that in three weeks' time he will be president. chris mason fair. the billionaire philanthropist bill gates has warned that the world's health systems would struggle to cope with a majorflu epidemic. mr gates said the recent ebola and zika outbreaks showed the world was slow to respond
to health emergencies. he said that complex regulations and lack of organisation meant drug more now between russia and the united states and allegations of russians interfered in the us presidential election. vladimir putin says he won't expel any diplomats from the country in a surprise response to president obama's decision to order out russian diplomats from the united states. what is president putin's strategy? i think he does want to build bridges to renew the administration. he doesn't want to put trump into a difficult situation. it is a gesture that might imply he is ready for serious dialect with the president elect. yet in the hours before sergey
lavrov is to have said he wanted to expel american diplomats? that is correct. that is a kind of standard response, and in diplomatic promise, —— practice, that you have two reciprocate. however, putin broke these rules and that makes his step even more significant. just looking at twitter and president putin is inviting all the children of america american diplomats to christmas party at the kremlin. do you get the impression he might be enjoying this? he was accused of shutting down the american moscow and the media jumped at this opportunity to describe putin as a person who goes after kids. i think he wanted to retaliate in kind, and i think he did it with a touch of taste. also
noting vladimir putin in the last hour has said uk— russian relations could also be in a fitted and it would be mutually beneficial of the two countries got an better. what is the thinking behind that? who is he aiming that at? i think we may have lost the line... sorry about that. a frozen webcam. that was the director general of russian international affairs. people in india have until the end of the day to hand—in high denomination bank notes which are being taken out of circulation. last month, the government surprised the country by announcing it was withdrawing the two most popular bank notes which account for more than eighty per cent of all cash. the move was designed to tackle corruption and tax evasion — but it has caused widespread chaos. yogita limaye reports from mumbai. this workshop used to be a hive of activity. at least 20 people worked
here, making hundreds of leather wallets a nd here, making hundreds of leather wallets and purses every week. now there are just four. after the government withdrew most of india's banknotes in november, work has almost come to a standstill. translation: i need cash to pay my workers and to buy raw material. no one accepts checks. we don't have the means to make digital payments, nor do the people we purchase goods from. we cannot operate without cash. most of my workers have left andi cash. most of my workers have left and i don't have any orders, either. some businesses have simply had to close down. this is another unit that used to make leather goods. behind me is a row of factories, all closed, some of which used to make things like clothes. india's in distract industry sector is most heavily dependent on cash. job losses have been mounting. workers who travel from india's villages to its cities to earn a living have
been heading back home. employers don't have cash to pay them, but there is also less work because consumers are cutting down on purchases. the pace at which new banknotes are being introduced is slow, atms run out of cash and many banks have queues outside. the government says it is cleaning up the economy, but almost two months after the announcement, people are divided. if one plans 1's expenditure well, it doesn't really matter. initially, when it started off, i thought it was a really good idea. but what i feel could have been done better is the fact it could have been planned out a little better. i feel like there was a lot of chaos and you can see everywhere, notjust in one or two classes, everyone is affected in their own way. those worst affected are those at the bottom of india's economic ladder, those who cannot afford to go even a day without a job. national parks in england have lost
a quarter of their government funding in the past five years, according to research by the press association. campaigners warn it could threaten the areas for future generations, but the government says their budgets are protected until 2020. clare fallon reports. with stunning scenery and rare wildlife, 19 million people visit them every year, but england's national parks have had their funding cut in recent times, down by a quarter since 2010. areas loved by many and described by the government as national treasures simply aren't getting the cash they used to. figures show the grants given to nine out of ten national parks in england have been shrinking, reduced by more than £10 million overfive years. with inflation factored in, that's a real—terms cut of up to lio%. in a statement, the department for environment, food and rural affairs says: there are efforts to bring in more money by bringing in more visitors.
there is a government plan for encouraging school trips and overseas tourists. campaigners, though, point to information centres closing, bus services being axed and staff cuts in some national parks. they say there will need to be more cash so the beauty of the parks can be enjoyed by generations to come. newly released government files reveal that guards at the faslane naval base were ordered to shoot suspected intruders on site, after three people broke into a nuclear submarine. the prime minister at the time, margaret thatcher said she was "horrified" that the intruders had succeeded. nick higham reports. faslane, home to britain's nuclear submarines and one of the most secure military establishments in britain. or so you would think. yet in october 1983, three
anti—nuclear demonstrators broke into the base at night and got aboard a nuclear sub. documents released at the national archives show the prime minister was appalled. when mrs thatcher was first told of the security breach, the thing that evidently horrified her most was that the intruders had managed to get into the control room of a polaris submarine. her adviser charles powell wrote, "had there been armed terrorist the consequences would have been incalculable". and mrs thatcher herself noted at the top of the page, "i am utterly horrified. we could all have been put in grave danger." polaris was the forerunner of today's trident. the vessel was hms repulse. this is me. philjones, then a young peace activist, was one of the demonstrators. he says they were astonished at how easy it was, and shocked. when the commander of the submarine came into the control room, and he was shouting at us, "who the f are you? who the f are you?"
over and over again. we were shouting back at him. "this is outrageous, we could have been the ira", because they were still active. the files show staggering security failures starting with the perimeter fence. the alarms had been switched off. as a result of the incident, royal marine sentries were given orders to shoot anyone suspected of trying to damage the sub, but it didn't stop the same thing happening again at least twice — once in 2002, once in 2014. counting down to 2017 will take longer than usual this new year's eve, as clock experts compensate for a slowdown in the earth's rotation. to be precise, it will last an extra second. for the 27th time the national physics laboratory has brought in a leap second to ensure that time based on the earth's rotation does not lag behind time kept by atomic clocks. time foran
time for an extra class! now for a look at the weather. i am looking forward to that extra second already. as we go through the rest of the day today, we have had problems with fog affecting central and eastern england which has affected flights, at gatwick and heathrow, and also the roads. the fault is going nowhere fast. there will be some further issues notjust this afternoon, but probably overnight. further north is milder, a lot of cloud in northern ireland, scotla nd a lot of cloud in northern ireland, scotland and north england, but it is across england, central and eastern england we are continuing to see problems, not just eastern england we are continuing to see problems, notjust this afternoon but through the night time as well. bear that in mind. there could be some further localised destruction. a cloudy night across wales and west of england. it will bea wales and west of england. it will be a milder night compared with recent nights, some frost in central and eastern england, but mild in
northern ireland and scotland. through new year's eve tomorrow, a band of rain slinking its way southwards. some of that weather getting to the central belt later in the afternoon. england and wales, a lot of cloud, and as the breeze picks up we may see some of that murky weather lifting. temperatures up murky weather lifting. temperatures up to 10 degrees. that is your weather. hello. this is bbc news with simon mccoy. the headlines at 2:30pm... president putin says he will resist calls to retaliate against america's expulsion of 35 russian diplomats. the us has accused the kremlin of hacking the emails of senior