a postmortem examination into the cause of george michael's death has proved inconclusive, further tests will be carried out. drivers will be told to take care in fog and freezing conditions as a coach overturns in oxfordshire, killing 17 people. the ceasefire in syria appears to be holding. there has been calm on the front lines, but there have been sporadic clashes and some air raids. learner drivers could be allowed to practice on the motorway, meanwhile many are welcoming a possible change the law. a good evening, 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 us. 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. mr putin also said that positive developments in relations between russia and the uk would be mutually beneficial. 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: "it is sad that the obama administration, which started out by restoring our ties, is ending its term in anti—russia death throes. rip." 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 vladimir and donald will get along just fine. sir tony brenton is a former uk ambassador to moscow — he described what he thought might be the motives behind president putin's stance. he is trying to build a good relationship with trump. trump has said he wants a better relationship with russia. let's not kid ourselves, and british politicians have not got the message. we were in the extraordinary leap danger situation with russia and america, when both sides were talking about shooting them planes over syria. russia was testing the killer missiles, and so on. we need to get
away with that. trump is talking about a thawing of the relationship, and everybody in the uk should be encouraging him to do that. the results of an initial postmortem examination into the cause of death of the singer george michael have been published this afternoon. a little earlier richard lister gave me the details. yes, thames valley police issued a short statement saying the postmortem examination was carried out yesterday. that the cause of death is inconclusive and further tests will now be carried out. they go on to say the results of these tests are unlikely to be known for several weeks. for the moment they are preparing a file for the oxfordshire coroner. they say the death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious. you may recall his body was found at bed in his home on oxfordshire on christmas morning by his partner. everyone around him as saying he appeared to have died peacefully. his manager suggested he appeared to have died from a heart condition,
but as i say, the thames valley force saying at the moment they are treating his death as unexplained and further tests will be done. seventeen 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 air traffic control restrictions imposed as a result are causing delays and cancellations to flights to and from heathrow, gatwick and london city airports. our reporter helena lee is at the scene of the coach crash in oxfordshire: 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 that. 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? we have heard that flights are being
affected, the latest figures from gatwick and heathrow, he saying 119 flights have been cancelled today. more may be cancelled this evening. advising passengers to check with their airline. similar advising passengers to check with theirairline. similarstory at gatwick, advising passengers to check with the airline. 50 flights cancelled through the day, maybe further 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 momentjohny ronsijns was rescued from the waters off ramsgate.
he was only spotted in first light, after clinging to the hull of his boat, that went down in a blink of an eye. translation: the ship capsized in 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 aged just 1a. those years of experience and knowledge helping 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 in them. i kept my head warm by 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. it was absolutely freezing. he last heard his fellow fishermen while in the water. one later died in hospital, and the other is now presumed dead. translation: the worst thing is your colleagues who can't come with you, that's what's worse, for me, anyway. it's a lottery.
i've got the main prize, they've got nothing. despite this tragedy, he says he won't give up fishing. let's return to the news the russian president, vladimir putin, has said he won't expel us diplomats from the country in response to president obama ordering 35 russian diplomats to leave the united states. all of this linked to the us saying russia was buying, a cyber attack on the computers of american democrats during the presidential election campaign. let's get more on this
with our washington correspondent. the united states may have anticipated russia retaliating, that has not come. what is the response? we're waiting for a response from the white house. interesting symmetry between the russia and the us. russia are extending party invites to the children of american diplomats. here in the united states, the russian compounds in maryland and new york are being cleared. 35 diplomats havejust maryland and new york are being cleared. 35 diplomats have just a few hours to leave the country. when you look at what is happening in the two countries, well, an interesting dilemma. for the new incoming president—elect. he is yet to comment on what is happening. donald trump has rejected the evidence given to him in regards to hacking, treating it with a slight disdain at times, saying this is the same
intelligence agencies that gave us saddam hussein saying there were weapons of mass destruction. trying to pour some scorn weapons of mass destruction. trying to pour some scoi’i’] on weapons of mass destruction. trying to pour some scorn on what evidence was before him. in the last 2a hours he has softened his stance. he says it is time to move on. he says he will meet with intelligence officials to find out any update. it does leave him in a quandary. does the disregard the evidence of the 17 intelligence agencies. perhaps risking the rath of political supporters, he believes sanctions are the right thing. though the continue with sanctions, condemning russia for their alleged actions. interesting conundrum for mr trump.
senatorjohn mccain has set a date for the hearing is into cyber attacks on the united states. president obama's move seems to have w011 president obama's move seems to have won him some bipartisan support. even paul ryan, the republican house speaker said president obama had done the right thing. although he believes this is a little too late. he says russia should not be interfering in us democracy. john mccain has consistently said this needed to be investigated, and in congress. there will be hearings in congress, they have set a date. meanwhile president obama and the intelligence agencies have taken the new step of publishing the documents they have. they say they have published the evidence, and documents trying to help networks around the united states preventing
themselves being hacked by the russians. 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. this lull a welcome respite for a country, so much of which has already been destroyed. richard galpin, bbc news. 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. a post—mortem examination into the cause of george michael's death had proved "inconclusive" — further tests will now be carried out. drivers are told to take care in fog and freezing conditions, as a coach overturns on the mao in oxfordshire injuring seventeen people.
learner drivers are to be allowed on motorways for the first time under new government plans to improve road safety. the department for transport is launching a seven week consultation on the proposed changes from today. it says the idea is designed to improve awareness and experience for new road users. sangita myska reports. the proposed changes to both driver and motorcyclist training, says the government, would improve safety on britain's roads. for drivers, changes would mean that competent learners would be able to have lessons on motorways with an approved driving instructor in a dual—controlled car. the biggest proposed changes are reserved for motorcyclists. the compulsory basic training course, which allows them to ride unaccompanied on roads, would be updated. motorcycle training would also move more online, with novice riders having to take a theory test, and those holding a provisional motorcycle licence would also have their cbt certificates revoked
if they get more than six penalty points. the motoring organisation the rac have welcomed the proposals, saying britain's roads are already amongst the safest in the world, and that changes are needed to help modernise driver and motorcycle training. sangita myska, bbc news. with me is chris bensted, a driving instructor who is a member of the driving instructors association. you think vista is a good idea? definitely, any talk where we can give people more experience, that has to be a good thing. the test is a minimum standards tests, the experience is key to be safer on the road. we teach people how to self evaluate, giving them experience and the extra tools, things to work
with, that has to be a good thing. the average driving lesson, when i was learning to drive, travelling around relatively minor roads, getting nowhere near the speeds you might experience on the motorway. expecting newly qualified drivers to drive on the motorway without practice, like throwing them in the deep end. that is what people are going in with at the moment. no specific motorway training. i'm in an area with good dual carriageway networks, we can make use of them. no motorways being used. driving instructors a re no motorways being used. driving instructors are training, now much more about self and self—assessment. a greater mix of roads being used. not necessarily similar to motorways. is there evidence that newly qualified drivers are more likely to have evidence on motorways ? likely to have evidence on motorways? 896 of licence holders
have 25% of the accidents. one in five new drivers in the first six months. if we can get them confidently using motorways, we can get them off the other roads, onto safer road networks. a real balance of benefits. do you have any idea how the proposals would work? as i understand it, it would not necessarily be compulsory in a learner driver would have to do part of their training on motorways? there are logistical issues, a lot of the country does not have motorways, looking at a six hour or to be able to do so with learner drivers from certain areas of the country. not expected to go into tests, because of the same issue. you cannot keep the balance and fairness across all the tests. something that people can go and do. driving instructors offer it for post tests, very few people take
them up on it. you would like graduated trading? forward focus, looking at across the years, how people can develop. we take out a lot of full licence holders doing development with them. obviously thatis development with them. obviously that is good business for driving instructors. people can see the sense in that with improving safety. in terms of a target number of hours for driving practice before a test is taken, 120 hours, how does that compare to the typical amount of time people spend learning to drive before taking the test? the difference with the 120 hours, levels of experience then driving hours. i would levels of experience then driving hours. iwould rather someone levels of experience then driving hours. i would rather someone had few hours with me and maximise experience, then trying to work with a maximised hours with a driving instructor. 120 hours is based on
statistics that showed people are safe for once they have higher levels of experience. giving us something like motorways to work towards, a confident and safe level towards, a confident and safe level to use those motorways gives us more to use those motorways gives us more to work with to get hours under the belt before they take their tests. the latest files to be released by the national archives shed new light on the political turmoil of 1989 and 1990 —— as margaret thatcher's period as prime minister came to an end. the files reveal attempts by mrs thatcher to modify the community charge, widely known as the poll tax, her controversial plan to replace local authority rates. the policy led to rioting, and was a key factor in her downfall, as nick higham reports. it was the biggest political misjudgement of her career, the poll tax causing violence, even riots.
the files show her normally self—confident government on the defensive. these are loyal files dealing with the poll tax over 18 months. hundreds of pages of documents. an indication of how much time mrs thatcher spent worrying about the problem, how complex it was, how difficult it was to find a way out of the mess. many of the documents are covered in her characteristically spidery handwriting. at one point she floated the idea of letting councils put an extra penny on a gallon of petrol to raise extra cash. the poll tax was meant to forced labour councils to spend less. instead the government got the blame when millions found they were pay more. mrs thatcher realised it was fitting her this natural supporters, the natural supporters, the conscientious middle. this letter came from a voter in norfolk, he and his wife were paying twice as much under the poll tax. he accused mrs thatcher of acting like a dictator. michael portillo was the governments that are who had the job of trying to make the poll tax work. he says there are lessons to learn today. there are lessons to be learned, of course. i don't think they are learned. the conservative government's commitment in the 19805 to introducing a poll tax without thinking it through is quite strong parallels by david cameron's commitment to hold a referendum without thinking through what the consequences might be. as for mrs thatcher,
the poll tax ended her career, not before the files reveal westminster council threatened her with a fine if she did not complete rain poll tax registration time. time to take a look at the weather forecast. fog causing problems across the southern half of the uk. the weather front will sweep south, introducing colder clearer arctic air. a little bit brighter than some places. some sunshine, captured by weather watchers in northamptonshire. not the case for all, in some places dense fog lingering well into the evening. it may well thicken up overnight. further travel disruption more than likely. further delays on the roads, bbc radio should keep you up to date if you are on the move. the fog at its worst across south—eastern corners of united kingdom. not so
northern ireland and scotland, a breeze from the south—west keeping the fog of bay, keeping it relatively mild. 10 degrees in glasgow and belfast. compare that with rural spots in the south, cold, frosty, poor visibility through the morning. if you do not have the file, afair morning. if you do not have the file, a fair bit of cloud. a grey old start of the day for the southern half of the uk. might be brighter in the north for a time. it is scotland and weather front bringing breeze, clouds. north—west of scotla nd bringing breeze, clouds. north—west of scotland could be quite heavy for a time. drive to start within northern ireland, fairly cloudy. whether slipping southwards, getting into the central lowlands. through the afternoon creeping into northern ireland. a lot of dry, rather grey weather, brighterfor a ireland. a lot of dry, rather grey weather, brighter for a time ireland. a lot of dry, rather grey weather, brighterfor a time in northern england. some of file could linger into the afternoon. not quite as coal, the westerly breeze affecting england and wales, eight,
nine, 10 degrees for most of us. through the evening the weather front slit southwards. get stuck across england, parts of wales. as the fireworks go off "true. essentially fine and dry, not too cold around midnight. turning much colder behind the weather front, for some snow showers in northern scotland. a pretty noticeable arctic breeze. cold air pushing ever southwards through the day on new year's day. coming in behind this area of rain, could get stuck across east anglia, dull day there. elsewhere feeling cold. following allegations of russian interference in the recent us election. president putin says he won't respond to the expulsion of russian diplomats from the us, until president obama is replaced by donald trump in the white house. but the american sanctions are going ahead. removal vans have arrived at two russian compounds in the us, which are being closed down within hours. also today, a coach overturns
in oxfordshire, as fog and freezing conditions cause difficulties on roads and disruption at airports. new light is shed on the poll tax riots of 1990, in official government files released for the first time. and how cristiano ronaldo turned down a record—breaking deal to play in the chinese super league.