a very warm welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to our viewers in north america and around the globe. my name's tom donkin. our top stories: this is an historic moment, from which there can be no turning back. divorce proceedings are under way — after 45 years together, britain officially starts the process of severing its ties with the european union. the ball is clear. to minimise the cost for the eu citizens, businesses and member states. brussels rejects a proposal to agree a new trade relationship at the same time as britain negotiates its departure. hello and welcome.
the united kingdom has formally given notice that it's leaving the european union. a letter — signed by theresa may — was handed to the president of the european council. the prime minister said she wanted a smooth and orderly brexit. but, the german chancellor angela merkel has warned that the terms of britain's divorce have to be settled before any talks on trade can begin. our political editor laura kuenssberg starts our coverage. some moments make us. this is one. the minute in westminster, belfast, edinburgh and cardiff that the united kingdom formally changed course. the article 50 process is now underway and in accordance with the wishes of the british people, the united kingdom is leaving the european union. this is an historic moment from which there can be no turning back. probably our last ambassador inside the european union handing over the letter at 12:25pm.
the document that says we are on our way out. theresa may's signature on our departure. herjob now, to make it work. this, her hope. a country that goes out into the world to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike. and that is why i have set out a clear and ambitious plan for the negotiations ahead. it is a plan for a new, deep and special partnership between britain and the european union. in perhaps the most important letter she will ever pen, the prime minister wrote of her ode to provide quicker reassurance to millions of eu citizens who live here as well as british people abroad. we should a lwa ys british people abroad. we should always put our citizens first. we should aim to strike an early agreement about their rights. no guarantees. the prime minister wants a free—trade deal greater scope and ambition than any before. we hope seen ambition than any before. we hope seen as ambition than any before. we hope
seen as naive by some to protect businesses from new rules and barriers. there was no overt threat to walk away, but a serious warning. a failure to reach agreement would mean oui’ a failure to reach agreement would mean our cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened. we must work hard to avoid that outcome. the message, the eu needs as. she also wants to agree the terms of our future partnership alongside those of the withdrawal from the eu, to work out how we live at the same time as sorting out the future. labour are not the only ones sceptical she can deliver. if the prime minister can deliver a deal that meets our tests, that will be fine and we will back. more than ever, britain needs a government that will deliver for the whole country, not just a that will deliver for the whole country, notjust a few. that is the ultimate test of the brexit deal that the prime minister must now secure. the clock is ticking now. memories of today will be so different. a public party for some. i
different. a public party for some. , even though that is not actually the former secretary. almost a week for others. that is the sense in the home of the eu. there is no reason to pretend that this is a happy day. neither in brussels nor in london. ina rare neither in brussels nor in london. in a rare interview inside number ten, the prime minister promised that despite the challenges our relationship with the rest of the continent will be just as good. what we are both looking for is a comprehensive agreement which provides the ability to trade freely into the european single market and for them to trade with us. there will be a different relationship but i think will have the same benefits in terms of free access to trade. an assertion that will take a lot to prove. won her counterparts in europe struggle to believe. but the time for preparation is up. it is now time to try and persuade. the president of the european council,
donald tusk, said the remaining member states would pull together during the talks. and he confirmed he would set out his planned negotiating guidelines on friday ahead of a special summit next month. with her assessment of the view at the heart of the eu, here's our europe editor katya adler. the man with the burning letter in his briefcase. good morning. big day, ambassador? sir tim barrow arrived without much fanfare at the european council building this morning. but this isn'tjust an historic day for the uk. for the eu, it is a momentous, never—to—be—forgotten kick in the teeth. visibly unhappy, this was the recipient of britain's letter starting the brexit process. so here it is. six pages. donald tusk, the man who represent all eu member states here in brussels. there is nothing to win in this process, and i'm talking about both sides. this is about damage control. european commission president
jean—claude juncker was also down in the mouth. i'm sad. i'm deeply sad. but beneath that sadness, palpable resentment among some eu leaders today that theresa may appeared in her letter to link the likelihood of a good trade deal, so hoped for by britain, with continued cooperation on security, so needed by the eu. i think that irrespective of what an agreement can be, what sort of agreement you can do on trade at the end of the day, we remain part of the same family and we should remain committed to fighting terrorism. so what now? well, the european commission is the lead negotiator for the eu when it comes to brexit. frans timmermans is the commission's vice president. but how can negotiations
even start, i wondered, with both sides at loggerheads? the uk wants divorce talks and talks of a new trade deal in parallel. the commission says non — divorce comes first. that is all part of how we negotiate. but how do you square that circle? everybody starts with his own interest and tries to formulate his own interest in the best possible way. that's what we all do. so what's the problem in having parallel talks, talking about trade at the same time as divorce, for example? the position of the eu will be determined on the basis of careful analysis of theresa may's letter. there can be no future settlement if we are not clear on how the divorce settlement is going to be. to make two years of complex negotiations even thornier, the uk isn't talking just for the european commission. the real power behind the throne lies in the eu capitals, berlin, paris, rome and 2a others. they will take any big political decisions for the eu when it comes to brexit and the future trade deal.
they don't and won't always agree with one another. and the article 50 time frame is very, very tight. divisions there may be, but when it comes to the loaded issue of parallel trade and divorce talks, europe's most powerful leader agrees with the european commission. much to downing street's dismay. translation: in the negotiations we first have to sort out how we can untangle ourselves from one another. only when that has been settled, hopefully soon after, we can speak about our future relationship. chancellor merkel also stressed the importance of deciding the fate of eu citizens living in the uk and british citizens in the eu, asap. brussels and london agree. thankfulfor one issue at least to unite around. katya adler, bbc news, brussels. the white house gave its reaction
to britain's departure from europe. calling president trump a ‘leader in the effort to call brexit‘, his press secretary sean spicer said the administration hopes britain will retain its place on the world's stage. we respect the will of the british electorate and her majesty's government in taking steps departing the eu whatever future the uk/eu relationship looks like we want the uk to remain a strong leader in europe and for both the eu and uk to remain strong leaders globally. we quickly take you now to south korea where you can see just then the former president has jumped into a black car which is moving in a cavalcade with protesters and supporters around her. she is going toa supporters around her. she is going to a hearing in the capital to hear whether an arrest warrant for her, alleged involvement in the corruption scandal which has engulfed the country earlier this
month, the former president lost her immunity and was dismissed from her post when the constitutional court upheld a decision by parliament to impeach her. now this centres around park and her close friend. she allegedly, the friend, extorted money from big firms including samsung. we have seen the samsung head in prison and herfriend also behind bars. ms park has denied the allegations against her all along and the former president apologised to the public last week before being questioned by authorities. there you can see the streets of the capital lined with both protesters and many supporters. many supporters calling this alleged scandal politically motivated and away to remove the president from power. former president ms park have always denied these allegations against her and
this really has caused it to mortal as rift in the politics of south korea. there are new due to take place and many commentators and people there close to the story say there could be a swing to the left in the politics of south korea. our correspondent is outside the court where murders park geun—hye is due to arrive shortly. as soon as she is there and we know the verdict of the hearing we will definitely go live and bring you the latest. for now, please stay with us here on bbc news. still to come... the statue of cristiano ronaldo that's hit the headlines and gained its own twitter account. the accident that happened here was of the sort that can at worst produce a meltdown. in this case the precautions worked, but they didn't work quite well enough to prevent some old fears about the safety features of these stations from resurfacing.
the republic of ireland has become the first country in the world to ban smoking in the workplace. from today, anyone lighting up in offices, businesses, pubs and restaurants will face a heavy fine. the president was on his way out of the washington hilton hotel, where he had been addressing a trade union conference. the small crowd outside included his assailant. it has become a symbol of paris. 100 years ago, many parisians wished it had never been built. the eiffel tower's birthday is being marked by a re—enactment of the first ascent by gustave eiffel. this is bbc news. i'm tom donkin. the latest headlines:
after 45 years together, britain officially starts the process of severing its ties with the european union. formal notice came in the form of a simple letter. two years of tough negotiations will now follow. we will go to south korea where you can see motorcycles carrying the former president president park to her hearing where she will find out whether an arrest warrant will be held up against us. this centres around a corruption scandal she is alleged to have had a major part in. this scandal involves involves her best friend who allegedly used a relationship with the former president to extort money from a huge firms in south korea including samsung. the former president,
president park, no longer has presidential immunity from proceedings like the one she is about to stand in front of. this camera looks like it is on the bike of one of these police motorcycles. they are taking former president park to her hearing. just recently, herfriend, at the park to her hearing. just recently, her friend, at the centre of this corruption scandal, has been imprisoned, as will as the head of samsung. you would have to forgive the president for feeling quite nervous going into these receding is. she of course denied any allegations us. —— proceedings. we will bring you more information as we get it. —— allegations. arab leaders have reaffirmed their support for the creation
of an independent palestinian state, saying this must come before they will allow normal relations with israel. the message delivered at their annual summit comes as the us president donald trump decides his approach to the decades—old arab—israeli conflict. our middle east correspondent, yolande knell, was at the summit held by the dead sea injordan. from the shore, arab leaders have had the west bank in their view. it is very appropriate this summit ends with a strong message on the israel— palestinian conflict. i spoke to jordan's foreign minister. he in orderfor peace to jordan's foreign minister. he in order for peace to be lasting and comprehensive it has to understand the legitimate rights of the palestinian people and ensure the emergence of a palestinian state and will guarantee civility and stability and normal tyres between
israel and arab countries. —— ties. in recent years, the arab countries have looked divided and beset by troubles. the presidents are on opposite sides in many conflicts, especially syria's civil war to pick the un secretary general antonio guterres came asking them to work together. i appeal to your leadership in shaping a new arab world able to address and solve by itself the differences through dialogue and cooperation. the visions in the arab world have opened the door to foreign intervention and manipulation, breeding instability, sectarian strife, and terrorism. at this time of transition and upheaval, unity is critical. there were references here to many different challenges. yemen's devastating war. efforts to
defeat the so—called islamic state group. and continued unrest in libya. but while this year, more arab leaders turned up to talk, this was another summit that ended without big breakthroughs. yolande knell, bbc news, injordan. in other news this hour. 12 people have died in south—western texas after a head—on collision between a pickup truck and a van. three others have also been injured. police say the van was carrying 14 senior members of a local church returning from a three—day retreat. a millionaire architect from columbia has been sentenced to over 51 years in prison for the kidnap, rape, and murder, of a seven—year old indigenous girl. the child's death last december sparked protests and candle—lit vigils in the capital, bogota. 38—year—old rafael uribe noguera confessed in january. two former aides to chris christie, the republican governor of newjersey, have been sent to prison for their role in a political revenge plot dubbed "bridge—gate." bill baroni and bridget kelly were given terms of two years and 18 months respectively, for their role in closing traffic
lanes on a busy new york bridge. the scandal derailed mr christie's presidential ambitions. in washington, the politicalfocus remains on the investigations into russian involvement in the us election, and whether the trump campaign was involved. the chairman of a senate intelligence committee looking into the matter says they have asked 20 people to be questioned. among them, the president's son—in—law, jared kushner, who has acknowledged meetings with russian officials during the transition. the top democrat on that same committee says there is no question about russia's motives. russia's goal, vladimir putin's goal, is a weaker united states, wea ker goal, is a weaker united states, weaker economically, weaker globally, and that should be a concern of all americans regardless of party affiliation. science and the environment has had a tough week, with the news on tuesday that
president trump signed an order rolling back some of his predecessor's environmental policies. experts say that will take the us back a step in meeting global targets. so, what is the scientific community to do? well, nada tawfik takes a look. scientists and their process is under attack. and that's terrifying. science has realised that you can ignore politics but it will not ignore you. we will cancel the paris climate agreement. we will stop giving money to these programmes. the american public and perhaps the public of the world really do feel like the world views they believe in are not being reflected by the government. the government is doubting the facts. conservative voters especially
concerned scientists. trust in research is at a a0 year low. how can scientists change that? i would love to see 20% of congress made up of scientists and engineers. and i think we would have a different approach to governing if we did have that. rather than waiting for a seat at the table, they're going after it. this woman started the political action committee to help scientists run for office. it can be difficult for a scientist to talk to the public. we are trying to help facilitate that as well. how many would actually be interested? it turns out many. 3000 have already signed up for training. we have a lot of people in congress right now. the government went straight into policy without any expertise in the area whatsoever. we will leave that report for a moment. we will take you back to south korea. there is the former
president, president park, entering the district court in seoul to face charges and an arrest warrant against her. this is old to do with the corruption scandal she is alleged to be involved in, and also involving her friend, and alleged to be involved in, and also involving herfriend, and many big hitters in south korean politics and business. the head of samsung and herfriend are already business. the head of samsung and her friend are already behind bars. the former president, parker and hey, are finding out what effect will be. —— park geun hey. there she is, walking into court to hear an arrest warrant that has been put from prosecutors against her in her role in a corruption scandal. we will have the latest on that story with the news of what happens in that court. steve evans is outside it arab chorus london, and he will bring us that use when it comes to.
-- it, bring us that use when it comes to. —— it, our correspondent,. in a rare honour for a football player, the portuguese striker cristiano ronaldo has had the airport on his home island of madeira named after him. however, it was his rather odd—looking statue that attracted most of the attention at the unveiling ceremony — as our reporter sarah corker explains. cristiano ronaldo is a local hero in madeira. the islands most famous son, a rags to riches success. so what better way to outline his achievement than naming the airport after him and unveiling a new statue? but this probably was not quite the likeness he was expecting. unfazed by the bulging eyes of the bust behind him, he thanked the regional government for this tribute. but social media has not been quite so kind. the statue has already got its own spoof twitter page. football fans say it looks
like former republic of ireland catch on niall quinn than ronaldo. and this is another quote. 0ne fan said this. singing. and another statue, again in ronaldo's hometown, has also been the subject of ridicule. around the world there are caricatures and figurines and it took only 15 days to make this bust. the artist says he has not spoken to cristiano ronaldo yet, but looks forward to getting his opinion. let's hope that the star sees the funny side. sarah corker, bbc news. back to the top story, the likely economic impact of brexit. 0ne back to the top story, the likely economic impact of brexit. one of the key areas during the referendum
campaign are the hopes for effective economic cooperation. earlier, kemal ahmed explains some of the difficulties that may lie ahead. was that sitting next to theresa may during her statement to parliament? philip hammond, the man charged with piloting the uk economy through the next few years. i think theresa may and philip hammond know there are many challenges. today, ford and bmw both warned of the need for tariff free access to the eu. they said they want free labour movement across borders. and the public, theresa may has a challenge, brexit and economy have gone to the top of the list of what people are concerned about. if theresa may does not get a good deal with the eu, if
there is economic damage, that is not just there is economic damage, that is notjust an there is economic damage, that is not just an economic there is economic damage, that is notjust an economic risk to number 10, it is also a pretty major political one. kemal ahmed. and before we go, surfers from around the world are competing in the big wave awards. surfers ride huge waves, some as high as up to 2a metres high, in locations around the world. in hawaii, australia, portugal and mexico. and the video of the best big wave will be released by the world surf league as surfers and videographers compete in seven big wave categories. and the awards will be handed out at the gala ceremony on april 29th. that's all for now. stay with bbc world news. theresa may has described leaving the eu as an historic moment from which they can be no turning back. don't forget, you can get in touch with me on twitter. i am tom doyle can. from me and the team, it is a
goodbye to you. —— tom donkin. mixed fortunes for the weather in the next 2a hours. some of us will have dampness. some will have the best weather so far. western areas will have rain today. rain coming from the south and west. across eastern areas of england, the air has been coming up from the near continent, and that will bring temperatures into the low 20s in the warmest spots. as i said, the warmest day of the year so far. a mild start to the day with temperatures staying in double figures, 11 to 12 degrees as we start off. always the risk of pulses of rain affecting northern ireland. western areas of scotland is looking wet. cumbria as well. further pulses of rain across these western areas through the day on and off through the rest of the day. for the east, after a cloudy start, things will brighten up the sunshine coming in. for scotland, south—western areas the warmest. dumfrees and galloway. not too much rain towards the murray coastline. brighter spells. northern ireland, rain. there or therabouts for much of the day. some drier spells from time to time. western england and wales seeing some rain even into the afternoon. further east, warm sunshine.
sunshine will be hazy. we could see temperatures pushing up to 22 degrees in the warmest spots. now, during the evening and overnight, there will be some more wet weather coming across western areas of the uk. the rain will turn more persistent and heavy. murky conditions developing over the hills as well with mist and fog. but it wil be another mild night. temperatures 11—12 for many of us. friday's weather picture. low pressure is in charge. a band of rain moving north and east through the morning. then the weather will try to improve as we head through the afternoon. northern ireland brightening up. sunshine in england and wales. some areas of scotland as well by the end of the day. it will turn quite windy for northern scotland later on. never that warm in the far north. in the sunshine, temperatures pushing well into the teens. pretty mild for the time of year. for the weekend, it's an unsettled start to things on saturday. a mixture of bright spells and passing showers. temperatures between 12
and 16 degrees celsius. the wind will be quite light. showers will stay with you if you are hit by one. showers will be killed off. we will look for a decent day on sunday. sunday, on the cool side. cooling off in the afternoon. perhaps one or two passing showers for the north and west of the uk. temperatures reaching a high of 17 towards the south—east. and that's your weather. the latest headlines from bbc news. european leaders have rejected a british government plan for the two sides to agree the terms of britain's status outside the eu, at the same time as negotiating its withdrawal. the president of the european parliament warned britain not
to take any unilateral action before it leaves the bloc in 2019. after 44 years together, britain officially started the process of severing its ties with the european union. in a letter notifying the eu of brexit, the british prime minisiter praised european values and insisted that britain can hold on to its trade benefits with the eu even after it has left. the ousted south korean president, park geun—hye, is due in court for a hearing that will decide whether to approve an arrest warrant against her over corruption allegations. her supporters gathered outside the district court in the capital ahead of that hearing. —— court. now it's time for a look back at the day in parliament.