this is bbc news. can donald trump do a deal with the chinese president on trade and should he consider military action in syria? good evening, and welcome to bbc news. in an apparent major shift in policy, the trump administration says syria has no future under bashar al—assad, after the deaths of at least 80 people, killed in a suspected chemical weapons attack this week. the authorities in damascus have denied any involvement, but tonight the us secretary of state, rex tillerson, said there was no doubt syrian government forces were responsible. it's being reported that detailed discussions are taking place between the pentagon and the white house, about possible military action against president assad. and speaking in the last hour, president trump aboard airforce one, said the bombing was "a disgrace to humanity," and "something should happen." our correspondent, nick bryant, reports from the united nations in new york.
yesterday, we saw abdul—hamid alyoussef grieving for his twin children, poisoned in the attack. today, he suffered the further agony of burying them. often the images we see from syria are of helpless victims, caught in a spiral of violence that they have no way of controlling. but today, these syrians became activists. doctors, rescue workers, children, a silent protest, an expression of dignified rage, an act of self preservation. they are demanding punishment for the assad regime and protection from the international community. and growing signs tonight both could come from the trump administration. a top diplomat hinting strongly the us could respond militarily and saying president assad will eventually have to go. we are considering an appropriate
response for this chemical weapons attack, which violates all previous un resolutions, violates international norms and long held agreements between parties, including the syrian regime, the russian government, and all other members of the un security council. it's a serious matter that requires a serious response. today, america's commander in wounded warriors from past conflicts. this has been a big stress test of his america first approach, a philosophy predicated on a narrow view of us interests in which exercising moral and humanitarian leadership was not considered central. but the chemical attack has clearly altered that thinking. as he indicated tonight, aboard air force one. what assad did is terrible. i think what happened in syria is one of the truly egregious crimes and it shouldn't have happened. and it shouldn't be allowed to happen. the diplomatic battle ground in this
conflict has long been the united nations security council. it's seen a struggle primarily between the united states and russia and they've clashed again over the wording of the draft resolution responding to the attack. the british and the french drafted this resolution and then the americans inserted much stronger demands. they are insisting that the syrian military hand over all the flight logs for the day of the attack and also give international investigators access to its air bases. the russians say that's unacceptable. the americans are refusing to back down. the syrian government continues to claim it wasn't responsible for the chemical weapons attack. translation: our army has never used chemical weapons and will not use chemical weapons, not only against our civilians, our people, but also against the terrorists. the international investigation is now under way and victim soft
the international investigation is now under way and victims of tuesday's mass poisoning is being treated in turkish hospitals provide major clues. samples taken from them and postmortems carried out on the dead have left the turkish government in no doubt the assad regime carried out the attack. translation: unfortunately, it's very clear to us that the assad regime has no hesitation in using chemical weapons. they attacked with chemical weapons. the gruesome images from syria do appear to have stirred a dismal response from donald trump. he often reacts to what he sees on television. there are increasing indications his outrage will be expressed in some kind of military response. donald trump was speaking about syria on his way to florida to hold his first face to face talks with president xi jinping of china, his most important meeting with a foreign leader since entering the white house. the two men will discuss the highly contentious issues of trade and the growing threat from north korea. they're meeting at mr trump's resort
in palm beach in florida, and in a moment we'll get the view our china editor, carrie gracie, on the meeting, but first, here's our north america editor, jon sopel. president trump and the first lady arrived in florida a short time ago for what promises to be one of the most consequential meetings of his presidency. shortly before, xi jinping arrived in palm beach. two of the world's biggest superpowers with slightly different visions. we are getting ripped by china. we cannot continue to allow china to rate our country. -- rape. the port of miami, you can see what the president is talking about. far more goods are coming in from china that is going the other way. a massive
imbalance. the president has decided to bring in tariffs that could start a trade war. the mayor of miami says that should be avoided. the president wants more exports and imports. we should not get in a trading was so be it would not be good either of. the picture is more complex. iphones. an american company that chooses to manufacture in china. within america, there is more and more chinese investment, like this windscreen facility in ohio, creating tens of thousands of jobs. this is the number one foreign policy concern of the trump administration. there is frustration that china has not done more, and donald trump has threatened to go it alone. a bad idea says this north korea expert. we would do better if
we did this in conjunction with china and the republic of korea that if we tried to do it separately. these are vietnamese protesters unhappy about chinese expansionism in the south china sea. that may be talked about, but it is not central to concerns today, where the focus is on trade and north korea. jon sopel is on trade and north korea. jon sopel, bbc news, palm beach, florida. president xijinping likes to play the strong man. every appearance choreographed, every meeting scripted. he does not do risky blind dates. but in florida he hopes to seize the day and shake president trump's china policy so that it suits them. last time president xijinping that it suits them. last time president xi jinping visited the us, he made the point that companies
like boeing earn good money in china. but with economic growth slowing at home he cannot afford a trade war with his biggest market. and he will have to offer help for us exports and jobs. he can promise enormous investments in the deprived areas of the united states. and in a sense allow president trump to claim that he is bringing jobs back from china to the united states. 9096 of north korea's trade goes through china, which does give president xi jinping leverage. he has already stopped the coal barges of pyongyang. and he has done a lot to discourage the nuclear programme of north korea. he does not trust him, but he trusts the us even less. china believes the us is using north
korea to deploy strategic military assets close to china and is using them to move in on their territory. they will try to build rapport. but if president xijinping can they will try to build rapport. but if president xi jinping can stop a trade war and tempered the tweets on north korea from donald trump, he will call this florida summit a triumph. carrie gracie, bbc news. the authorities in russia now say eight people have been detained on suspicion of involvement in the saint petersburg metro bombing. 13 people were killed and dozens wounded in the terror attack. six people have been arrested in st petersburg itself and two people in moscow. memorial gatherings have been held in st petersburg and moscow today. the labour leader, jeremy corbyn, has said that if the party wins the next election, it'll provide free school meals for every primary school pupil in england, and it will pay for them by charging vat on private school fees. jeremy corbyn says it
will improve the health and performance of young children. currently, children in england are eligible for free school meals in theirfirst three years of primary school. but critics say labour's sums don't add up. the highest court in england has ruled that any parent who takes their child out of school during term—time could be fined or even face prosecution. a man from the isle of wight had argued he could take his daughter out of classes because she attended school regularly. jon platt had originally refused to pay a fine after taking his daughter for an unauthorised holiday. the supreme court in overruling a high court judgement said parents need to act within school rules. here's our education editor, bra nwen jeffreys. jon platt took his case to the highest court and lost, but today, defiant, he said for him this was about his rights as a parent. the issue is no longer, if ever it was, about term—time
holidays, it's about the state taking the rights of parents away when it comes to making decisions about their children. later, jon told me he has no regrets. his daughter had attendance of more than 90%. he won't plead guilty when it goes back to the magistrates and could face a fine of up to £1000. not every day missed at school has a negative impact, because if it did, we wouldn't have schools taking children to a museums or a library. what do you say to people who argue it's the areas where children are missing lots of school and results are really poor that really need these clear rules? so if they are missing school all the time and they are persistently absent, prosecute them. so where does this leave england's schools? it means they get to decide the rules on attendance. something head teachers have welcomed. we've always stood our line at this school anyway, because we said to parents,
when you chose to send your child to this school you signed our home—school agreement that said i'll send them everyday regardless, but it will make our life a lot easierfrom here on. it's notjust us saying it, we've got the full force of law behind us. families at exmouth today, at the start of their easter break. many annoyed by the higher holiday prices, but sympathy too for thejudges' view that if too many children miss school, it's disruptive. if everyone took their children out of school because of cheaper holidays, then school wouldn't be the same. i think school is important. i'm a teacher myself. i think children need to be in there. but occasionally i can see why parents do take their children out of school, because the holiday companiesjust ramp up the prices during the school holidays, which is a bit unfair really. i think they should be taken out of school, because they always did in our day and it never did us any harm. a week or two, they don't miss that much and they learn so much when they're on holiday.
elisha works in a cafe at this seaside town. she says it's hard for parents who have seasonal work. we are busiest in the half—terms and the summer holidays, so it's hard to get time off work, and it's easier when we're not in season. parents have a legal duty across the uk to get their children to school regularly, but the chances of a fine depend on where you live. wales, the exception, where families can ask for up to ten days extra holiday. no consolation in england, where schools may now be stricter. branwen jeffreys, bbc news. let's take a look at some of the day's other top stories. the financial times says the world's biggest sovereign wealth fund is pushing to reform the pay of big company bosses. the metro leads with
a warning that gp practices are closing at a record rate. the telegraph features the same story. it claims the surgery shortage is down to gps retiring early ahead of a pension clampdown. the i focuses on the row over children taking time off during the school term. the daily mail says travel companies must now lower their fares to help families. the express says there will be an armed police presence at the grand national, for the first time in over 100 years. the daily mirror claims the serial killer peter sutcliffe may have murdered eight more women that previously thought. the times says that first time home buyers are being priced out by large numbers of foreign investors. that is a summary of the news. newsday will come up at midnight. now it is time for newsnight. tonight: two huge tests for donald trump on the world stage. the chinese president has just arrived in florida for 2h hours