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tv   BBC News  BBC News  April 8, 2017 2:00am-2:31am BST

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a very warm welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to our viewers in north america and around the world. my name is tom donkin, and here are our top stories: after its missile strike on a syrian airbase, washington warns it will no longer allow president assad to use chemical weapons without consequences. the united states took a very measured step last night. we are prepared to do more. russia says the strikes could have very serious consequences in the region, and the un calls for restraint. but america's allies offer their support. four people are killed and 15 injured in what the swedish prime minister is calling a terrorist attack, after a lorry ploughs into shoppers in the capital, stockholm. i could actually see bodies lying on the street, and i could see the
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police covering the body with an orange blanket. the united states has warned that it may not stop at a missile strike, in ensuring no chemical weapons are used in syria. president trump authorised the cruise missile attack on a syrian air base, from which he believes president bashar al—assad's forces launched a chemical weapons attack. russia and syria have both condemned the action. but, addressing an emergency meeting of the un security council, the american ambassador, nikki haley, said stopping the use and spread of chemical weapons was a vital national security interest. our military destroyed the airfield from which this week's chemical strike took place. we were fullyjustified in doing so. the moral stain of the assad regime could no longer go unanswered.
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his crimes against humanity could no longer be met with empty words. it was time to say "enough", but not only say it, it was time to act. bashar al—assad must never use chemical weapons again, ever. the syrian government condemned thursday night's attack as reckless and irresponsible, but less than 2a hours after the strikes, syrian warplanes are reportedly once again taking off from the airbase. our north america editor jon sopel reports. it was after dark on the east coast of america, and before the sun had risen in the middle east, when the commander—in—chief gave the order to strike. from two us warships in the eastern mediterranean, a volley of cruise missiles was fired, targeting a single military airbase outside homs, that had been used, say the americans, by the syrian
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air force to launch the deadly chemical weapons attack on idlib earlier in the week. it is in this vital national security interest of the united states to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. there can be no dispute that syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the chemical weapons convention, and ignored the urging of the un security council. the grotesque after—effects of the attack. the us believe the nerve agent sarin was used, horrified the world, and more importantly, horrified this president. a line had been crossed, and unlike his predecessor, he was going to act.
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assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women, and children. it was a slow and brutal death for so many. even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered, in this very barbaric attack. no child of god should ever suffer such horror. what is truly astonishing, dizzying even, is the speed with which this administration has changed its policy towards syria and decided to act. at the beginning of the week, president trump saw bashar al—assad as a useful ally in the fight against so—called islamic state. there was no talk of regime change. but the chemical weapons attack changed everything, and within two days, targets had been identified and struck. here is what we know about the attack. 59 tomahawk cruise missiles were launched from the two destroyers in the eastern med. the shayrat airbase is some 20 miles from homs,
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deep in syrian government—held territory. targets included aircraft, their shelters, fuel depots, air defences, and radar sites. but, because russian forces are also deployed at the base, russia was informed of the attack in advance. the aftermath shows damage and debris at the base, but hardly devastation. the pentagon says it didn't particularly target the runways, as they can be quickly repaired. the aim was to destroy the infrastructure that allows the base to function, and the attack has brought the president strong support. mr president was authorised to conduct this strike. he's not asking for a declaration of war. he's not committing ground troops over an extended period of time. he was dealing with exigent circumstances. and, as the commander—in—chief, not only does he have the right, he has an obligation to act. and hillary clinton has also backed the president's action, but with this qualification. we cannot in one breath speak of protecting syrian babies and in the next, close
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america's doors to them. the president and his team at the makeshift situation room at mar—a—lago, as they await news of the strike. donald trump, who didn't want to get embroiled in foreign conflicts, hasjust ordered us forces into action. and, as he ended his address to the nation last night, he no longer sounded like the "america first" isolationist. goodnight, and god bless america, and the entire world. thank you. the president, not yet 100 days in, has travelled a long way in a short time. jon sopel, bbc news, palm beach, florida. as we heard earlier, russia was quick to respond to the us strikes, saying they violated international law. moscow said president trump's actions encouraged terrorists in the region, including so—called islamic state. our moscow correspondent steve rosenberg has this assessment of russia's response. until recently, the russian media had been singing
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donald trump's praises. but no longer. today, state tv accused him of an unprovoked show of force with the missile strike he had ordered on a syrian air base. less than half of the missiles fired, moscow claimed, hit their target. still, russia condemned the attack as a gross, groundless violation of the international rulebook. it's definitely an aggressive act, against international law, against a sovereign country, and without any true evidence of the assad regime being guilty of using chemical weapons. it is russian military power that has been keeping president assad in power. russia's air force and navy helping syria's leader turn the tide of the country's civil war, and boosting moscow's role in the middle east. today, the kremlin accused washington of using a pretext
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for missile strikes. those american tomahawks may have been targeting the syrian military, butjudging what the kremlin has been saying, its us—russia relations that will take a real battering now, as a result of the missile strike. the russians had been hoping that, with donald trump in the white house, relations with america would improve. but so far, there has been no sign of that. later, the two countries clashed at the un security council. it could be that russia is knowingly allowing chemical weapons to remain in syria. it could be that russia has been incompetent in its efforts to remove the chemical weapons. or it could be that the assad regime is playing the russians for fools. "i would ask america not to insult my country," said russia's deputy ambassador. today, moscow suspended a deal designed to prevent incidents between us and russian
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warplanes over syria. which means that we have two big, military powers in the area, operating without any... ..any contacts and any co—ordination, which is very dangerous. russia is hoping that this us strike was a one—off. but tonight, it is strengthening air defences across syria, just in case. steve rosenberg, bbc news, moscow. a lorry has been driven into a crowd of pedestrians in the swedish capital, stockholm, killing four people and injuring 15. sweden's prime minister has called it an act of terrorism. the incident happened in the early afternoon, on a busy pedestrian shopping street, with the lorry eventually crashing into a department store. police arrested a man who they say resembles images they released on cctv after the attack. our correspondent dan johnson reports from stockholm. people running in terror,
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as a truck races towards shoppers in the centre of stockholm. and this is where it ended up, in flames, after crashing into a department store. translation: i saw exactly where the lorry went in, just there. there wasn't much of a reaction, then the police arrived. the police just said, "you have to run". you could actually see bodies lying on the street, and i could see the police covering a body with an orange blanket. and there were lots of police around, lots of people just standing around and filming, taking photos. the truck belongs to a brewery company, who said a man hijacked it earlier, as it was dropping off beer. the bluntest of weapons, used to deliver a sudden and deadly blow, that has hit sweden hard. there was a lady laying with a severed foot, there were blood everywhere, there were bodies on the ground everywhere, and a sense of panic.
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people standing by their loved ones, but also people running away. so many questions. first, who was involved, and why? police quickly released images of a man they wanted to question, and within hours they had made an arrest. translation: earlier, we released a picture of a person of particular interest to the investigation. and a short while ago, we apprehended a person that matches that description. and sweden's prime minister said his country would not give in to terror. thoughts, concerns, and condolences have reached many of us from all around the world. and we are grateful for the many warm expressions of sharing our grief. we are determined never to let the values that we treasure, democracy, human rights, and freedom, to be undermined by hatred.
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after hours under lockdown, at least some normality is returning to the city. the metro has reopened, and people are returning. there is an uneasy feel here tonight. this has really shaken people in this city. the police are visible in number, and there are already extra checks at sweden's borders. already, some are saying this is a wake—up call for the security services. sweden has a proud history as an open society, that embraces all, but it is now the latest corner of europe forced to confront death so sudden, so shocking. danjohnson, bbc news, stockholm. in other news for you this hour: senators in the united states have confirmed neil gorsuch as a supreme courtjudge, following a year—long political battle over the post. the development is being seen as the biggest success so far for president trump, who had nominated gorsuch over democratic opposition. mr gorsuch will be the iisthjustice of the us supreme court. a romanian tourist knocked
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into the river thames during the terror attack at westminster last month has died. 31—year—old andreea cristea had been visiting the city with her boyfriend. her death brings the number of people killed by the attacker, khalid masood, to five. a man who avoided being sent to jail by claiming he would lose the chance to become a professional cricketer has been jailed. mustafa bashir attacked his partner with a cricket bat, and tried to force her to drink bleach. the club he claimed had offered him a contract said they had never heard of him. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: a lot of hot air. these big balloons are trying to beat the world record for crossing the channel. 55 years of hatred and rage, as theyjump up on the statue. this funeral became a massive
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demonstration of black power, the power to influence. today is about the promise of a bright future, a day when we hope a line can be drawn under the bloody past. i think that picasso's works were beautiful, they were intelligent, and it's a sad loss to everybody who loves art. this is bbc news.
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the latest headlines: the united states has warned that it could take further action against syria over its use of chemical weapons, hours after firing missiles at an airbase. let's stay with that story. vikram singh was a senior adviser to the state department and the pentagon during the obama administration. he's now vice president for national security at the centre for american progress. he joins us via webcam from middleburg in virginia. that's near washington dc. thank you very much forjoining us. some have confirmed, as we have said, or have condemned the strike as reckless and unconstitutional, while others they this is a much needed strong message to the shahzad. what needed strong message to the sha hzad. what is needed strong message to the shahzad. what is your take on it all? -- bashar al-assad. thank you for having me. we need to separate theissue
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for having me. we need to separate the issue of the civil war and the military utility of the strike. will protect civilians, will it deter bashar al—assad from further violence against civilians and use of chemical weapons. from the issue of chemical weapons. from the issue of legality and strategic impact, those are different. there are more questions than answers on both sides. at the get go, i would have to say it is good to try to hold bashar al—assad to account for the use of chemical weapons, it is something that the world needs to come together to stand up against. but i am not sure that this particular action is going to get us where we want to go, especially because it does not seem to be a pa rt because it does not seem to be a part of any new american strategy helping to resolve the conflict in syria. it may be more of a symbolic gesture and outrage at this one incident. by adopting effectively the opposite strategy to president obama, donald trump, he stands to
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gain more political leverage than obama ever could, and, you know, go a long way, or a longer way, to solving the wider diplomatic solution to syria, and that surely has some importance. well, i suspect that if you look at the plans from what president obama was contemplating doing in 2013 and did not do which ultimately resulted in a us—russian deal to remove the vast majority of the chemical weapons in syria, that would look like what president trump is doing now, and it would have a follow on if bashar al—assad was not deterred to take more action against his airfields and the tools he used to destroy a lot of his civilian population in his effort to crush these uprisings. but what worries me more is that this is a sudden about—face with this is a sudden about—face with this administration. killing
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civilians has been rampant in syria and is only getting worse. the dynamics with russia supporting bashar al—assad have been extremely disturbing. so, on the one hand it is good that there is some decisive action being taken. on the other hand,it action being taken. on the other hand, it does nothing to tip the military balance. that is one of the things that the obama team were worried about. what if you do something symbolic but it only draws you further in. it would be reckless if it did not have the desired effect. the state department experience you have, president putin call this a blow to us— russia relations, yet rex tillerson, the secretary of state, is still going to moscow next week on his first trip as a battery of state. this could be a crucial meeting. what is your take on what will happen when he arrives in moscow? well, it is certainly more important to have
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this meeting now than it was a week ago. a few weeks ago we were worried that rex tillerson was going to be rushing off to moscow before even visiting his nato counterparts. the world could not look more different today than it did just a few weeks ago. the dynamic between washington and moscow is suddenly one of extreme suspicion and hostility, and the question the russians must be asking is what happens to arab guy, donald trump, who is clearly not interested in getting sucked further into the morass in syria. —— our guybe it seems just few days ago he was reassuring the russians and bashar al—assad that the americans we re bashar al—assad that the americans were expecting they would have to live with this messy situation. umm, i think that rex tillerson has a lot on the line in his discussions with moscow. the question is now, assuming there is some new leverage, because the united states has shown it is willing to put missiles on the ground, if not, boots, can he use
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that to encourage the russians to bring their syrian proxies and allies to heal in some way, get them back to the table, demand some kind of return to a viable diplomatic process , of return to a viable diplomatic process, something that ratchets down the wall in syria rather than the opposite. thank you very much for joining the opposite. thank you very much forjoining us. from the centre for american progress, formerly from the american progress, formerly from the american and state department. in a few hours' time, the basque separatist group, eta, is due to hand over its last weapon. it announced that it would fully disarm in a letter obtained by the bbc, after a militant campign that killed more than 800 people since the 1960s. the group actually declared a unilateral ceasefire six years ago, but today's events bring a formal end to the violence. the bbc‘s chief international correspondent, lyse doucet, reports from san sebastian, in spain's basque region. the heart of the basque region, once the heart
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of eta's brutal insurgency. hard to imagine it now in towns like san sebastien. for many basque, impossible to forget, especially for officials who were targets of assassination. translation: the world of violence was like the tide. it came up the beach, little by little, until it took over your whole life, and the lives of everyone around you, and the lives of your family. the basque separatist movement emerged under spain's long franco dictatorship. eta became a byword for car bombs, extortion, shootings, for decades. this man, a local police chief, one of many victims. his wife, rosa, remembers every detail of the day eta shot him. "my son told me, ‘mama, be strong,”' she says.
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doctors tried for five days to save him, but now she wants her country to move on. "any steps towards peace are good," she says. but she accuses eta of making too much of their declaration. eta calls it disarmament day. their statement obtained by the bbc says all its weapons will be handed over to civil society representatives. this prominent basque politician played a key role in persuading eta to give up its guns. arnaldo ortegi once headed eta's political wing. translation: the ceasefire was a few years ago, so disarming was the obvious next step. but look at what is happening in the world, as well. the strategies of the 20th century are over.
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when you look back, do you regret those decades of violence? translation: it's a difficult question. i believe the armed conflict should have ended earlier. our society wanted us to take this step earlier. we should've listened. in some ways, eta's move is largely symbolic. it doesn't have many weapons left, and there haven't been any attacks here in the basque region of spain for many years. but this is an historic turning point. it draws a line under what had been decades of violence. and brings an end to the last insurgency in the heart of europe. but, for many basques, there's still the issue of eta prisoners. in villages across this region, they're regarded as heroes. hundreds languishe in spanish and french jails, far from theirfamilies. but eta won't get anything in return fordisarming. the spanish government won't negotiate with people it calls terrorists. an old conflict goes on, fought now with words,
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not with weapons. lyse doucet, bbc news, san sebastian. here in the uk, friday's skies above dover were something to behold when over 80 hot air balloons took off for a morning flight, hoping to break the world record for crossing the channel. so, did they manage it? our reporter, fiona lamdin, was on board one of the balloons. they gathered at first light in a field in kent. and as the sun rose, with almost military precision, at exactly 7am, the mass ascent began. 82 pilots from across europe, here to set a new record. the pack drifted over dover's castle and cliffs. england was soon behind them as they headed 26 miles over the channel to mainland europe. it's just fantastic being up with so many other balloons. it's a once—in—a—lifetime
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opportunity. well, the cameraman is in a balloon somewhere out there so i am filming there myself. we are right in the middle of the flight. can't see france, can't see england, all i know is i'm above the world's busiest shipping lanes. and after three hours drifting above the sea, they arrived in france, south of calais, to the warmest of welcomes. after three hours, 21 minutes, and 20 seconds, it was down—to—earth with the most gentlest of bumps. bend your knees, bend your knees... when we began to see a little point in the sky, and so we, with the car, we tried to follow the course of the balloons, and we are happy to see you! the pilots are confident they've broken the previous record of 49 balloons, but are waiting for confirmation that they hold the new title. fiona lamdin, bbc news. what a way to cross the channel.
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stay with us. we will be back soon. hello there, good morning. as april weekends go, i think we are in for a bit of a treat this weekend, because there is some strong sunshine to be had for large swathes of the uk on both days. and we are going to see those temperatures creeping up day by day, 23, 2a degrees by sunday afternoon for some of us. however, across england and wales through the day today, we do have some quite high levels of pollen. it is birch pollen at this time of the year. now, to end the week, we saw a good deal of sunshine for much of the uk. always a bit more cloud in the north and west of the uk, but the odd spot of rain. but, with the clear skies for most, it is turning quite chilly once again. overnight, major towns and cities into single figures. but it is in more rural spots where we are getting down to the bottom end of single figures. two, three degrees for some, so quite a chilly start to saturday with a few patches of mist and fog. mist and fog will not last too long, nor will the chilly feel to things.
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once the sun is up, those temperatures will be rising quite quickly. it looks like it could be sunny for large swathes of the uk. it is just the far north—west where we could see a few spots of cloud and some rain. 1a or 15 for glasgow and belfast, but into the low 20s in the london area. in between, in aintree, around about 17 or 18 degrees. the sky, light winds, very pleasant indeed. should be a fantastic day out. and if you are off to the premier league matches, no problem with the weather, at 16 or 17 degrees the top in man city, a little bit of pressure in bournemouth, but still a lot of sunshine. and on the other side of the atlantic, the winds are easing down for golfers in augusta, and temperatures on the rise for the second half of the weekend, so it looks pretty good here. and temperatures are on the rise for the second part of our weekend as well. warmth coming up from spain and france will raise those temperatures, especially across more central and eastern parts of england. it will be a fresh start to the day on sunday. a few patches of mist and fog, but a decent day for most places, lots of sunshine.
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more cloud in the north and west bringing more rain into western scotland, maybe into northern ireland. thickening cloud on the western side of england and wales, but here, that is where we are going to see the sunshine and the highest temperatures. and it is that fresher air which will eventually win out, late sunday on into monday, the weather fronts out there head south. not much rain on it, but it will be introducing this cool, fresh air. so by monday it is going to be a rather different day. we just have a quick reminder of those temperatures on sunday, because they will be doing quite well. but by monday, a sharp drop in those temperatures. those temperatures will be coming back down by a good eight or nine degrees, so a fresher feel to things on monday, and a different sort of look at things as well. there will be a lot more cloud in the sky, there will be a few showers around, and of course, it will feel that bit cooler. the headlines on bbc news: the united states has refused to rule out further military action against syria. it comes after it fired missiles at an airbase, from which it believes president assad's forces launched a chemical weapons attack. but, despite the strikes,
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syrian warplanes are reportedly once again taking off from the airbase. four people have died and 15 people were injured, nine of them seriously, after a lorry has been driven into a crowd of pedestrians in the swedish capital, stockholm. the prime minister called it an act of terrorism. police arrested a man who they say resembles cctv images they released. the basque separatist group eta has announced that it has given up all its weapons. the group said that, by saturday, they will have handed over details of any remaining arms to french authorities. eta is believed responsible for over 800 deaths since the 1960s, and declared a unilateral ceasefire in 2011. now it is time for hardtalk.
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