a very warm welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to our viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: the us military drops the mother of all bombs, seen here in tests, on so—called islamic state hideouts in afghanistan. a show of force in north korea, amid fears that pyongyang is about to carry out its sixth nuclear test. president assad says claims that his forces launched a chemical attack on a rebel town are completely fabricated to justify america's missile strike on his country. the west, mainly the united states, is hand in glove with the terrorists. they fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack. forget life on mars. nasa says one of saturn's moons may now be the single best place to look for existence beyond earth. its official name is the gbu—as/b
massive ordnance air blast, but most people in the pentagon call it the mother of all bombs, america's largest non—nuclear weapon, and today it was dropped on a tunnel network held by islamic state in afghanistan. no—one knows how many militants were killed in the attack on nangarhar province, in the country's far east. our north america editor jon sopel has more. here is what the white house press secretary had to say about it earlier today. this is the gbu—as, also known as a moab, a massive ordnance air blast, or as it is more commonly known, the mother of all bombs. and today, for the first time ever, it was used in combat, the largest non—nuclear weapon ever deployed. the target — so—called islamic state in afghanistan. we targeted a system of tunnels and caves that isis fighters used
to move around freely, making it easier for them to target us military advisers and afghan forces in the area. the united states takes the fight against isis very seriously, and in order to defeat the group, we must deny them operational space, which we did. it is turning out to be a busy time for the commander—in—chief. we are so proud of our military, and it was another successful event. and no—one can say it is not what he promised during the campaign. i know more about isis than the generals do, believe me. i would bomb the (bleep) out of them. the tunnels and caves that were used by the taliban over 15 years ago are now being used by is. this bomb was dropped on a complex tunnel network in nangarhar province, close to the pakistan border, where a member of us special forces was killed last month. this shows the seriousness with which this administration takes the issue of isis moving
from the middle east to afghanistan. it is notjust the dropping of a massive bomb on afghanistan. injust over a week, president trump has ordered the missile strike on syria, a naval battle group to head to the korean peninsula, and he has restated his commitment to nato. some of donald trump's supporters are asking, whatever happened to the isolationist, america—first president of the inauguration? marcus weisgerber is global business editor for the online publication defence one, which covers us defence and national security. thank you very much for your time. i think the test footage we were seeing was used as a kind of scare tactic, wasn't it, for saddam hussein before the iraq invasion. would you say there was a military necessity for it to be used now, this bomb to be used now in
afghanistan, or is it sending a message to, say, north korea? well, as you say, yes, in 2003 that footage that was released was said to be the reason why saddam's forces laid down their weapons. right now, yes, this strike isjust laid down their weapons. right now, yes, this strike is just one laid down their weapons. right now, yes, this strike isjust one in laid down their weapons. right now, yes, this strike is just one in a series that have been ordered since donald trump became president that show he is not afraid to use military force. the strike in syria just a week or so ago, with the tomahawk missiles, we have a carrier strike group now which is off the coast of korea, and now we have the most devastating and powerful bomb in the us military inventory being used here today against isis in afghanistan. just tell us more about bomb. people have said it is something like an earthquake, even 15 miles away. can you see it being used, say, against north korea? well, this type of bomb is used to inflict devastation, and like i said
earlier, about iraq, it was used as a deterrent. this is something that is probably likely being used right now, and one of the reasons it was used was actually for north korea. now, north korea has underground sites, like iran, iran has been known to use... to be working on its weapons programme. and this type of weapons programme. and this type of weapon and another weapon, it is larger in size, the warhead is a little smaller, it is called the massive ordnance penetrator, that is the type of weapon you would want to use against underground sites, because it can burrow through concrete and hard rock and then explode once it gets to the facility down below. marcus, american defence is your speciality. there seems to bea is your speciality. there seems to be a sense in the us military that under president 0bama, he was kind of micromanaging, that president trump has given a much more freedom to use their initiative. and i guess it is almost human nature, isn't it? if you have some bigger size, this powerful, you are going to want to
use it. yes, and like you said, the commanders have been given more authority. that is something president trump did a few weeks ago. as so there is a three star air force general, in cutter, who reports to the three star general in afghanistan and a 4—star general who oversees all of the middle east, and he would be the one to suggest using this. and as president trump said today, he was not in on making this decision could. if president trump was involved, it would be likely a special operation, say, like when the us went after some of the blood and, behind enemy lines, president 0bama very much involved, or the use of nuclear weapons, the president is a lwa ys of nuclear weapons, the president is always involved in something like that. thank you very much. thank you for having me. speculation has been growing that north korea may be ready to carry out its sixth nuclear test as soon as this weekend. if so, it would coincide with the anniversary of the birth of the nation's founder, kim il—sung. but, as the world watches for that, pyongyang has been putting its best foot forward for journalists.
0ur correspondent john sudworth is there. his movements are being tightly monitored and controlled. they poured into central pyongyang in their tens of thousands. of citizens and soldiers alike, north korea has always demanded displays of mass devotion. and, at the front of the crowd, there was kim jong—un, celebrating not a missile launch or a rocket test, but the construction of pyongyang's newest street. the inauguration of a few tower blocks and shops would, anywhere else, raise barely a murmur. in pyongyang, it is met with rapturous applause. it might seem like an extraordinary celebration to mark the opening
of a street, but it is about so much more than that. it is about economic survival, resilience, and sending a message to the outside world of total loyalty to the leader. the country's prime minister, pak pong—ju, told the crowd that the opening of the new street sends a more powerful signal to the world than any number of nuclear bombs. but in reality, for north korea, bombs are vital. with reports that another nuclear test may be imminent, we are taken on a tour of a school. the dear marshall, kim jong—un, clothes and feeds us, this nine—year—old girl tells me. and, from an early age, she is told that it is bombs and missiles that guarantee
his regime's survival. for a poor and isolated country like north korea, this reasoning has some logic. might it have gone the way of iraq or libya, its leaders ask, if it didn't have its nuclear programme? so foreign journalists are brought here to be shown a friendly face, and there are many of them, but also the willingness to endure. sanctions don't bother us at all, this man tells me. united around our leader, nothing can harm us. the message is clear. north korea is marching towards its nuclear future, and no amount of threat or coercion from a us president will get in its way. in other news: there have been more
clashes between police and demonstrators during anti—government protests in venezuela. police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters in the capital, caracas. the riots followed the death of a fifth person in protests sparked by the decision to bar the opposition leader, henrique capriles. the libyan coastguard says more than 90 migrants, including women and children, are feared drowned after their boat sank off the coast of libya. 23 people have been rescued. it is believed that the inflatable boat set off with about 120 passengers, most from sub—saharan africa. german police say that the man being questioned in connection with the bomb attack targeting a football coach on tuesday was a commander for so—called islamic state in iraq. the 26—year—old is known only as abdul beset a. two people were injured after three explosions hit the borussia dortmund team bus ahead of their game against monaco. the lawyer for the passenger forcibly dragged off
a united airlines plane earlier this week says he is likely to sue the us carrier. david dao was carried away by security guards, screaming, when there were no volunteers to leave the overbooked flight. he is said to have had significant concussion, a broken nose, and lost two front teeth in the scuffle. sarah corker reports. screaming it this footage of doctor david dao being dragged off a united airlines flight, bloodied and injured, that will be the centre of any legal case. oh, my god! look at what you did to him! the 69—year—old's lawyer says chicago aviation police used unreasonable force and violence to remove him from the kentucky bound plane. at a press conference in chicago, his daughter said it has been a difficult time for the family. what happened to my dad should have never happened to any human being, regardless of the circumstance. we were horrified, and shocked
and sickened, to learn what happened to him, and to see what had happened to him. another video shows david dao dazed and confused, having somehow run back onto the plane. the doctor was forcibly removed from the overbooked flight on sunday to make room forfour crewmembers. the incident sparked outrage across the globe. dr dao was discharged from hospital on wednesday. he lost two teeth, and will need reconstructive surgery on a broken nose. he said that he left vietnam in 1975, when saigon fell. and he was on a boat, and he said he was terrified. he said that being dragged down the aisle was more horrifying and harrowing than what he experienced in leaving vietnam.
it has turned into a pr disaster for united. initially, its ceo described the passenger as disruptive and belligerent. it was only days later that he offered a full apology. this image of a bloodied, paying customer may prove difficult for united to live down. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: the clean—up after the storm. new zealanders assess the damage caused by cyclone cook. pol pot, one of the century's greatest mass murderers is reported to have died of natural causes. he and the khmer rouge movement he led were responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million cambodians. there have been violent protests in indonesia where playboy has gone on sale for the first time.
traditionalist muslim leaders have expressed disgust. the magazine's offices have been attacked and its editorial staff have gone into hiding. it was clear that paula's only contest was with the clock and as for a sporting legacy, paula radcliffe's competitors will be chasing her new world best time for years to come. quite quietly but quicker and quicker, she seemed just to slide away under the surface and disappear. $z/startfeeed. this is bbc news. the latest headlines: the us military has dropped the world's largest non—nuclear bomb on so—called islamic state hideouts in afghanistan, the first time it's been used in combat. speculation is mounting that pyongyang may be preparing its sixth
nuclear test to coincide with the country's most important national holiday. the syrian president bashar al—assad has denied reports that his forces carried out a chemical weapons attack earlier this month, calling them "100% fabrication". the attack killed a large number of civilians and prompted a us air strike on a government airbase in return. 0ur middle east editor jeremy bowen has this report. it contains distressing images. the attack on khan sheikhoun produced terrible images of children poisoned by nerve gas, and rescue workers struggling to help, hosing victims down to try to wash it away. president trump said he was so shocked by what he saw that he went from being prepared to deal with the assad regime to calling the syrian president a butcher. bashar al—assad denies every accusation against him. there was no order to make any attack.
we don't have any chemical weapons. we gave up our arsenal three years ago. even if we had them, we wouldn't use them, and we have never used our chemical arsenal in our history. there is credible evidence, samples, not just pictures, that chemical weapons were used in khan sheikhoun, according to the organisation that supervises the international ban on them. but these scenes, president assad insisted, could have been staged, to discredit his government. we don't know whether those dead, the children, where they killed in khan sheikhoun? were they dead at all? who committed the attack, if there was an attack? what material — you have no information at all, nothing at all, not investigated. the fakery, he said, included the white helmets rescue teams, al-qaeda men disguised as heroes. we have the proof those videos were fake, like
the white helments, for example. they are al-qaeda, they are al—nusra front, who shaved their beard, wore white hats, and appeared as humanitarian heroes, which is not the case. the same people were killing syrian soldiers, and you have the proof on the internet anyway. the american cruise missile attack a week ago has changed a great deal for the regime. for the first time, it has been hit by the us. america's next moves are not clear, but the rhetoric has switched to regime change in syria. the american attack, president assad said, played into the hands of al-qaeda. 0ur impression that the west, mainly the united states, is hand in glove with the terrorists. they fabricated the whole story in order to have a pretext for the attack. britain's prime minister was inspecting newly commissioned officers at sandhurst, and keeping up the pressure.
british scientists have analysed material from the site of the attack. they're very clear that sarin, or a sarin—like substance, was used. and, as our ambassador to the united nations made clear yesterday, like the united states, we believe it's highly likely that that attack was carried out by the assad regime. president assad insists he has nothing to gain by attacking syrian civilians. he will be relieved if all he faces in the next few months are more words of condemnation. large parts of new zealand have been hit by the worst storms in nearly 50 years. the remains of cyclone cook have left more than eight thousand homes without power and dozens of properties flooded. heavy rain and strong winds lashed bay of plenty and hawke's bay in the north island, causing landslips and widespread flooding. the storm's expected to affect parts of the lower south island later on friday. elodie berthe from the red cross is on the line from the township of whakatane, one of the worst hit
areas in the country. how bad is it that? i just arrived this morning. —— there? we were driving this morning to whakatane and we could see on our way that the cyclone and we could see on our way that the cyclo ne ha d and we could see on our way that the cyclone had come through. we could see landslips, flooding and a lot of trees uprooted. yes, it could definitely see the damage on the way here. when i got here i went to the welfare centre where about 100 —— 160 will state last night and we had a team looking after them. has it been as bad as expected? i have
family and relatives in new zealand. some people say the only people who had seen this kind of thing before we re had seen this kind of thing before were their elderly relatives or neighbours. can you repeat that? i was saying i have family and friends in new zealand and several people we re in new zealand and several people were saying that the only people who have seen this kind of thing before we re have seen this kind of thing before were elderly neighbours and elderly relatives and it really was the worst in some generations. we were expecting the worst. the whole country was getting prepared for the worst. a lot of messages went out to people, to be prepared and have emergency kits ready. but i think we did avoid the worst and it wasn't as bad as expect that. there were some areas, a few areas, that were badly hit. but as a whole i don't think it
was as bad as we were expecting. thank you very much for sparing the time to talk to us. in other news: at least 2a people have been killed and nine injured in a crash in mexico. a bus carrying tourists collided with a petrol tanker sparking an explosion on a highway in guerrero state. some of the passengers on the bus managed to flee the scene before the tanker caught fire. the injured were airlifted to hospital. police in pakistan say a university student has been murdered on campus by a group of fellow students who accused him of blasphemy. they reportedly said he posted material online that was offensive to muslims. the russian broadcaster, channel 0ne, says it will not broadcast the eurovision song contest next month because the country's contestant julia samoilova has been barred from the host country, ukraine. the decision means that russia will no longer be able to take part in the competition. it's 750 million miles from earth, but the american space agency nasa says one of saturn's moons, known as enseladus,
may now be the single best place to look for life beyond earth. samples of the waters erupting from the moon's surface suggest it has all the conditions needed for life. the discovery was made by the cassini spacecraft which is coming to the end of a 13—year mission to saturn. 0ur science editor david shukman reports. for over a decade, cassini has shared the wonders of saturn, and its family of icy moons. a nasa video promoting a mission that keeps making astonishing discoveries about saturn. a spacecraft called cassini has focused on one of saturn's moons, enceladus. beneath its icy surface is a deep ocean. and greatjets of water, blasting out of it, contain ingredients needed for life. in fact, nasa scientists now say that on the floor of the ocean there may be hydrothermal vents, like these, on earth, making hydrogen that can feed microbes. so, conceivably, there could be life on enceladus. this is a very significant finding, because the hydrogen could be
a potential source of chemical energy for any microbes that might be in enceladus's ocean. so this is a very exciting finding for the cassini team. saturn, with its rings, is perhaps the most striking of the planets, and this mission by nasa and the european space agency has been incredibly revealing. the spacecraft itself, cassini, is one of the largest ever sent into deep space. it stands nearly seven meters tall, and it has been on an epicjourney. it left earth back in 1997, flying out beyond mars, weaving past jupiter, before arriving at saturn in 2004, and it has been studying the planet ever since. but now comes the most spectacular stage of all, as the spacecraft orbits inside the famous rings. we now know they are made of pieces of ice and rock, ranging from tiny specs to lumps the size of houses, and flying this close will give us unprecedented views of the rings, and of saturn itself. this journey of discovery will get closer to the rings than ever
before. but the instruments were built back in the early 1990s, and the scientists aren't sure they will work. the reason that i'm a bit nervous is that it was — the final orbits were designed with my instruments in mind, and with the gravity instrument in mind. and so, there's a lot of pressure on us to produce really good science. and the instruments are getting old, just like we are. so i'm very excited about it, but i'm rather unsettled by it as well. cassini will skim the clouds of saturn for the next few months, before burning up. the idea is to make sure the spacecraft does not crash on to any of saturn's moons, and contaminate them, especially the icy world of enceladus.
we have no idea if anything is actually alive on it. that won't be known until a future mission, maybe decades away. but with tonight's new findings, this becomes one of the likeliest places in the solar system to find life beyond earth. david shukman, bbc news. legend has it that if you threw a coin backwards into this fountain in rome you will return to the eternal city one day. it seems a lot of us have been buying into that story across the world —famous have been buying into that story across the world—famous site has collected nearly $1.5 million last year. that change has helped to subsidise the supermarket for the most needy people in rome. the fountain is covered by mythical figures and is often appearing in fiction. much more on all the news any time on the bbc website. thank you for watching. hello.
we have made it to the long easter weekend. this forecast should set you up for most of what you need to know about the weather as the weekend goes on. none of the warmth we had last weekend — it is on the cool side. there will be some occasional sunshine. some areas of rain at times, especially for good friday and easter day on sunday. now, this is how good friday begins, already with some damp weather affecting northern ireland, south—west scotland, north—west england and northwest wales. cooler and showery weather into northern scotland. those showers will continue as the day goes on. some of us starting with a touch of frost. cloudy and damp weather, as i mentioned, northern ireland, south—west scotland, north—west england and the north—west of wales. maybe the odd spot extending into the midlands and elsewhere in northern england to begin the day. to the south of that,
though, variable cloud. but some breaks in that cloud allowing sunny spells to come through occasionally. and actually for southern parts of the uk the temperatures will be a degree or so higher compared to where they were on thursday. so we continue with the feed of showers running into northern scotland on good friday. some of those could be heavy, perhaps with hail as well. they take outbreaks of rain and they beef them up in the north—west england and into wales. and going through the evening, heavier in western parts of wales as the weather system sinks it way southwards. six degrees in london compared to nine in stornaway, increasingly cooler air. into the evening we have increasingly light rain across some southern parts of the uk. that's not as much as gardeners would want. it's been so dry. cooler air following behind. showers turning wintry over the hills in scotland. frost around for some of us as saturday begins. it will be a chilly start. looks like saturday is the coolest day of the weekend. and this run of north—westerly winds in the uk. but there will be some sunny spells. s0, yes, a cooler day, but there'll be some blue sky around. but there will also be showers occasionally too. by no means everybody will see them.
they ought to be most frequent in northern scotland. some will be heavy, with hail, maybe even with the rumble of thunder and initially at the start of the day wintry on the hills. those temperatures, yeah, down compared with good friday. 1a in london, nine in glasgow. and then jumping forward to sunday, easter day, it looks like we'll have a weather system producing some outbreaks of rain. at the moment we think from northern ireland, northern england, parts of wales, dividing cooler air to the north, not so chilly to the south. that system may not be in place, so we will keep you updated on that. for easter monday some showers in the east. it will be quite breezy, lighter winds elsewhere. enjoy your weekend. the headlines on bbc news: the us military has dropped the world's largest non—nuclear bomb, in a remote area of eastern afghanistan, the first time it has been used in combat. the pentagon says it was trying to destroy a network of caves and tunnels used by the extremist group that calls itself islamic state. president trump described the drop as very successful. speculation is growing that north korea may be ready to carry out its sixth nuclear test
as soon as this weekend. if so, it would coincide with the anniversary of the birth of the nation's founder kim il—sung, the country's most important national holiday, also known as the day of the sun. syria's president, bashar al—assad, has dismissed reports that his forces carried out a chemical weapons strike as a 100% fabrication. president assad said that western nations had invented the claims so they had an excuse to bomb a government airbase. now on bbc news, hardtalk.