tv BBC News at One BBC News May 19, 2017 1:00pm-1:31pm BST
the founder of wikilea ks, julian assange, won't face rape charges in sweden, after prosecutors drop their seven—year investigation. he's been a fugitive, holed up at the ecuadorian embassy in london since 2012, avoiding extradition. he's always denied the allegations. we'll be live at the ecuadorean embassy. also this lunchtime: labour says conservative plans to means test winter fuel payments, are an "an attack on vulnerable pensioners". russia condemns an american air strike on a pro—government convoy in syria. one of britain's airports is moving its air traffic control tower — 80 miles away from the actual runway. and a white wine from norfolk beats global competition to be crowned the best. and coming up in sport later in the hour on bbc news: we'll have the latest on arsene wenger‘s arsenal future —
it could hinge on a board meeting after the fa cup final. good afternoon and welcome to the bbc news at one. prosecutors in sweden have dropped their seven—year long investigation, into allegations of rape against the founder of the wikileaks website, julian assange. he's been a fugitive, living at the ecuadorian embassy in london since 2012, avoiding extradition. mr assange has always denied the allegations, saying they're politically motivated. let's go live to richard lister, who's outside the embassy for us this afternoon. clive, it is four years and 11 months to the david julian assange
took refuge at the ecuadorian embassy. he has remained behind those net curtains ever since. he never left. at today, as the news came out from sweden, he tweeted a smiling photograph of himself. that is the only comment he has made an today's developments. as caroline hawley reports, he remains a wanted man. victory as howard julian assange‘s lawyer described today's news. the wikileaks founder tweeted this photograph of himself in the ecuadorian embassy. swedish prosecutors had just said the case against him was being dropped. translation: today i have decided to revoke the order against mr assange and revoke the european arrest warrant that he should be handed over to the swedish authorities. there announcement was not a statement on whether mr assange was guilty or not, they have just been
unable, in the circumstances to proceed. there are now no further measures remaining to advance the investigation. in order to proceed, julian assange must be formally served notice of the crimes, this was a measure which was to be conducted during an interview in london but mr assange refused to make this possible. it is now almost five years sincejulian assange took refuge in the ecuadorian embassy. it is nearly seven years since he was first accused by two swedish women of sexual assault. this was mr assange last year, again claiming victory. in his hand, a report which criticised the swedish prosecutors for their handling of his case. but the woman who accused him of rape today says she is shocked by the decision but she stands by the allegation. mr assange cannot just walk out of the embassy. the metropolitan police say they are still obliged to arrest him for
failing to surrender to a court in london back in 2012. in a statement they said: now that the situation has changed, and the swedish authorities have discontinued their investigation into that matter, mr assange remains wanted for a much less serious offence. ecuador gave julian assange political asylum because he says he fears being prosecuted in the united states, over the classified documents published by wikilea ks. over the classified documents published by wikileaks. we do not know what the next twists will be in this long—running saga, but it is not over yet. the world's press have descended on this corner of london with the hope of getting an answer to the question, what willjulian assange do now is matt won legal hurdle in front of them has now fallen away but the threat of arrest and possible extradition remains, and it seems unlikely that there is an easy and obvious way out of this building, for now at least. back to you. richard lister reporting.
it's been a week of manifesto launches from the main political parties in the run up to the election, with plenty of focus on the elderly, from pledges on pensions to social care. now, labour claims plans by the conservatives to means test winter fuel payments, are an "an attack on vulnerable pensioners". at the moment, the majority people over 64 are eligible. let's go live to westminster and our political correspondent eleanor garnier. clive, the gives have gone up a little bit in this week's general election campaign with most of the ma nifestos election campaign with most of the manifestos from the political parties published, it means there is plenty more for the opponents to pick over. earlier this week labour claimed the conservatives' sums don't add up, now the conservatives say —— now labour say the conservatives have not done their sums. please welcome the prime minister, theresa may. she said it herself yesterday, there are big and difficult decisions to make. it couldn't have been closer to the truth.
the conservatives say they want to protect the poorest, but plans for a radical shake—up of pensioner benefits, including cutting back on winterfuel payments, is proving controversial. they haven't set out exactly what they mean by the very poorest, but in the pension system at the moment we have a thing that does that, it's called pension credit and it only goes to 2 million of the poorest pensioners. that means that 10 million, the other pensioners, would lose out if that was the system the conservative party chose to go with. at the moment, all pensioners get the winter fuel payment. the allowance is worth between one and £300 a year, and in 2015—16, more than 12 million people got the benefit at a cost of over £2 billion. this week, labour published its manifesto... labour say the tories' plans are sick and sneaky, and claim many pensioners will end up choosing between heating and eating. this is a savage attack on vulnerable pensioners, particularly those who are just about managing. it is disgraceful, and we are calling upon the conservative party now to withdraw it today.
well, i think taking the winter fuel payment away from pensioners who have worked hard and paid in all their life is just wrong. the winter fuel payment is not a king's ransom, it's about giving pensioners who've contributed all their lives a little bit of extra help during the cold winter months. are they warm enough, them radiators? it's the most in need the conservatives say they are focusing on, with savings from the winter fuel payment going into social care. but without giving more detail of their plans, they face accusations 10 million would be hit. that's guesswork. we're going to consult on the exact level, exactly how we do the means testing. but let me be plain about this, the only people who will lose the winter fuel allowance are people who can afford it. there are well—off pensioners as well as poor pensioners. we're going to protect the poor pensioners. but without exact calculations, the conservatives' opponents have filled the gaps.
and until they've got some answers, it's likely the questions will keep coming. notjust questions overwinter notjust questions over winter fuel payments the conservatives are facing. on immigration, ministers will not put a target on when they will not put a target on when they will get net migration down to the tens of thousands. they will not give a timetable insisting it is a name they do insist they will meet. of course, manifestos are broad contracts with the electorate and it is unusual not to put a detailed breakdown of every policy out and politicians do not want to set themselves too many tests they later find impossible to keep. thank you. the bbc understands the release of figures for the budget deficits of nhs trusts in england, may be delayed until after the general election. the health service regulator apparently wants to publish the figures soon, but has been advised by whitehall officials to wait. well, throughout the election
campaign, we're taking a look at some of the issues most important to you, and hearing from our specialists. today, our heath editor, hugh pym, has been assessing the state of the nhs. the big challenge for the nhs is coping with rising demand for care, partly because of a growing and ageing population. let's take a look at some figures which illustrate this. last year in england there were more than 23.5 million visits to a&e units, that's an increase of 3200 per day compared to the previous year. but funding hasn't kept up. traditionally, demand for health care rises at around 4% per year, but annual funding increases in england have been around 1%. many health leaders now say the nhs has to have more money. some, though, do point out that the health service could be more efficient, and more ways could be worked out to make resources go further. one way of ensuring that the nhs can make its money go further
is treating more patients away from hospitals. that's where gps have a really important role to play. in many areas, local doctors are working with social care staff to ensure that people can be treated in their communities or, if possible, at home. well, that's the theory, but it may take a while to get any savings from this process. the nhs is under serious financial pressure right now. in some parts of the country health commissioners are restricting the care they're prepared to fund. well, that's england, where the focus of the health debate has been during this general election campaign. scotland, wales and northern ireland run their own nhs services, and there are no elections for the devolved administrations this year. as hugh said, in some parts of the country health commissioners are restricting the care they're prepared to fund. our health correspondent, dominic hughes, has been to meet one patient, whose surgery has been delayed.
louise baines is a busy woman, running an equestrian centre while bringing up young children. and, at the age of 40, she needs a hip replacement. but six months ago her local nhs said before that happens she should try losing weight. i appreciate that i do need to lose weight, but the fact is i'm becoming more immobile because of my bad hip. and that's probably going to have a knock—on effect, that i'm going to find it more difficult to lose weight when i can't be as mobile as maybe i'd like to be. louise lives in a region where the local nhs delays some treatments for patients who could lose some weight or give up smoking. it's partly about saving money, but they also argue it's better for patients and helps speed their recovery. more and more patients are coming to the nhs for help, and yet resources are limited, so health service managers are having to make some tough decisions. but the consequences of those decisions for patients like louise are very real. my daughter's just started riding,
and she wants to go out on her pony, and i can't go very far because i can't walk with her for that long because it starts hurting. it's obviously very difficult for you, isn't it? yes, it's hard, it'sjust... the pain i'm in everyday isjust really, really debilitating. the nhs calls this health optimisation, giving patients help and support to make changes that will improve their health. others see it as health rationing, denying patients the treatment they need in order to balance the books. itjust, it makes me quite cross and upset. you almost feel like you're just being chucked on the side and you're not worth repairing because you're a little bit fat, or a little bit overweight, or whatever it is. it's really not very nice. the nhs is having to balance growing demand with limited resources. that means new ways of delivering care and a focus on prevention, but also tough choices that have a real impact on real people. dominic hughes, bbc
news, north yorkshire. a former youth team coach at newcastle united has been charged with 29 sexual offences alleged to have been committed between 1973 and 1998. george ormond, who's 61, will appear before magistrates in newcastle next month. american warplanes operating in syria have attacked a convoy carrying militia fighters supporting president assad. the us—led coalition says the convoy was heading towards a base used by western special forces near the border with iraq. the attack comes as president trump prepares to visit saudi arabia, his first overseas trip since becoming president. our diplomatic correspondent james landale reports. us warplanes launching air strikes against so—called islamic state targets in syria. but now they are also attacking ground forces loyal to the syrian government.
ostensibly the air strike was designed to protect british and american special forces like these. they are based in the south—east of syria, where they are training opposition groups fighting is. these pictures were taken last year. the pro—syrian convoy that included iranian backed militias was heading toward a military base near a strategically important border crossing with iraq and jordan. unlike many previous strikes such as this, us officials said the coalition warplanes warned the convoy to turn around before attacking. there were reports that some tanks and trucks were destroyed and a number of troops killed. president assad's spokesman condemned what they call an act of government terrorism, which they said showed that america's claims it was fighting only is were false. russian ministers said the attack was a completely unacceptable breach of syrian sovereignty. the us claimed russia tried but failed to dissuade the convoy from heading south.
the american defence secretary james mattis insisted that the air strike did not mark an escalation by the us. well, we're not increasing our role in the syrian civil war, but we will defend our troops, and that is a coalition element made up of more than just us troops, and so we'll defend ourselves from people who take aggressive steps against us. the diplomat said that as president trump prepared to head to saudi arabia the us was sending a strong signal that last month's attack on the syrian air allegedly used for chemical warfare was not a one—off and that the us was now prepared to use force to stop iranian backed militias taking territory in syria. that is a message that will go down well in riyadh this weekend, where they are laying out the red carpet for the us president. both sides are hoping the visit will improve relations between both countries that have been strained in recent years. james landale, bbc news. our top story this lunchtime. the founder of wikilea ks,
the founder of wikileaks, julian assange will not face rape charges in sweden after prosecutors drop their seven—year investigation. and coming up: raising a glass to a home—grown tipple — we're in norfolk, where a local white wine has just won a big global prize. coming up in sport in the next 15 minutes on bbc news: the end of the road for geraint thomas — the welshman has had to pull out of the giro d'italia with knee and shoulder injuries following a crash over the weekend. london city airport is set to become the first in the uk to replace its air traffic controllers with a digital system, operated from more than 100 miles away. instead of sitting in a tower overlooking the runway, controllers will watch live footage from high—definition cameras in hampshire. the new system will be operationalfrom 2019.
our transport correspondent richard westcott reports now, on this brave new world. modern airports are dynamic, fast flowing, hundreds of pieces being moved around every minute and all of those movements must be tightly choreographed to keep it safe. this is london city airport and that is just one of the 300 or so take—offs and landings that happen here every day. until now, all of those flights have been coordinated by a group of controllers who look out of these windows here. but in the future those windows are going to be replaced by these high definition tv screens. controllers won't just see the airport, they will be able to hear it as well. the thing is, this digital control tower is 120 miles away from the airport. we've been shown this simulation, but by 2019 controllers will be sitting here directing traffic for real, using pictures
fed from a new camera tower next to the runway. unlike the old tower, they can zoom in for a better view, put radar data onto the screen to track aircraft. critically, for safety, the cameras can pick out rogue drones near the airport and light the runway at night. my initial reaction was sceptical because i'm used to being at an airport. they give the controller more information in terms of what they can see, what they can hear, how they can identify targets, how they can track targets. the awareness that the controller gets, its all about being heads up, they're no longer looking down. a tower controller's job is we get paid to look out of the window, so it makes thatjob much easier. now, i know exactly what you're thinking. the number one question i've been asked by everybody i've told about this is, what if the tv screens go down, what if the system is hacked? how secure is it? so, highly secure. the system has been independently stress—tested
by security specialists. we have three cables that are in place between the airport and swanwick, in the control centre. if one of those was to fail, there's a back—up. and in the event that that fails, there's another cable. and they're all routed, taking different routes between the airport and swanwick. london city is convinced the new system will make their operation more efficient and more safe. the idea of the control tower miles from the airport may seem odd, but it isn't far away. richard westcott, bbc news. the people of iran are voting in presidential elections, with the incumbent, hassan rouhani, seeking a second term. the 68—year—old, who negotiated a landmark deal with the us and several world powers two years ago to halt iran's nuclear programme, is standing against three other candidates. his main rival is thought to be the hard—line cleric ebrahim raisi, who's opposed to closer relations with the west. paul adams reports.
the start of a decisive day. a chance for millions of iranians to have their say on this country's future direction — the economy, human rights and iran's international reputation all stake. the supreme leader ayatollah khamenei was the first to vote. iranians can choose their president from an approved list. but it's this man who wields ultimate authority. he urged people to vote. the destiny of the country was in their hands, people should pay attention. and voters seem to be responding. long lines at polling stations, some people frustrated by what they see as the dead hand of an ageing revolutionary elite. others fearful that old values are under threat, that the west is still the enemy.
and all impatient for jobs and a better life. "we've come here today in order not to go backwards," says this man. "we are the generation of war, and we don't have good memories of war." and this woman says she expects the president to carry out more economic development. "i want social justice," she says, and good relations with all the countries of the world." the two main candidates both hail from the same revolutionary establishment that represent very different visions of the future. hassan rouhani is the older of the two, he's 68, he's been president since 2013, his main achievement so far, the nuclear deal with world powers that led to the lifting of sanctions.
ebrahim raisi is less well known. he's 12 years younger, he heads one of the wealthiest charities in the muslim world and is widely seen as the possible successor to the supreme leader. it all looks peaceful so far but there is apprehension. eight years ago, the suspicion that hardliners rigged the results triggered months of protests. it was a national trauma which rocked the establishment to the core. no—one wants to see that again. paul adams, bbc news. the tv entertainer rolf harris has this morning been released from stafford prison. the 87—year—old was convicted and sentenced in 2014. he is currently on trial facing four counts of indecent assault against three teenage girls that allegedly took place in the 1970s and early ‘80s. he had been appearing by video link but will appear in court in person on monday. he denies all the charges. a bbc investigation has found flaws in the voice—recognition system used by one of britain's biggest banks, hsbc. it analyses a customers' voice patterns, allowing access to their accounts. but while the bank says everyone's voice is unique, making the system secure, the bbc‘s click technology
programme has found its possible for strangers to access bank details. dan simmons has the story. passwords, key fobs and apps have all been used to protect us but over the past year a new gold—standard in security has emerged, biometrics. like fingerprints, the human voice is unique to each of us, and hsbc, along with other banks, has started using the voice of its customers as their password. they say it's secure... my voice is my password. but a simple experiment with my nonidentical twin brother... ‘welcome to hsbc advance...‘ ..proves otherwise. my financial details and the ability to transfer money, wide open. i am shocked, under no circumstances should two different people be able to get into the same bank account with voice biometric authentication. yes, every voice is unique. however, it's up to the system
to differentiate between voices, and obviously it hasn't done it in this case, and granted access. unlike a password, a voice is public and experts worry artificial intelligence software can synthesise voices so well that it would soon be able to clone a voice from a sample of 30 seconds or less, a tool which could make the hacker‘sjob much easier. it's a scary application, but we are working with security researchers to figure out what is the best way to proceed with this. this is one of the reasons why we have not published this to the public yet. in response to our attempt to break in, the bank said... most experts agree that by making security more personal, you make it more secure. but if your voice can be copied, then, unlike passwords, it may be
difficult to get a new one. dan simmons, bbc news. back now to the election campaign, and the south of england is seen largely as a conservative stronghold, prosperous and protected by senior ministers whose constituencies are in the region. but voters have raised fears about cuts in local services in some areas. peter henley, the bbc‘s political editor in the south, reports from the isle of wight. for a small place, there are some big contrasts on the isle of wight. expensive yachts in cowes harbour, picture—postcard villages, and a laid—back lifestyle. but on an island, local issues, even the state of the roads, are what gets people talking. a lot of it is down to local situations and issues. you'll find you get a lot of people voting for local causes, schools, education, things that matter to them. some of the problems are hidden. the citizens advice centre has seen
a record number of people getting into debt and using food banks. job security isn't that good, and a lot of work is seasonal. we are making sure people get their rights, people aren't getting holiday pay, not getting sick pay when they are entitled to it. cutbacks to the local council budget means they are less able to support an ageing population. they are increasingly seeing greater numbers of people who are struggling, really struggling, to either access services or to have enough money to live. that little strip of water separating the island from the mainland also brings a streak of defiance. 62% voted to leave in the referendum. fisherman pete williams says he is being hammered by eu quotas. we didn't have a lot of options, really. brexit was the only way we would get something better,
it couldn't be any worse. will you get something better from theresa may? i think she seems to be the right person. she has taken hold of a difficultjob and she is getting on with it. the island is a microcosm of a divided country. and at the model village there are people yearning for some old—fashioned certainty in turbulent political times. you have to feel confident about your leader. if you don't, it doesn't matter how much they say or what they offer in their manifesto, if you don't believe in them you won't vote for them. the younger ones didn't bother to vote. and come the result, it didn't go the way they wanted, "come on, have another vote." is that their lookout? that's their tough luck. people say you step back in time when you visit the isle of wight. with grammar schools now on the political agenda and rail nationalisation, perhaps the political parties are just catching up on what the public wants. combine that feeling of disconnection with real economic pressures and, at this political crossroads, you can't completely count on anywhere.
the norfolk broads don't immediately spring to mind when you think of fine wine. but now a family—run vineyard has just beaten competitors from around the world, becoming the first in england to win one of the industry's top prizes. the bacchus 2015, from winbirri vineyards, has been selected the best white wine from a single grape variety. alex dunlop is live concerning for us. this is a charming little vineyard. these are embryonic greats which hopefully over the summer into the autumn will ripen into this world —class autumn will ripen into this world—class wine. this is it, the winbirri bacchus 2015. thejudges from the decanter world wine award said it had a fruity nose and a
harmonious body, not bad for a wine from a quiet corner of norfolk. it's just ten years since the dyer family decided there might be some potential for planting vines here on the edge of the norfolk broads. it turns out they were right. for while this season's grapes are just starting to form, 2015's offering is now on everybody‘s lips. the first still english wine to win such a prestigious award. at the vineyard, while they are delighted, they're not surprised. the quality‘s been there. as english wine producers, we know we've been making world—class wines, just now they're coming forward and getting the recognition and getting known for the high quality that we can make them. we've known it for a long time. it's just the fourth vintage of the single bacchuss grape varietal which winbirri has produced. butjudges, among 200 who took part in the tastings, choose it over wines
from around the world. producers who have been doing for decades, if not centuries. 70,000 wines are entered into this competition, alljudged blind by international experts from around the world, so, to have picked up this award is quite, quite exceptional. it's a huge achievement. england's sparkling wines have been winning awards for some time now and make up two—thirds of the 5 million bottles produced here every year. most are grown in kent and sussex. now, with the world's best award to its name, winbirri has firmly put east ang lee on the wine producing map. so why has this wine done so well? it is down to a very dry climate here and careful managing of the vineyard and here and careful managing of the vineya rd and grapes here and careful managing of the vineyard and grapes but most importantly it shows that english vineyards can and do produce world —class vineyards can and do produce world—class wines. back to you, clive. alex, many thanks.