this is bbc news. the headlines at 2pm. swedish prosecutors drop their investigation into a rape allegation against the wikileaks founderjulian assange — his lawyers claim victory. he's been a fugitive, holed up in the ecuadorian embassy in london since 2012, avoiding extradition — but scotland yard says he'll be arrested if he tries to leave sick and sneaky — labour's assessment of the conservatives plans to means test winter fuel payments. russia condemns an american air strike, on a pro—government convoy, in syria. tv entertainer rolf harris is released from prison. the former entertainer was convicted and sentenced in 2014. also in the next hour, digital departures... british airport is to abandon its
air traffic control tower and use digital technology to monitor planes from miles away. and a bbc reporter and his twin have managed to fool hsbc‘s voice recognition security system — which is designed to prevent fraud. good afternoon and welcome to bbc news. prosecutors in sweden have dropped their seven year long investigation, into rape allegations against the founder of the wikileaks website, julian assange. he's been a fugitive, living in the ecuadorian embassy in london, since 2012, trying to avoid extradition. mr assange has always denied the allegations, saying they're politically motivated. as did britain would now support
attem pts as did britain would now support atte m pts to as did britain would now support attempts to lecture date mr re—signed, the government said it would be up to the government to decide. it is four years and 11 months friday that mr side take refuge at this embassy. today, as the news came out from sweden, he tweeted a smiling photograph of himself. that is the only comic he has made. as caroline hawley no reports, he remained a wanted man. victory is howjulian assange‘s lawyer has described today's news. moments after it was announced, wikileaks founder tweeted this photo of himself in the ecuadorian embassy. in stockholm, swedish prosecutors had just said that the case against him was being dropped. translation: today i have decided
to revoke the order to remand mr assange custody in his absence and to revoke the european arrest warrant that he should be handed over to the swedish authorities. their dramatic decision was not a statement on whether mr assange is guilty or not. they have just been unable, in the circumstances, to proceed. translation: there are now no further measures remaining which are possible to advance the investigation. in order to proceed, it would be necessary forjulian assange to be formally served notice of the crimes of which he is suspected. this was a measure that was to have been 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's 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 un report which criticised the swedish prosecutors for their handling of his case. but the woman who accused him of rape has said today she is shocked by their decision,
that she stands by the allegation. and mr assange cannot nowjust walk out of the embassy. the metropolitan police said 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. we don't know what the next twists will be in this long—running saga, but it isn't over yet. caroline hawley, bbc news. the world's press have descended on this corner of london with the hope
of getting an answer to the question, what will mr side do now. the threat of arrest and possible exhibition remains. it seems unlikely that there is an easy and obvious way out of this building, for now at least. it's been a week of manifesto launches from political parties in the run up to the election, involving lots of attention 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 attack on vulnerable pensioners". at present, the majority of people aged over 64 are eligible. 0ur political correspondent eleanor garnier reports 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. well, the labour leader, jeremy corbyn, is due to speak and there is a sustainable health service there for everyone. and as secretary of state, he will also make sure that the parity of esteem thatis make sure that the parity of esteem that is talked about between physical and mental health will be a reality. we will probably find mental health services in this country so that so many people are not isolated and left behind. and i am very determined to achieve that. you might have noted yesterday another party produced a manifesto. i see another party, because a p pa re ntly i see another party, because apparently the leader of that party
doesn't like repeating its name so i don't want to tread on what are obviously some personal and private difficulties between them. they would be wrong of me to enter it on private gray. are you all agreed on that? soggy one meant in the name of that? soggy one meant in the name of that party. they have released a ma nifesto that party. they have released a manifesto which is extraordinary in its extraordinary nest. we have a process in this country called winter fuel allowances for older people. they're there for a reason, because it is so much poverty amongst all the people, some of whom die of hypothermia. so, there is a winter fuel allowance and it is paid to everyone, universally, as are so many other universal services in this country. they propose to put a cap on it, somewhere along the line, to re m ove cap on it, somewhere along the line, to remove it from an unknown number
of people, causing great hardship and great consternation across all of the elderly population of this country. i'll just make of the elderly population of this country. i'lljust make it absolutely clear. a labour government will maintain the winter fuel allowance as a universal allowa nce for fuel allowance as a universal allowance for all older people. and we will do that because we believe in the whole point of universal benefits, and if a small number of older people have large incomes, they pay tax on itjust like anybody else. that is a whole principle of universal provision. this second proposal they were unable to get any commitment to is that of the triple lock on the pension. they triple lock on the pension. they triple lock which is so very, very important. it protects pensioners against inflation and gives them the
highest possible rise between 2.5% of the retail price, or consumer price index or average earnings. it isa price index or average earnings. it is a principle that labour has had for a very long time. it goes back to 1975 when the late great barbara castle and judges have pensions act of 1975. and we will absolutely maintain the triple lock and pensions to protect pensioners and comes. we will not destroy it or undermine it. unfortunately, no other party seems to be saying that at the present time. that is a labour commitment in this election. and we make that very, very clear. there are also, that group of women who were actually short changed by the change in pension age, known as the change in pension age, known as the waspy wyman. i spent a very
interesting hour this morning talking to a group of women in steve na g e, talking to a group of women in stevenage, and we have given an absolute, meant to redress the balance and correct the injustice that has been done to them. we will work with them to get through this thing because they have been short—changed by this tory government. and the other area are very deep concern, when i talk to the health service, i also talked about mental health. there is a thug area, and that is of social care within our society. social care is important for older people who are in very great need, who added very frail and to need that support. it's also for those with disabilities, it's also for those with extreme mental health conditions and other possessions they are in. social care is something that can be available
for people of any age. it is also for people of any age. it is also for adult children who may have learning difficulties. it is very, very important. and then at any one time in britain more than1 million people that don't get the social ca re people that don't get the social care to which they are entitled and they are desperate, they are either suffering on their own or they are stuck in a hospital bed and cannot be released from hospital because there is nowhere for them to go, and families then have to step in and it is nearly always women who have to give up theirjobs, give up their careers in order to care for people who are in desperate social need. 1 million in that situation. this conservative government has made a huge cut in the social care budget already. they did a sweetheart deal for surrey, and apparently for tories night sadiq is hardest word you're supposed to laugh at that...
—— sarri as the hardest word. i do not begrudge the people of surrey social care. but i want the same for every pa rt social care. but i want the same for every part of the whole country, and people treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve. instead, what the conservatives are doing it the bitter £100,000 cap and social ca re the bitter £100,000 cap and social care which actually goes nowhere near meeting the needs. someone with extreme conditions can easily spend £50,000 a year on their care. it is com pletely £50,000 a year on their care. it is completely unrealistic what they are doing. we will make sure that social ca re doing. we will make sure that social care is properly funded and that they will be a social care system that works for all across our society and our country. we believe very, very strongly in that. it is this the, to me, very important commitment on health care. what this government is doing is setting pensioners, threatening our health service with underfunding. this
election as, yes, about those issues, but it is about also young people and a future within our society. i'm very encouraged that since the election was announced, numbers are predominantly young people registering to vote is now coming up people registering to vote is now coming up summer people registering to vote is now coming up summer towards 2 million across the whole country, and are really pleased about that, because i wa nt every really pleased about that, because i want every single person who is eligible to vote to register for this election so they can take part ina this election so they can take part in a student democratic exercise and make their choice about the direction they want this country to go in. are we going to go down the road of about reducing expenditure on vital public services? ever widening gap between directors and the paris? and ever your tax giveaways to the wealthiest within oui’ giveaways to the wealthiest within our societies? 0r giveaways to the wealthiest within our societies? or are we going to do something different but is outlined in what i believe to be an excellent ma nifesto, in what i believe to be an excellent manifesto, for the many not the few.
take, for example you young people and our society. everybody wants the best for our children. but if you live in a certain postcard, you may end up going to and and are funded by many school, you may go to as secondary school which is likewise underfunded, you may not be able to get the a—levels are the other qualifications you need, you may not end up in university. your personal aspirations and your parent's holds for you are gone. they lose but realise, because relays the skills that an individual, his could have been come a teacher or doctor.... the conservatives have continued underfunding education and this means that headteachers are going to the most unbelievable stress of
deciding which teacher or teaching and to get rid of, which subject to ta ke and to get rid of, which subject to take out of secondary skills as we see the dem unit and of opportunities for everybody. is it right, is it necessary? no and no. we are determined that we will find oui’ we are determined that we will find our skills properly, but we also recognise that our children need to be able to be well fed in order to learn. iam be able to be well fed in order to learn. i am very proud that and a massive festival we make it clear that under labour, every primary school child and anger and bile get a free skill meal every day. —— a free skill mac meal. as they go through the education, the meals will be properly funded. if they wa nt to will be properly funded. if they want to go to university and continue studying, they will be an allowa nce continue studying, they will be an allowance available for them. there will be maintenance grants for those who need them, but they will not be
tuition fees for university students because we do not believe people should be penalised for gone to university and saddled with an enormous debt afterwards. it is a huge cost and commitment we are making, but we are doing it because we believe that everybody deserves a decent chance in society. that is what an inclusive, together society looks like, and that is what labour is offering. but we are also offering... we are also very clearly offering... we are also very clearly offering an economy that works for all. at the moment, we have 16 people working for less than the living wage, we have1 million working for zero—hour contracts. we need to change things around. so, within this wonderful book you will see a chapter of improving workers' rights, and improving democracy within our society, but you will also see a very clear commitment on the trade deal with the european
union that protects tariff free trade access to the european market and you will see a big proposal the national investment back to invest in infrastructure and and the structure across our society. we invest less, at even less, and have greater and equality than almost any other industrial society in the world. we will leave that beat their in peterborough. the latest speech from the labour party leaderjeremy corbyn on the campaign shell. let's go back tojulian assange. the wikileaks founder has had a seven year long investigation into rape allegations against him dropped this morning. that decision of course made by prosecutors in sweden. in the last few minutes we have heard from mr sandman he has said... maddy savage
is in stockholm for us. what have the swedish prosecutors being sent to justify the decision? the last i may have from them is backin the last i may have from them is back in september, and as you say, a very long case, it has been going on for seven years. what they have made clear is that they would like to have continued their investigation. this talented julia sands to come here to sweden for questioning, but here to sweden for questioning, but he has continued to refuse to do that. they have said they don't believe they will get any further assistance from the ecuadorian authorities in order to facilitate further question of him in london. they did travel to london last year in order to question assange, but
everything happen via a translator and it went allowed to ask any follow—up questions. the possibility of other follow—up questions looks very likely, and against this background, they have said it is not really was keeping the european arrest warrant in place. crucially, this doesn't mean that they have found assange either innocent or guilty. they said they would have very much have liked to questions father. if he does set foot on swedish soil before 2020, he would legally be able to do so. let's discuss all of this with john pilger, a friend of assange. thank you for being with us. he has just treated, i do not forgive orforget what do you think he means by that? he does not forgive or forget. as what do you think he means by that? he does not forgive orforget. as he points out, he has been detained, effectively, for seven years. during that time, he has had to mac
children grow up, he has been subjected to a relentless smear campaign, and now the whole thing has been dropped. there are quite a few things in the preamble that are not quite correct. the prosecutor obstructed this right from the beginning. the chief prosecutor of stock on said there was absolutely no crime committed here, there was nothing to answer. assange could go home. she stepped down, and because he was an associate with someone who was then running for parliament, it isa was then running for parliament, it is a very deep and murky political situation in sweden, attached to her obsession with this, and her seven yea rs correct obsession with this, and her seven years correct six years, last year she sent someone finally, she has refused to interview assange. she is playing a game with the swedish
press, leaking it. most of all, she has the best sms messages which are absolutely critical to this investigation. i have seen. their lawyers have been allowed to see them, but they haven't been allowed to present them as evidence. 0ne them, but they haven't been allowed to present them as evidence. one of the says that assange railroaded are into this and she was shot by what has happened. that there was no reason for him to have been arrested. interestingly about this woman, on the day that she actually took over from the prosecutor who had dismissed the case, the head of sweden's intelligence and security organisation denounced wikilea ks sweden's intelligence and security organisation denounced wikileaks for its revelations about iraq and afghanistan and so on. the
independent i think in 2010 revealed that there had been discussions between sweden, the united states about extraditing assange to the us. and that's what this is all about. you say he has been detained in ecuadorian embassy ‘s. a lot of people watching this will say he could just gone to stand trial in sweden and cleared his name and proved his innocence, evie is that confident approving has andersons. i'm not saying it. the highest international agency is saying it. the people who pronounced on the detention dart britain goes along with what there's high legal un body says. ed has said that assange has been illegally detained because if he had walked out of the embassy,
almost certainly he be on the beat to the very kind of hellhole that chelsea manning has just to the very kind of hellhole that chelsea manning hasjust be to the very kind of hellhole that chelsea manning has just be freed from. that is what this is about. what does he do now? because, as i understand it, the metropolitan police are still saying that they would arrest him for breaching bail and so on. is he going to say in the ecuadorian embassy?” and so on. is he going to say in the ecuadorian embassy? i hope not. there are blues outside that almost certainly well arrest him, but that is it. that is all he could be arrested for now. in the united states they built an enormous portfolio, trying to circumvent the first amendment of the constitution that protects whistle—blowers. it protects the like of you journalists, and it protects
wikileaks journalists, and it protects wikilea ks and journalists, and it protects wikileaks and julian sands, and what they have come up with is a charge, concocted a charge around espionage, which is based on the first world war charge against conscientious objectors. that is all they can do, so there really isn't anything in terms of constitutional law that they can do about assange. but of course they can do something about assange if he goes to the us. is thatis assange if he goes to the us. is that is main fear? if it leaves the embassy... it believes that. he has said all along that he will come to sweden if he can be guaranteed he will not be extradited to the us. sweden has quite a record are doing it. they have refused. there's prosecutor refused to give him that guarantee. it has always been about the united states, it has always
been about their wikilea ks revelations about iraq, about afghanistan, about the huge embarrassment that centred around their president, halliday clinton and others. it is a political situation and they want to get their hands on it. if that is still his real fear, hands on it. if that is still his realfear, does he have any choice but to stay in the embassy almost indefinitely? i don't know about indefinitely. for somebody denied sunlight and indefinitely. for somebody denied sunlightand in indefinitely. for somebody denied sunlight and in a small room, i would do what he has done, because the alternative is what has happened to chelsea manning. you're right, he doesn't have an option but to stay there for the moment. with britain under the united nation's working party of unlawful detention treaty has a legal, and to national obligation to give a sound as a
political refugee, internationally acknowledged, the rights of passage out of this country. that is really theissue out of this country. that is really the issue left. it comes back to this country. we're hearing from sweden the plaintiff in the rape case has said she is shot by this decision by the swedish authorities. the plaintiff in the rape case, rather one of the women involved said she was shocked when he was arrested. and find a lawyer and politician who reactivated this case was asked by a swedish supporter, both of the women denied they had been raped, he said, they are not lawyers. this particular person has a very, very aggressive lawyer. the whole mark of law as practised by very aggressive lawyers has been pa rt very aggressive lawyers has been part of this as well. the point is,
do all this time, at the beginning, assange waited five weeks in sweden for the prosecutor to question him. she told him to come to britain, and then there's european arrest warrant was slammed on him. no one knows why she did that unless it was political. the pointers, through this whole time, that he hasn't been charged with anything, there has been no suggestion that if he went before a court he would be convicted. under our presumption of innocence, he has been an aniston man through this. the one trial he has had to endure has been a trial by misinformation, and sadly, a trial by media. thank you very much indeed forjoining is in the studio we can now look at the weather
forecast. good afternoon. it has been mixed, we had sunshine earlier in the week with some spots getting close to 26 degrees and other places having a lot of rain. heavy rain today in most places in the form of showers. hit and miss downpours with sunny spells. eastern scotland and north east england, staying disappointing and damp all afternoon and patchy rain in the midlands and east anglia and further west, some of the shower is heavy with rumbles of the shower is heavy with rumbles of thunder. tonight, the showers will take a while to fade away. through the early hours most places should be dry except for scotland. turning increasingly heavy during the night and tomorrow, in the northern half, it will be cloudy and wet. further south, again, sunshine and showers. some showers heavy and sundry. by sunday, viewer showers.
if you get sunshine, temperatures could get up to 20 degrees. hello. this is bbc news. the headlines. swedish prosecutors have dropped the rape investigation into the wikileaks founderjulian assange. mr assange has always denied the allegations against him. police say they are still obliged to arrest him if he leaves the ecuadorian embassy in london where he has lived since 2012 the shadow chancellorjohn mcdonnell has condemned the conservatives' plans to means test the winter fuel allowance in their manifesto released yesterday. mr mcdonnell accused the tories of being "sick and sneaky". the russian foreign minister has condemned the us—led attack on a a convoy carrying pro—government militia forces. he said the air strikes
were illegitimate. after serving three years in prison, rolf harris has been released. the 87—year—old is currently on trial at southwark crown court, facing four charges of indecently assaulting three teenage girls in the 1970s and early 1980s. he denies all the charges. the world of sport now. lee foster has the latest. good afternoon. we have breaking tennis news. maria sharapova says she will not request a wild card into the main wimbledon draw. she will enter qualifying the week before. the former champion at the all—england club has relied on wild cards to play on tour since returning to competition last month following her doping ban. she was denied a wild card by the french
0pen denied a wild card by the french open this week, which was criticised by the wta, but she has risen high enoughin by the wta, but she has risen high enough in the rankings to earn a place in qualifying for wimbledon. she received a wild card to play at the birmingham grass court event in the birmingham grass court event in the build—up to wimbledon yesterday. she said she execs cited to be playing in that. an update on the grass court tournament schedule, she confirmed she will enter wimbledon qualifying. —— she is excited, she says. she has risen into the top 200 which will enable her to enter on merit. arsene wenger is keeping his cards close to his chest when it comes to his arsenal future. he cards close to his chest when it comes to his arsenalfuture. he has had a difficult season and arsenal are likely to miss out the four finish for the first time in his 20 yea rs finish for the first time in his 20 years at the club and his contract i’u ns years at the club and his contract runs out after the fa cup, when a
board meeting is likely to discuss his position. theirfinal league matches at home against everton on sunday. could it be his last match at the emirates? yes. ever? i cannot tell you. i think what is most important for us is to win the football game on sunday. after that, what happens to me is less important. i am here to serve the club and the best way to do it is to win the next game. lots of managers have been giving their final pre—match news conferences of the season. jurgen klopp's liverpool need to beat middlesbrough on sunday to be sure of a top four finish. regardless of the result, klopp says they'll definitely be strengthening the squad during the summer. during the summer. we were working not only on the pitch, because my day is 2a hours. we have a lot of good people around and we were working hard and having
and we were working hard and having a good position for different players but it is not the day to talk about this. we want to make this team better, should be diame every year, probably. it is not easy because have already a good side. ash max that should be the aim every year. there may be a few players out there and you can be sure we spoke to them. manchester united manager jose mourinho says he intends to put out a young team against crystal palace for sunday's final match of the season — with his priority being the europa league final against ajax three days later. but mourinho says paul pogba will play after missing the last two games following the death of his father while wayne rooney may not feature. looking ahead to the europa final, mourinho suggested ajax shouldn't have played in the tournament — as they have also played in the champions league this season. london 2012 olympic silver medallist
gemma gibbons has retired from professionaljudo. she missed out on a place at the rio 0lympics last year and turned down an offer of funding in december, while she took time away from the sport to decide herfuture. she's now decided and is going to become a pe teacher. that is all the sport and the breaking news maria sharapova will not request a wild card into the main wimbledon draw, but she will try to qualify for the event. she will have to win three matches to get into the first round at wimbledon, where she is a former winner. more in the next hour. swedish prosecutors are ending their seven—year investigation into the wikileaks founder, julian assange, who has been accused of rape. mr assange, who's a5, has been living at the ecuadorian embassy in london since 2012, claiming asylum to avoid
extradition to sweden. scotland yard says it's obliged to arrest him for breaching his bail conditions if he leaves the embassy. the swedish prosecutor in charge of the case announced the decision at a news conference in stockholm . the author of wikileaks: inside julian assange's war on secrecy, david leighjoin us now. thank you for being with us. are you surprised by the swedish prosecutors' decision?” surprised by the swedish prosecutors' decision? i am not surprised the swedish prosecutor is exhausted by the attempt to get julian to face justice. seven years during which he has been successfully running away and hiding. what should he do? he is still in the embassy. scotland yard said he would still be arrested for breaching bail. will he stay no? the logic is that he comes out of the
embassy, is arrested forjumping bail, a british charge. they would not be much of a penalty. they would either put him injail a short time or give either put him injail a short time orgive him a either put him injail a short time or give him a suspended sentence, and then deport him. he would like to be deported to ecuador, by the sound of it, but they might deport him to his native australia. we have word from the united states that the us attorney general says that arresting mr assange is a priority. that is noise. the fact is there is no official extradition request made known by the us to the uk to get hold of julian assange. known by the us to the uk to get hold ofjulian assange. the irony is the 0bama administration probably dropped the idea of arresting and extraditing him. and then the antics, which during the trump campaign when he appears to have
lea ked campaign when he appears to have leaked material perhaps supplied by the russians to discredit the democrats. it is now the trump administration acting in a hostile way. there are noises they want to ta ke way. there are noises they want to take action. would it persuade him perhaps he would be safer to stay in the embassy now? my guess is we will not see him stick his head out of the door today. what would you say to people who say, why did he not just go to sweden, if he is convinced of his innocence, to prove his innocence in a trial in sweden? it isa his innocence in a trial in sweden? it is a good question. he could have faced the music. if he had, in sweden, and been convicted, then any punishment he got would have been less tha n punishment he got would have been less than being locked up for seven yea rs less than being locked up for seven years ina less than being locked up for seven years in a little room in the embassy. he sort of paid a big price already. that will not stop the
women complaining about his alleged behaviour. we spoke to john pilger, a friend of his, alleging there are murky motivations behind what the swedish persecutors have been doing. is that the way you see it, or is it a straightforward criminal allegation and would—be prosecution they were unable to bring? we wrote a book aboutjulian assange and were heavily involved with him at the time and we investigated in great detail these sexual allegations and discovered there was a good deal of evidence to support them and no evidence to support them and no evidence that the women were part of some kind of cia honey trap and all these conspiracists theory allegations byjohn pilger and his friends are nonsense, it seems to me. it has been a fascinating case. where does it go now? he could end up where does it go now? he could end up in ecuador, he could end up
conceivably extradited to the united states, or staying in the embassy. assange has bounced around like a pinball and one thing he has done is got attention for himself over the yea rs got attention for himself over the years and the story probably has further to run. do you think his motivation is to get attention for himself? it has always been about assange and not about anybody else. very good to talk to you. a former youth team coach or newcastle united has been charged with sexual offences alleged to have been committed between 73 and 98. he will appear before magistrates in newcastle next month. it is the former newcastle united youth coach charged with 29 sexual offences. police made the announcement in the past hour and say these charges came
about as part of their investigation into what they call non—recent child sexual abuse in the sporting community. the charges against him, who now lives in devon, are alleged to have taken place between 1973 and 1998. 0fficers to have taken place between 1973 and 1998. officers say investigations are ongoing and call on anyone who may have been the victim of child abuse, or has any information on the subject to contact the force or the nspcc. he is due to appear before magistrates on the 9th ofjune. 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. russia has condemned the attack as ‘unacceptable'. the incident comes as president trump prepares to visit saudi arabia, his first overseas trip since becoming president.
0ur 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. 0stensibly 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 if 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. 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 a hundred miles away. instead of sitting in a tower overlooking the runway, controllers will watch live footage from high—definition cameras in hampshire. 0ur transport correspondent richard westcott reports now, 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. back to the election campaign. 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, bbc south's political editor in the south, reports from the isle of wight. iam i am amongst the miniature figures on the beautiful small island just off the south coast, at the model village on the isle of wight. this is the largest constituency in the country with more voters than anywhere else. they tried to split it up anywhere else. they tried to split itupa anywhere else. they tried to split it up a few times but the islanders have always fought back. it is that island spirit which makes them want to be more independent. 0n the other hand, they agree on some things and
disagree bitterly on others and there are parts of the constituency where industry has gone and there is poverty and other parts busy with tourists and bursting with innovation and politically there are contradictions. 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, so 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. means they are less able to support 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? she has a difficultjob ahead. i think she seems to be the right person. she has taken hold of a difficult job 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 the 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? it'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 conservative is sitting on a big majority, a new candidate. they took
control of the council recently. the rest ca n not control of the council recently. the rest cannot decide on who the alternative vote should be. look out for the greens coming up on the rails. but island stubbornness suggests it will not go all to the conservatives. this is the full list of candidates. thank you. beautiful whether there. in a moment a summary of the business news this hour. but first, the headlines on bbc news. prosecutors in sweden have dropped their seven—year investigation into rape allegations against the wikileaks founderjulian assange. the shadow chancellorjohn mcdonnell has accused theresa may of abandoning older people, saying means testing winter fuel payments is a "savage attack on vulnerable pensioners". us warplanes operating over syria have attacked a convoy carrying pro—government militia forces in a mission to protect british and american forces. russia has condemned the strike. hello. the business use.
0nline food ordering firm just eat is facing an investigation into its takeover of its great rival hungry house. regulators are worried the deal could harm competition — and lead to worse terms for restaurants using the service. london city airport is going to be first in britain to scrap its control tower in favour of high tech remote monitoring. planes will be directed from a centre 80 miles from a centre 100 miles away in hampshire — by controllers using high definition cameras. they will be able to zoom in for detail, light up the runway at night and even follow rogue drones straying into dangerous areas. what a nice day for doing nothing. the mighty peppa pig and friends. their exploits earned the company behind the series
£161 million in product sales alone, last year. the canadian firm, entertainment 0ne has promised another 177 episodes. the trade deal between mexico canada and america — known as nafta — has come in for a lot of stick from donald trump. he's called it a job—killer and has pledged to reform it. now he's putting his money where his mouth is and has formally notified congress that he intends to renegotiate the deal — with the aim of benefiting us jobs and the economy. samira hussain is at the new york stock exchange. what can we expect to come out of this? we have been waiting for this 90 day announcement to happen for a long time and one of the big hold—ups for president trump was the fa ct hold—ups for president trump was the fact he did not have a us trade representative in place. now the representative in place. now the representative is in place, that representative is in place, that
representative will take the need in terms of starting negotiations. now there is the 90 day waiting period, there is the 90 day waiting period, the cooling off period, and then they will come to the table for the arduous task of trying to renegotiating the decades—old trade agreement. are the canadians and mexicans in the mood for compromise? absolutely, looks, the reality is all three countries need each other and there is sort of a genuine understanding that the trade deal benefits each country. it is something that is more than two decades—old and could use re—tooling. it depends on the kinds of moods we are seeing from the various parties that will negotiate. mexico and canada are willing to negotiate. so is the united states, for all the bluster we hear from
president trump. the reality is the trade agreement is important when it comes to the us economy. a lot of turmoil in the political sphere. bleeding through onto the stock market. we had this vicious day on wednesday and saw us markets drop by more than 350 points and on thursday they recovered by 55 points. i will look at the big board. seeing nothing but green so markets trading higher now. perhaps they will trade higher now. perhaps they will trade higher and end the week higher, but overall it was a tough week when it comes to us markets. all of this has to do with concerns in the political world of what is happening in washington and how it will impact president trump's economic plan. thanks. to reiterate, looking at the markets, broadly positive. they seem
to be getting over the jitters yesterday over the impact of the political scandal on donald trump's plans to stimulate the economy with fears they could be derailed by the scandal. good company results have boosted the ftse in the uk with house—builders lifted by theresa may's promise of 1.5 million new homes if she wins the next election. sterling making good progress against the dollar but some say the gains could be limited because of uncertainty over brexit. that is all from me. time for a look at the weather. good afternoon. this week has had sunshine and some places got temperatures up to 26 degrees and then we had heavy rain in the south—east. through today, heavy rain around. most of it in the form of showers. sunshine and showers the
story for many, some of them heavy, particularly in the south and south—west. rain moving in across eastern scotland. as we head through this evening, wet weather will journey northwards, setting it across scotland, whereas across the northern half of scotland the rain turning heavy overnight. largely dried by saturday morning elsewhere but the old folk patch. sunshine and showers on saturday. scotland across the north sea in cloudy wet conditions, although welcome rain across northern scotland. sunday, spells of sunshine and in the south, feeling warmer. this is bbc news. swedish prosecutors drop their investigation into a rape allegation against the wikileaks founderjulian assange — his lawyers claim victory. he's been a fugitive, holed up in the ecuadorian embassy in london since 2012, but scotland yard says he'll be arrested for a separate offence
if he tries to leave. labour is accusing the conservatives of a savage attack on vulnerable pensioners over their manifesto plans to means test winter fuel payments. i willjust i will just make i willjust make it absolutely clear. a labour government will maintain the winterfuel clear. a labour government will maintain the winter fuel allowance asa maintain the winter fuel allowance as a universal allowance for all older people. russia condemns an american air strike, on a pro—government convoy, in syria. it