the legislation was passed with a19 members in favour and only three against. moscow says the move would complicate relations. president trump has criticised his attorney general, fuelling speculation he might be on his way out. he said he was disappointed withjeff sessions‘ decision to recuse himself from the inquiry into alleged russian meddling in the election, commenting that time would tell about his future. one of the vatican's most seniorfigures, cardinal pell, has appeared in court in australia to face multiple charges of historical sex abuse. the former archbishop of sydney and melbourne insists he's innocent. details of the charges haven't been made public. let's have a quick look at this morning's from pages. the financial times leads on bmw's decision to build its new electric mini in the uk, despite brexit. "let us take our charlie home to die," that's
the plea of parents connie yates and chris gard and leads on the front of the metro. on the telegraph's front page, a possible ban on diesel cars is the big headline, and also there a snap from the first day of theresa's may's summer holiday in italy. the express is hopeful about future trade with america after president trump hinted at a very big and exciting deal after brexit. the times also sounds the death knell for petrol and diesel cars and has the story that milk can now be branded inhumane by vegan campaigners after a ruling on advertising. in the guardian, the claim by labour that more than 600,000 pupils are being taught by unqualified teachers is the top story, while the daily mail focuses on the war on cars that burn fossil fuels to help cut pollution. now on bbc news it's our world. in the syrian city of raqqa, islamic state is making a final stand.
state in northern syria. there's something bigger than me. it's for people here, the women here and women in the middle east, and maybe potentially the world. it's a fight for territory, both physical and ideological. this story begins not in raqqa, but in kobane. what remains of this largely kurdish city stands as a monument to a brutal turning point in the war against islamic state.
it was here that is reached its high water mark. its territory extending as far as the turkish border. it was here it met its first significant defeat. the cemetery in kobane testifies to just how high a price kurdish fighters, men and women, have already paid in their war against is. for the kurds, this is part of a wider battle, for a long—held dream of self—determination. commander sonxuin is part of that battle. her nom de guerre means red blood. today, sonxuin commands around 1000
fighters on the raqqa front line. periods of intense fighting punctuate the mundane routines of war. together, these men and women make up the syrian democratic forces, or sdf. an alliance that includes arabs, but is led by the kurds. we're heading towards the centre of raqqa. islamic state fighters are holed up in the old city, just a few
hundred metres away. everyone is on edge. a sound overhead signals the presence of an attack drone. what's happening is we've just driven down these narrow side streets. suddenly there's gunfire overhead, everyone‘s looking up in the sky, searching for these is drones. this is urban warfare. there are no realfront lines. the kurdish led sdf are not on their own in this fight. the americans have quietly built up a presence on the ground here in northern syria, providing weapons, training and firepower. with us help they've chased islamic state out of traditionally
kurdish areas and beyond. expanding their control across the euphrates and into mainly arab territory to the west. this is manbij. the syrian democratic forces took the city last august, after two and a half years under is rule. this building was their courthouse. here, islamic state would sit in judgment over people they deemed to have broken their laws. punishment would be meted out in the car park opposite. a local shopkeeper witnessed many of the gruesome executions. even though is is gone from here, he asked us not to reveal his identity, forfear of reprisals. down in the basement, their brutal
legacy lingers, like a ghost. in this dungeon, is tortured its prisoners. a policeman showed us the cell where his uncle was kept. barely big enough to contain a man. tiny air holes to keep him alive. when they let him out, after four days, they had to amputate his leg. in a vast graveyard in the centre of manbij, is fighters have smashed every single headstone.
and even though islamic state has been chased out of this town, that doesn't mean its ideology has gone with it. in manbij, a multiethnic military and civil council has brought life and stability back to this mainly arab city, under the auspices of the kurdish led sdf. the sdf and their american allies
see manbij as a template for raqqa, once is is driven out, but in the context of syria's ongoing civil war it is at best a temporary arrangement. from kobane to manbij, and now to raqqa, it has been a long road to the capital of the caliphate. commander sonxuin and her unit are on the western front. it's a tight squeeze in a home—made armoured truck with a couple of her fighters,
driving towards the centre of raqqa. islamic state are supposed to be surrounded inside the old city. but is have dug tunnels. and frequently they pop up where you don't expect them. gunshots these fighters, they are coming up against is snipers in all these streets around here. other than that they've got drones, they've got suicide bombers, this is going to be a very hard fight into the centre of raqqa. back at base, sonxuin and her fellow commanders are having a strategy meeting. as the fight enters the narrow streets of the city,
they are constantly having to adjust their tactics. as the sdf push forward, raqqa seems deserted. but the empty streets are deceptive. there are still people here and they are desperate to get out. as we drive towards the centre, carts appear flying white flags. there are still tens of thousands of people in raqqa, trapped between the coalition air strikes on one side and islamic state on the other, who have been killing anyone who tries to flee.
the problem for the sdf coalition is this. they don't know whether some of those fleeing could in fact be is supporters themselves. after screening, many of them end up at this camp. all have lived under the harsh regime of islamic state. not all against their will. noor left raqqa for lebanon two years ago, to join
her husband, ajihadi. as the wife of a foreign fighter, noor was in a relatively privileged position. there were many women, especially yazidis, whose fates were much darker. women captured and sold between the fighters as sex slaves. she saw all this. those women are still there, in raqqa, prisoners of the caliphate. syria has been at war for more than six years now. longer than the whole of world war ii.
the fight against islamic state is but one facet of an ongoing conflict that is drawing in the world's big powers. from a hilltop overlooking the manbij countryside, a local kurdish commander showed me the point at which all these competing forces come face—to—face. 0k, well, it's a pretty complicated picture, but basically it boils down to this. from the west, all the way up to the north, up to the euphrates river over there, is controlled by the americans. from that same west point, all the way to the south, is controlled by the syrian regime. that describes the sort of d shape. in the middle of that is the pocket of the manbij military council, which is an arab kurdish coalition, but is basically controlled by the kurds. but in between all of that there's
a russian basejust over there, an american base just four kilometres along from that, and surrounding all of it are fsa forces — free syrian army — that are basically sponsored by the turks. for now, the battle against islamic state provides a kind of common purpose. but once is is gone, the potential for conflict between these big powers is very real. the kurds‘ position is extremely fragile.
their fighters belonged to a branch of the pkk — considered a terrorist organisation by both turkey and the united states. for now, the syrian kurds have the backing of the americans, but turkey, a nato ally, carries out sporadic attacks against them. that's because their fight against the islamic state is really about creating their own state. 0n the raqqa front lines, sonxuin‘s fighters are so close they can hear is in the building across the street. for the kurds, this is more than a war. it's a revolution. and it's attracting its share of idealistic outsiders. there's a million ways to die here. it's notjust on the front. there's no front line. it's a huge space of war,
that is like, even though it seems peaceful here, anything can happen. kimi taylor is a former maths student. she is originally from blackburn in the north of england. she left behind a life of activism at home to come to syria to fight islamic state. what are the biggest worries, the biggest threats? 0n the moving front, where we are moving to take more space, it's snipers, there's mines everywhere and snipers everywhere. are you scared? no. there's something bigger than me. it's for people here. it's for women here and women in the middle east, and even maybe potentially the world. in a conservative society this feminist revolution faces internal opposition too.
but this is a movement that tolerates little dissent. political opponents have been jailed. thousands of young people have fled conscription. but for sonxuin, a true believer, the fight against is is but one battle in a longer war to convert her own people to the cause. sonxuin‘s fighters face islamic state at perhaps its most dangerous. wounded, cornered, and with nothing left to lose.
this is of course a battle for territory. they are fighting to take the capital of the caliphate. there's something happening here. everyone is just springing into action. they think they've got... some isis snipers in the buildings around. let's go. what's going on? they are moving here. the fall of the islamic state is within sight. the question is, can this kurdish revolution survive in the face of syria's still unfinished war? good morning.
there's rain in the forecast for the next few days, but i think the important message is, it's not going to be raining all the time. that's certainly the story for today. some wet and windy weather for a time, but not all the time. we have low pressure pushing a band of cloud in from the atlantic and that will bring some outbreaks rain eastwards through the day. with that wet weather some fairly strong and gusty winds. so we start the morning in northern ireland and western scotland, wales and the south—west with this rain. they then move across the midlands,
north—east england, east scotland, eventually rain into the south—east, but by this stage the wet weather quite light and patchy. behind the rain band, things will brighten up. there will be showers across northern ireland and scotland into the afternoon. some of these will be quite heavy and the wind is still fairly blustery. notice the persistent rain holding on across the far north and east of scotland right through the afternoon. brighter skies into wales. a fairly cool and fresh feel to the weather. 19 in cardiff. similar in plymouth, with patchy cloud and sunny spells for the afternoon across the south—west of england. we come further east across hampshire, berkshire, into london, kent and east anglia there will be a fair amount of cloud through the afternoon. some outbreaks of rain, fairly light and patchy, extending through the coast of england. further west some bright weather developing. in the evening the cloud and patchy rain will be chased away to the east. a lot of dry weather through the night, however, some hefty showers developing across northern ireland and western scotland.
there could be the odd rumble of thunder here. temperatures overnight about 11—15 degrees. into thursday and low pressure still the dominant feature. this isn't what we expect to see on the weather charts at this point in late july. some tightly squeezed isobars, meaning there will be strong winds and some heavy showers. most frequent up to the north—west, but even further south and east we could catch the odd heavy shower and maybe a rumble of thunder. some sunny spells in between. but those temperatures no great shakes, about 16 in aberdeen, 18 in cardiff, 20 in london. another day of showers on friday. some sunny spells between the showers. then late in the day more persistent rain pushing in again across the south—west and wales. but that should move its way through on friday night and into the early hours of saturday. so the weekend is certainly not a complete washout. there will be some spells of sunshine and some heavy showers as well. some rain in forecast, but not all the time. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley.
our top stories: the us house of representatives votes overwhelmingly to impose new sanctions on russia, iran and north korea. moscow says the move would complicate relations. how long will he last? america's attorney general faces yet more public criticism from his own boss. i told you before, i'm very disappointed with the attorney general. but we will see what happens. time will tell. tales from the dark heart of the caliphate. we hear from the wives of islamic state fighters who've fled their former stronghold, raqqa. one of the vatican's most seniorfigures cardinal pell has appeared in court in australia to face multiple charges of sex abuse. he insists he's innocent. and how britain's gay culture left the shadows and became mainstream.