hello. i'm tom donkin. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. our top stories: president trump's health secretary quits, after using expensive private planes for government business. but as tom price departs, could others now follow? mass rallies in catalonia in support of sunday's planned independence referendum. spain says the vote violates the constitution and won't go ahead. the us cuts its diplomats in cuba by more than half and warns its citizens to stay away. it says mystery attacks have injured several embassy staff. and, at the eu summit in estonia, the head of the european commission says brexit talks "need a miracle" to keep them on track. hello and welcome to bbc world news.
the us health secretary tom price has been forced to resign after dragging president trump's white house into another scandal, this time over the use of private jets. mr price promised to repay more than $50,000 after it was revealed he took private charter flights, instead of going commercial. a little earlier my colleague kasia madera got the latest from the bbc‘s laura bicker in washington. donald trump pledged his supporters that he would come to washington to drain the swamp, to end politics as usual. here we are, his own health secretary is seen swanning around on private planes when the official government business should always be done on commercial planes. so when it comes to how he's going to persuade his supporters that he's the man in charge, that he is going to continue to rail against the elite and he can sort out his own cabinet, he needs to have shown
that his own health secretary is following the rules. he is said to have been absolutely furious with mr price. and here we are, friday evening in washington, and yet another resignation. i think the other problem with this scandal is that it has been a huge distraction for the white house. you've had several attempts at healthcare reform. there is a hurricane crisis in puerto rico and donald trump is trying to reform taxes here in the united states. all the while he's doing it, republicans and democrats are still not coming on board. so he now has a health secretary and other members of his cabinet using private planes during government business and simply mr price had to go. absolutely, laura. as you mentioned, the timing is absolutely dreadful. tom price isn't the only one, as you suggested there, who has a bit of an interest in private planes, is not the only
one to use them for government business. can you elaborate more on that? well, we have the treasury secretary steve mnuchin, the interior secretary and the environment chief, all three members of cabinet are under investigation for their private plane use. so far that's still under investigation. there are allegations that that newspapers have been digging and posting, a number of... certainly times when each of those members of cabinet have used private planes. when it comes to that kind of usage, it is something that donald trump supporters, the blue—collar workers, are simply not going to support. so donald trump will probably be looking at that too. this is also not following the rules. a number of the people that he hired onto his team have been wealthy bankers or people with wealthy backgrounds.
so when they're seen swanning around in a private plane seats, it doesn't look good for donald trump. the other issue is that this is the 14th member of donald trump's administration to resign or be fired since he took office. the rest have been members of the white house administration, this is the first cabinet member. but to lose 1a members of your administration in such a short time doesn't look good. the bbc‘s laura bicker in washington. thousands of catalan separatists have held a final rally ahead of sunday's planned referendum on independence from spain. the head of the regional government, told the crowd he believed catalonia would become a sovereign nation. but madrid is trying to block the vote, calling it unconstitutional. and a court has ordered google to block an app, telling people where to cast their vote. tom burridge is in barcelona. chanting tonight, a call to vote on a yes—no question,
should their region break away from spain? it's true that a lot of people are waiting this moment lots of years. to vote 7 to vote, and i hope it will be yes. but beyond the fiesta, there is deep uncertainty. and in the palace at the heart of catalonia's devolved government, the leader disobeying spain's courts and government. a referendum on sunday, he says, will go ahead. translation: the overwhelming majority of people in catalonia want to vote, to decide. not like this. yes, but what other option did we have? we've offered to negotiate. this vote is not a crime. but there is a catch. many in spain's richest region only want a referendum with madrid's consent.
likejose gonzales. born in malaga, barcelona has been his home for 66 years. "0ur families and friends are divided," he says. "we can barely talk about politics any more." in madrid today, a mock vote. they want catalonia to remain part of spain. and like their government, they don't recognise sunday's referendum. it is not a question of stopping people voting. well, that's what you want to do this weekend. no, no. let me be clear on this. in catalonia, they vote, they vote on local elections, european elections, according to the law. sure, but not... what they are trying to do is an illegal self—determination consultation. this evening, after—school activities, a bid by parents
to occupy polling stations and prevent the police from shutting them down. barcelona, and its region, walking into the unknown. listen to this nightly ritual. a protest of pots and pans. rhythmic clinking ringing out across the city. people who say they will vote. let's take a look at some of the other stories making the news. the united nations is to send war crimes investigators to yemen, after a compromise agreement overcame objections from saudi arabia. the un human rights council unanimously adopted a resolution that will establish, what is described as, a group of eminent regional and international experts to examine all violations committed by all parties in the conflict. president trump will attend
a summit of south—east asian nations in manila. the white house says he'll travel to several states in november. he'll visit china, south korea, japan, vietnam and the philippines. the crisis in north korea is likely to dominate. ryanair says it's agreed to implement measures ordered by the uk's airline regulator, the caa, to ensure all passengers affected by flight cancellations are aware of their rights. it's updated its website and e—mailed customers affected by its decision to ground hundreds of flights in the coming weeks. the us diplomatic presence in cuba will be cut by more than half and american citizens have been warned not to visit. this was the announcement from the state department after what they called mysterious "attacks", which have caused hearing loss, fatigue and dizziness among those working in the us embassy. cuba has responded, saying the decision is hasty and will affect relations. barbara plett—usher reports. this was supposed to mark
the beginning of better relations between cuba and the us. but little more than a year after the mission was formally reopened in havana, us employees began to report hearing loss and other mystery health problems. the americans now say their diplomats are being attacked. they do not know who, or with what, but they have decided no longer safe for them. only a skeleton staff will remain. it will be a blow for us travellers. many were excited by washington's historic opening with cuba in 2015. there's no evidence that private citizens have been attacked, but the state department is warning they could be at risk. president 0bama took a risk by renewing ties with cuba's communist leaders. he was convinced it was in america's interests. and the cuban government has denied any role in this bizarre and troubling episode. it has been helping with the investigation. but the secretary of
state, rex tillerson, has pointedly reminded havana it has an obligation to protect us government employees and their families. relations had begun to strain under the weight of the new president who rolled back some elements of the agreement. you're going to see what's happened in cuba. they did some bad things and you will see what happened. cuba says the decision to downsize the embassy was hasty and will further affect ties. the ending of hostilities between the two cold war enemies was a legacy moment for president 0bama. celebrated with scenes that could have been filmed for a feelgood american movie. now sabotaged by a plot that could have been written for a cold war spy novel. barbara plett usher reports, bbc news, havana. to explain a sonic attack and why might it be used,
here's robin cleveland. a professor of engineering science at the university of oxford. the amount of data that has been provided is quite limited but the reports suggest that people who have been suffering from these effects have heard things, all sorts of different sounds. the sounds they've been reported haven't themselves been loud enough to affect their hearing, but assuming it was some frequency above what we can normally here, what we refer to as ultrasound, effects such as dizziness and nausea that have been well reported in the literature when there have been ultrasonic sound waves used. they are short wavelengths so you have the ability to target individuals or small areas of space. so it's certainly plausible. hard to say without more information at the moment. it is also possible that a lot of the electronics we use now generate ultrasonic waves and it is something that started to be of concern in the acoustics community
in the last five years or so, is that these ultrasonic waves are around us all the time and probably do impact us without us realising because we cannot here. it is possible that it could come from other devices but the fact that the us state department has said they have identified it as attacks specifically on some of their personnel seems unlikely that they just somehow inadvertently have been affected and nobody else. president trump has defended his response to the hurricanes that have ripped through puerto rico, saying aid efforts have been hampered by the fact the territory is an island. the governor of puerto rico has said more aid is getting through, although there's an issue of who will pay for it. david campanale has more. puerto rico faces a series of challenges unprecedented in its recent history. even before hurricane maria struck, the island was hit by a deluge of another kind. a torrent of debt. $72 billion that puerto rico has no means to repay. over a week on from the category 5
storm, islanders continue to pull out what they can salvage from under their collapsed homes. but puerto rico has already submitted to the crushing weight of local government debt. in may, the island filed for america's biggest ever municipal bankruptcy and now there are questions over how much of a role the federal government will play in the crisis. and the response and recovery effort probably has never been seen for something like this. this is an island surrounded by water — big water, ocean water. ultimately the government of puerto rico will have to work with us to determine how this massive rebuilding effort will end up being one of the biggest ever, will be funded and organised, and what we will do with the tremendous amount of existing debt.
most of the island's 3.4 million residents face a tenth day without the basics and their political leaders believe not enough is being done. iam begging, begging anyone that can hear us to save us from dying. federal authorities are now rising to the enormity of the crisis caused by hurricane maria. it is also one that will take not days but months to overcome. david campanale, bbc news. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: killed by is militants in syria. tributes are paid to the british film—maker targeted for working with kurdish rebels. in all russia's turmoil, it has never come to this. president yeltsin said the day would decide the nation's destiny. the nightmare that so many people have feared for so long is playing
out its final act here. russians are killing russians in front of a grandstand audience. it was his humility which produced affection from catholics throughout the world. but his departure is a tragedy for the catholic church. israel's right—winger ariel sharon visited the religious compound and that started the trouble. he wants israel alone to have sovereignty over the holy sites, an idea that's unthinkable to palestinians. after 45 years of division, germany is one. in berlin, a million germans celebrate the rebirth of europe's biggest and richest nation. hello.
this is bbc news. the latest headlines: the us health secretary, tom price, has resigned amid an outcry over his use of private jets for government travel. campaigners have taken to the streets of catalonia, as the region prepares for an independence referendum that spain has banned. the united states has confirmed it won't recognise a referendum by iraqi kurds on independence from baghdad. tensions have increased, since 92% of voters in the area backed the move. iraq's central government has responded by suspending international flights to and from the region. 0ur correspondent mark lowen reports from irbil‘s airport. the last passengers are arriving here at irbil‘s airport to take flights out of the country before all flights will be suspended this evening. we've spoken to some passengers who say they're flying out early
because of the suspension of international flights. they don't know when they will be allowed back in here. it's the first major punitive step taken by the iraqi government in baghdad, in response to the disputed kurdish independence referendum that the iraqi government does not accept. the kurdish authorities are calling the action illegal and unconstitutional and they say it's collective punishment for the kurdish people. there is a lot of angry rhetoric about regarding the independence referendum. the iraqi government say they will only sit and talk to the kurds once the referendum and null and void. turkey and iran have hit out at the referendum because they want to keep their own kurdish minorities in check. and yet there's no real demand or for fresh conflict here. there is the belief that only dialogue is the viable way forward and when that will come is not clear. the un says it will mediate between both sides, but expect days of tension to heighten over the days and weeks ahead before they might ease. mark lowen in irbil.
meanwhile, tributes have been paid to the british film maker who was killed whilst working alongside kurdish forces fighting so called islamic state in syria. mehmet aksoy died when the military base where he was stationed, was attacked by is fighters on tuesday. his sister has described him as a family man, who was committed to the battle forjustice. she's been speaking to rickin majithia from the bbc‘s asian network. mehmet aksoy travelled to syria to film alongside the ypg, a kurdish rebel group backed by the united states in its fight against the islamic state group. we make photo stories, we tell the stories of fighters and civilians. last weekend he travelled to raqqa, one of the last remaining is strongholds. he upload his arrival to social media, but within days he was ambushed
and killed by gunmen. speaking for the first time, his little sister has paid tribute to her brother. i know that no—one will everforget him, and i would like him to be remembered as a very courageous, loving... he was just perfect. he was kind, he had — you know, he always had positive things to say, even if someone thought negative about something, he always had a way to, you know, change their views, or maybe just encourage them. did you ever encourage him to come home? my mum always did but i never said don't go or don't do this. maybe i should have, but he was happy there so i didn't try to persuade him. i don't want people to think, "0h, he shouldn't have gone there" — it was too soon, obviously.
he was happy there and that is where he wanted to be. i just want everyone to know that. hundreds of mourners have turned up to this kurdish community centre in north london to pay tribute. the vigil is expected to continue until these bodies repatriated to the uk. the foreign and commonwealth office says it has been unable to confirm his whereabouts but has reiterated its advice against travel to syria. preparations are under way for a cease—fire in colombia between the government and eln. the leader of the group, known as gabino, ordered the group, known as gabino, ordered the cease—fire on sunday, to run to january. both sides have been in peace talks in ecuador since january. there's been another huge rockfall in california's yosemite national park, a day after a massive granite slab fell from the famous el capitan vertical rock formation, killing a british man and seriously injuring his wife. authorities say the second rockfall in yosemite injured one person who was airlifted to hospital. james cook has the story. it is a climber‘s worst nightmare.
the thunder and dust of a giant rockfall, the second in as many days. we were right under that. we were right under that, and i'm really afraid there are people there. this climber filmed the unfolding drama on his helmet camera. the first five rock falls... perched atop the monolith of el capitan, climbers looked on as the dust lingered for hours. andrew foster was the victim of the first rockfall. just 32 years old, originally from gloucestershire, and living in cardiff. his wife, lucy, was injured and taken to hospital. the couple called themselves "passionate weekend warriors". the second rockfall rattled several climbers, including rachel evans, whose husband was hurt. paramedics sped to the scene,
flying one person to hospital for treatment. i said "the mountain's exploding — it's falling, it's falling"! so we were driving as fast as we could. at the same time, my husband reached up and said, "my head, my head," because it was bleeding profusely and hurting. and yet the daring are up again today, including one climber who was just 300 metres from the first deadly rockfall. it definitely worries me that we were standing underneath the rockfall zone like 15 minutes before it happened, or 20 minutes before it happened, but that was just like a stroke of amazing luck that we had to be out of there, you know, atjust the right time. el capitan draws people, lures then in, because it is untamed, because of the risks. this tragedy will not stop them from gambling in the wilderness. now, 50 years ago, the bbc launched radio one, with tony blackburn as the first dj on air.
others who followed, have become household names, including kenny everett, john peel, and more recently chris moyles. this weekend, a series of special programmes will celebrate radio 0ne's half century on the air. 0ur arts correspondent david sillito reports. 0ne... bbc radioi... we are celebrating 50 years. go! there we are. radio i, bright, young, and 50 years old. 50 years, they give you the opportunity to reflect and celebrate, but, importantly, look to the future. because that future is a bit of a worry — in an age of smart phones and streaming, can old—style radio stations remain essential listening, given the radio is, for many, a bit of a mystery. can i give you this? yeah... you've got it upside down at the moment.
how do you find radio i on there? i'll try. i have no idea. but you've never used a radio, have you? no. never. is this how you find signals? this? you've never held a radio, have you? you are making me feel very old today. good morning everyone and welcome to the exciting newshour on radio i. but not quite as old as this well—known face, who will, tomorrow, recreate this, the first ever news hour. i listen to some of the things i was doing on the breakfast show and cringe at some of the things i was doing, like the knocking knees club, and some of the stuff, you just think, that is awful. i've got lovely kneeca ps, just listen to this... but that era, it was ok. it was all right. it is also a reminder of a time 21 million were tuning in every week. the djs were as big as the artists.
i mean, we could go everywhere and we'd be absolutely mobbed. it was very nice. i enjored it. —— i enjoyed it. we are made for the trade, and this is... however, it is not all doomed. about 90% of us to listen to the radio each week. new stations continue to open — there is one just for builders, and did find one radio—savvy teenager. you have done it in one? i am legend! do you ever listen to the radio? no. david sillito, bbc news. 50 yea rs of 50 years of radio i. 50 years of radio 1. let's end in china, where they have been preparing for the upcoming national day by showcasing their most famous animal. all of these panda cubs were born this year, making it an impressive celebration this year. and you can get in touch with me and most of the team on twitter. i'm @tomdonkinbbc. for now, goodbye. hello.
some of us may get off to a fine start on saturday morning, but by looking at the big picture you can work out why that is not going to last. several weather systems queueing up in the atlantic to come our way, so we will all have rain at some stage of the weekend and the winds will be picking up as well. this is how it looks for early rises. wales and north—west england with cloud and outbreaks of rain. a lot of cloud in the rest of england. showers spreading east as the day goes on. a lot of fine weather in northern ireland, with variable cloud and sunny spells. after morning showers in scotland, the afternoon looks drier, with fewer showers, more sunshine. there's your fine weather in northern ireland. some sunny spells in northern england as well. but for the midlands, east anglia, south—east england, likely to be a fair amount of cloud around and an increased chance of showers spreading east in the afternoon. for wales and western areas of england, we keep a lot of cloud throughout and the rain gathers again by late afternoon and into the evening.
another spell of wet weather moves in and covers much of the uk as we go through saturday night and into sunday morning. the wind picking up as well. in northern ireland we have some especially heavy rain coming in by the end of saturday night. a mild start to sunday and a mild sunday to come. it won't feel like that in the wind. cloud around. a wet morning in northern ireland. heavy rain spreading across scotland. for the rest of england and wales there will be some outbreaks spreading eastwards as the day goes on. of course it is windy on sunday. coastal gales in the west. the wet weather clearing through much of scotland and northern ireland as it brightens up. a few showers around, but the wind will get even stronger, especially in scotland. so it will be very blustery in scotland for the great scottish run and expect a lot of rain in the morning, clearing in the afternoon. there will be some rain, although not as persistent
as the rain in scotland, but some outbreaks moving through during sunday. but it's close to this low pressure going into monday where we expect some really nasty wind for a time, especially in parts of scotland. the further north you are, severe gales, up to 70 mph. gusts in the northern england could be up to 50—60 mph, so that could be disruptive. showers towards the north—west and some spells of persistent rain into northwest scotland. so the weekend starts on a fine note for some, but we will all have rain moving in and the winds picking up as well, especially sunday and into monday. this is bbc news. the headlines: the us health secretary, tom price, has resigned. he'd faced mounting pressure from president trump for using expensive privatejets
to travel on government business. the trips are reported to have cost the taxpayer more than $1 million. two other members of the cabinet are under scrutiny for their travel. thousands of catalan separatists have held a final rally ahead of sunday's planned referendum on independence from spain. the head of the regional government told the crowd he believed catalonia would now become a sovereign nation. madrid's trying to block the vote, claiming it is unconstitutional. the us has warned americans not to travel to cuba and has pulled half the staff from its embassy in havana, after a spate of sonic attacks. more than 20 people have suffered symptoms, including dizziness and brain trauma. the cause remains a mystery. now on bbc news, does the world have generation z wrong? generation z are those aged 16 to 22.