this is bbc news. the headlines at eight. there's disruption for many people around the uk, causing huge problems. we're stationary here on the a14. i've been here forfive hours and so have these. and the runway at stansted airport was closed twice, with some passengers spending hours on planes out on the tarmac. the first of a group of critically—ill syrian children are allowed to leave a rebel—held area of damascus. laura plummer, the britonjailed in egypt for drug offences, has been moved to a different egyptian prison. also in the next hour. prince harry takes a turn editing the today programme on radio 4. he interviewed the former us president, barack obama, who said irresponsible use of social media is spreading misinformation and reinforcing bias. southampton centre—back virgil van dijk willjoin liverpool
when the transfer window re—opens for £75 million, a world record for a defender. in halfan in half an hour i'll be looking back ona in half an hour i'll be looking back on a momentous year for science, in half an hour i'll be looking back on a momentous year for science, one that saw a spectacular finale to a 20 year mission to saturn. that's the year in good evening and welcome to bbc news. snow and ice are still causing disruption for many people in parts of the uk, with thousands of homes without power and dangerous conditions on the roads. the runway at stansted airport was closed twice during the day, with a number of flights cancelled and there are currently yellow
weather warnings for ice for parts of scotland, all of wales, the south and east of england, and the midlands. our correspondent phile mackie sent us this report from kenilworth in warwickshire. warwickshire has had a quadruple whammy, the snow, the ice, the floods and power cuts. across a central swathe of england are heeding the warnings, unlike this bmw driver. horn blasts. this lorry span out of control, leaving drivers stranded. good morning. it's just gone past ten o'clock in the morning. as you can see, we're stationary here on the a14, not going anywhere. i've been here for five hours, and...
so have these! my name is tara, i'm on the a14 trying to go eastbound to northampton. i set off from my house in hinckley at 6am this morning, i've been on the a14 for three hours now. as you can see, there's nothing going in the other direction. i'm a bit cross, i'm canadian so i'm used to this kind of weather. i know you guys are not. in the end, they were stuck for seven hours before the road was cleared. 2&1; 95; zf‘x‘ﬂség' 1.4121.- k:, fez-55,4. 7” . ., . . . .. ,, , ,. , .. _:.- - - 3 motorway network. -_ and it wasn'tjust the roads. runway. birmingham airport had to do the same for a short while too. and the weather kept ground crews busy, as planes had to be constantly de—iced. a swathe of central and southern england was worst affected, from gloucestershire,
to warwickshire, to the chilterns. and it didn'tjust lead to hazardous driving conditions. thousands of homes lost power, too. obviously the snow came in, it settles on our overhead conductor. then, with the cold wind chill, it freezes into ice and therefore that takes the conductors down. likewise, it's the same with tree branches. normally they would not be near the line but they've taken our conductors down. as the snow started to melt, there was a new danger... flood warnings followed the thaw as streams became swollen and rivers started to rise. that meant more hazards to negotiate, and not everyone made it... temperatures have noticeably dropped over the last hour or so and there isa over the last hour or so and there is a yellow warning for ice across
large areas of england and wales and that's largely the areas where the snow has already fallen. western power have told us there are 50,000 customers who lost power overnight. nearly all of them have got it back on but the last few won't get power restored until around midnight. aid workers have begun started to move critically—ill children from a rebel—held suburb near the syrian capital, damascus. four patients were taken out of ghouta overnight. another 25 are expected to be moved in the coming days although hundreds more are in urgent need of treatment. some 400,000 residents have been under siege by government forces since 2013. from beirut, our correspondent martin patience reports. seven—year—old imjy is preparing for a shortjourney, and it will almost certainly end up saving her life. she is suffering from haemophilia, but last night she was among four critically—ill patients to be evacuated to damascus for life—saving treatment.
this is what she's leaving behind. eastern ghouta is one of the last remaining rebel strongholds, fighting the government of bashar al—assad. it's been bombed and besieged for four years, with fighting intensifing in recent weeks. i think it's a combination of everybody‘s efforts, that at this really low time in syria there is a ray of light, and it's the children. it's the children who are missing growing up in syria — we must sort them out, to give syria a chance of a prosperous and peaceful future. but food is hard to come by. malnutrition is now widespread. human rights groups accuse the syrian government of trying to starve the rebels into submission. this evacuation may have the appearances of a humanitarian gesture, but that's simply not the case. we've been told by two sources that the syrian government only
agreed to it as part of a prisoner exchange. the main rebel faction in eastern ghouta agreed to free 29 syrian government hostages, and in return the same number of critically ill patients are being allowed to receive urgent medical care. but the united nations says hundreds of others need to be evacuated. among them, three—month—old karim, who was injured by government shelling. he lost his left eye. his mother was killed. despite a prominent social media campaign, he is not being allowed to leave eastern ghouta. translation: karim is injured, he's going to lose his sight. here in the ghouta he can't get treated. the doctor wants to perform an operation, so that he doesn't lose the sight in his other eye. for some there is no hope,
but for most, help is not coming any time soon. martin patience, bbc news, beirut. let's talk to ahmad tarakji, the president of the syrian american medical society. thank you forjoining us. it's good news that aid workers have begun to move some of these sick children but the fact is there are hundreds of others needing evacuation as well. thank you for the opportunity. i agree with you. it's a good day for some of the patients, now they have hope that they can be treated. u nfortu nately hope that they can be treated. unfortunately as you described, there are hundreds in urgent need of medical treatment and evacuation. u nfortu nately medical treatment and evacuation. unfortunately they are waiting for the unknown. as you highlighted, the working paper and position for the
humanitarian needs began several months ago and the un. unfortunately despite the hope that's been received today, the hope and progress hasn't followed the orders and they are afraid that the armed groups and the syrian regime will try and score points, utilising the humanitarian plight of the people. how would they do that? we know that over the last three and a half years the syrian regime has besieged ghouta, a few months after the famous chemical attack. and they are trying to put the pressure on humanitarian workers and communities to collapse. recently we have increased starvation and meli jewish and children, reported the un and other agencies —— malnutrition and
children. we are seeing a lot of pressure on the humanitarian workers. they are pushing back. u nfortu nately we workers. they are pushing back. unfortunately we feel we are left alone. not the un agencies, the international agencies are supporting our humanitarian position. many international agencies are pulling out of ghouta, putting pressure on the workers inside ghouta right now. many of them cannot provide services. so civilians are being used as weapons of war, that's a war crime, isn't it? is actually a war crime. our needs as workers and of the people is being weaponised. we want an independent humanitarian operation and we want to address the need of
the people throughout syria. u nfortu nately we the people throughout syria. unfortunately we don't have a platform to do that and we ask for support. this siege as has been going for quite a few years now. how much worst you think can get?|j think much worst you think can get?” think it can get worse. when we started this process four ‘s ago, the position paper we negotiated with the un included patients in urgent need of evacuation. now the list has grown to more than 600 people in need of urgent evacuation —— started the process four ‘s ago. those in need are women and children. the siege of ghouta is very tight right now. only limited flights are available to certain people in need. we continue to see people in need. we continue to see people dying unfortunately from being underserved. they could have been saved easily provided we could
get them some antibiotics and basic medical supplies. the un convoys are not able to deliver that and medical supplies are completely blocked. that is the most blocked item from any un convoy, medical provisions. what are the reasons being given for not allowing urgent medical supplies to get to civilians who are not caught up in the war? what is the reasoning? we've seen that throughout syria unfortunately. we saw it last year in the city of aleppo. we know that every town is besieged and they have either the kneel or starve approach. we know
that in every town, including ghouta, when the health system colla pses, ghouta, when the health system collapses, the community will surrender. that's one part. our part is the displacement of those people. you are forcing people against their will out of their towns and you using their medical needs to force a policy on them. as you say, that's a war crime. another medieval siege in the 21st—century. thank you for joining us. the family of the briton laura plummer, who has been jailed in egypt after prohibited painkillers were discovered in her luggage, says she has been transferred to another prison. earlier i spoke to our correspondent matthew thompson, who is following developments in egypt. what we do know from speaking to the family and her lawyer is that she has been moved to an infamous kenna prison
in upper egypt. it is one hour's drive from luxor. it is notorious both for its inmates, human rights groups say it contains a number of so—called islamic state fighters but most significantly for the squalor in which it is supposed to exist. the lawyer has said they're trying to get laura moved to another more sanitary prison closer to cairo but it is not certain if that will be possible. on christmas day, when the trial was meant to happen, it had to be stopped in large part because of laura just not being in a fit state to continue. what is meant to have happened is that she has been following the proceedings of the trial through translation and she was in such a state that she misunderstood some of the translation and ended up actually confessing when she had no intention of doing that. so it sounds as if she's not in a great place and i do not think going to a squalid prison will do much to help.
the former us president, barack obama, in one of his few interviews since leaving office last january, has warned about the irresponsible use of social media. he said social media was, in some cases, distorting people's understanding of complex issues, spreading misinformation and reinforcing people's bias. mr obama was interviewed by prince harry in his capacity as guest editor of radio 4's today programme, as our royal correspondent nicholas witchell reports. prince harry, first of all. you are very welcome to our studio. good morning. joining the today programme for the day had been a big learning curve, harry said, but he had enjoyed being the interviewer rather than the interviewed. it was quite fun, especially interviewing president obama. his principal scoop had been to persuade barack obama to give his first interview since standing down as us president. the word "trump" was never mentioned but may have been in mr obama's mind when he warned about the use of social media. all of us in leadership have to find ways in which we can recreate a common space on the internet.
one of the dangers of the internet is that people can have entirely different realities. they can be just cocooned in the information that reinforces their current biases. harry had also interviewed his father — the main focus had been on climate change. the issue prince charles has championed for decades and for which he was sometimes derided. maybe now, some years later, they are beginning to realise that what i was trying to say may not have been quite as dotty as they thought. i mean, the issue really that has to go on being focused on, big time, i think, is this one around the whole issue of climate change which now, whether we like it or not, is the biggest threat multiplier we face. and then, at the end of the programme, it was time to face questions rather than ask them. first about his fiancee, meghan markle, and herfirst christmas at sandringham. she really enjoyed it. the family loved having her there.
and yeah, it's. .. there's always that family part of christmas. work element as well and i think, you know, together we have an amazing time. great fun, staying with my brother and sister in law. harry's commitment to issues he cares about like the armed forces and mental health had come through strongly. so how does he see his future? part of my role and part of myjob is to shine a spotlight on issues that need that spotlight, whether it's people, whether its causes, whether its issues, whatever it is. so i will continue to play my part in society and do myjob to the best of my ability, so i can wake up in the morning and feel energised, and go to bed hopefully knowing i've done the best that i can. not so long ago, harry admitted to having doubts about a royal role. clearly no longer. nicholas witchell, bbc news. the headlines on bbc news: there's disruption for many
people around the uk, with snow and ice causing problems. the runway at stansted airport was closed twice, with some passengers spending hours on planes out on the tarmac. the first of a group of critically ill syrian children are allowed to leave a rebel held area of damascus. sport now, and for a full round up, from the bbc sport centre, here's mark. manchester city are on the hunt for an unprecedented 18th successive premier league victory they're away at newcastle. and it's been all one—way traffic. victory for city would see them going 15 points clear at the top of the premier league. and raheem sterling has finally made the breakthrough for city after half an hour. no surprises with pep guardiola's side enjoying almost all the possession. 1-0
1—0 after 33 minutes. hearts are taking on hibs in the edinburgh derby in the scottish premiership this evening. hibs could move level with rangers in third with a win at tynecastle. and the visitors should've had the lead early on. there's no goal line technology used in scottish football at present, so the officials couldn't check to see if this shot from oli shaw had gone in. the replays show it had, but the linesman said no goal, so it remains 0—0, much to hibs manager neil lennon's frustration. meawhile hamilton academical‘s match with kilmarnock has been postponed with the pitch deemed unplayable but three matches under way in the scottish premiership. stjohnstone1—0 at ross county. dennyjohnston with the only goal of the game so far, that one coming afterjust 2 minutes. liverpool have finally got their man after announcing this evening that southampton's virgil van dijk is joining the club at the beginning of the year in what will be a world record dealfor a defender at £75 million. the dutch international was expected to make the move to anfield last summer after he handed in a transfer request.
but a move eventually collapsed when liverpool had to apologise for making an alleged illegal approach for the 26—year—old. finally a bit of christmas cheer for england as former captain alastair cook made his first ashes century for almost seven years. the visitors finishing on top after day two of the fourth test. cook's knock helping england close on 192—2, after stuart broad had earlier returned his best figures of 2017 taking 4—51 to spark an australia collapse. patrick gearey was in melbourne for us. this wasn't the day we were expecting. we thought we'd come to the mcg to see steve smith get a huge score. he wasn't hadn't dismissed at this ground in a test match in 15 years so imagine the surprise when he played one onto his stu m ps after surprise when he played one onto his stumps after half an hour, giving tom curran his first wicket. mitchell marsh went next in the same way to chris woakes and then stuart
broad andjimmy way to chris woakes and then stuart broad and jimmy anderson, england's most successful bowling partnership of all time, took charge. broad bowling with great skill, answering those asking to have him dropped. australia lost their last seven wickets for 87 runs. mark stoneman was caught and bowled. james vince went to lbw which he should have reviewed. the evening session was all about alastair cook, getting his first 50 of the series, he was dropped by steve smith on 66 and scored his century in the last over of the day. australia frustrated in the sweltering heat. it may be too little and too late for the ashes but england have had their best day of the series so far. they are still fighting. we created quite a lot of pressure yesterday and we were rewarded with wickets today. we were
very patient yesterday. when it reversed a bit things could have gone differently for us. today we got lucky with a couple of chop ons and a couple of wickets that australia are from the disappointed with but we are delighted with. —— probably disappointed with. it's been a tough couple of weeks but it makes playing and taking wickets very rewarding. that's all the sport for now. i'll have more for you in sportsday at 10.30. the company that ran grenfell tower is handing back control of its other properties to the local council, saying it can no longer give tenants the service they expect. the kensington and chelsea tenant management organisation has responsibility for 9,000 properties, as andy moore reports. grenfell tower is owned by the local council, but it was run by one of the largest tenant management organisations in the country. this body manages thousands
of properties in the area. it was this management organisation that made the now—controversial decision to refurbish grenfell tower in cladding suspected of fuelling the fire. both it and the local council are now under investigation by the police, over possible corporate manslaughter charges. the organisation has now sent out a letter saying it would be in the best interests of all residents that the services which the tenant management organisation currently provides are handed back to the council. the handover, which will start at the end of next month, means the royal borough of kensington and chelsea will take over repairs and day—to—day running. but a resident on the grenfell recovery scrutiny committee says the council isn't up to the job of running a large housing stock, when, he claims, it has failed to deal effectively with the aftermath of the fire. and there's also a fear the tenant management organisation could escape criminal responsibility if it ceases to be a functioning company. the organisation said that wouldn't happen.
the royal borough of kensington and chelsea said it saw this as a temporary measure and residents would ultimately decide how they wanted their homes managed. for the survivors of grenfell, who recently attended a memorial at st paul's cathedral, this comes as one more complication, after the rejection of a special panel to work with the public inquiry and reported delays in special christmas payments. andy moore, bbc news. for decades, conservationists in africa have struggled to preserve the continent's elephant population using variety of techniques and methods to prevent poaching. now an organisation that manages national parks across nine african countries is using military tactics to try to deal with the poachers. one of their big success stories has been in chad, at the zakouma national park, where 90% of elephants were lost over four decades. when african parks took over there were fewer than 500 left. our correspondent alastair leithead
travelled to the remote region where the elephant population is finally recovering. they were the herd heading for extinction. but the elephants of zakouma national park have made a dramatic recovery. translation: before, there used to be elephant carcasses everywhere . so what has been the difference, since african parks took over? translation: since african parks arrived here, we no longer see carcasses of elephants in the park. across the continent, a private, not—for—profit conservation group called african parks believes it has the answer to saving africa's disappearing wildlife. and it's controversial. they are arming rangers and giving them military—style training. in some places, it's become a war against poachers. adoum allam is a sniper with fast response unit mamba number two. his father was killed
by poachers in this park. he jumped at the chance to join. "it's a very dangerous job but i love doing it", he said. it's a good income. but it's also personal. this was zakouma, ten years ago. decades of poaching killed 90% of the park's elephants and many rangers as well. but, today, it's a much healthier picture. they haven't lost an elephant in two years or a ranger since 2012. and last year, the population started to grow again. there were more than 20,000 elephants in this parkjust 40 years ago, but now there arejust over 500. what's encouraging, though, is that they've now got babies, they're reproducing, their numbers are starting to go up. and if the poachers can be kept at bay, the population is going to recover. this is the best way to counter raids from the heavily
armed sudanese horsemen. the main perpetrators who've been poaching ivory here for centuries. but now, both sides have automatic weapons. and local communities are a key to success. schools are being built, kids are learning about conservation. villagers now often tip off the rangers, if poachers are seen nearby. african parks take on delegated management of protected areas in africa. normally where public sector has failed, african parks will step in and, with donorfunding, will then manage protected areas. but eventually it should pay for itself. zakouma is now attracting high—end adventure tourists who cover one third of the park's budget. other, marginal reserves in africa will never make money. animals have to be worth more alive than dead, notjust to rich westerners, but to local people as well.
alastair leithead, bbc news, zakouma national park, in chad. time for the all—important weather news now. the pairfor some slippery conditions if you're going out tonight or tomorrow morning. ice is likely to become a problem. could see some icy stretches just about anywhere but particularly where we keep win ree showers overnight and under largely clear skies to temperatures will continue plummeting, almost everywhere getting some frost but in some places out in the countryside where there is snow cover, could see tempered as well below freezing. thursday could start with some freezing fog over northern ireland and if it forms it will be reluctant to clear. elsewhere a lot of clear winter sunshine. winter ree showers in north—east scotland, temperatures at best 2—6d. we will see a more
active area of rain with some sleet and snow in places moving through on friday and by the weekend, things beginning to turn significantly milder. that's all from me for now. this is bbc news — our latest headlines... heavy snow and ice have been causing disruption across many parts of the country, with hazardous conditions on the roads, and thousands of homes without power. the environment agency has issued 11 flood warnings, and more than 90 flood alerts in england and wales. the first of a group of critically—ill syrian patients have been evacuated from a rebel—held suburb near damascus. aid groups had urged president assad to allow treatment for dozens of urgent cases, including seven children with cancer. the family of the briton laura plummer, jailed in egypt for drug offences, says she has already been transferred to a notorious prison. laura plummer‘s lawyer told the bbc that he is planning to apply
for her to be moved to another prison with better conditions closer to cairo. prince harry has set out how he views his role as a senior royal. he promises to remain above politics,— but shine a light on certain issues and causes. he was speaking as guest editor of radio 4's today programme this morning. and southampton's virgil van dijk will become the world's most expensive defender when the january transfer window opens, as liverpool have announced they will be signing him for £75 million, more than £20 million higher than the current record. now on bbc news, rebecca morelle looks back on the year in science — from a spectacular eclipse that wowed millions of americans to the end of a 20—year mission to saturn. this is review 2017: the year in science.