this is bbc news. the headlines at 3pm. ministers are urged not to bail out the troubled construction company, carillion, as the bbc understands high level government meetings are to take place this weekend. it can't possiblyjust bail out the company because then you have a position where the private sector is allowed to privatise profits but then the government nationalises the losses — a problem we had with the banks. the african union demands an apology from president trump — for derogatory remarks he reportedly made about the continent. warnings of a tooth decay crisis amongst children in england. a record 43,000 operations to remove rotting teeth were carried out last year. also in the next hour. tributes are paid to bella emberg, who has died at the age of 80. brace yourself! the comedy actor who became
a household name on the russ abbot show is described as "a huge comedy talent", les dennis said she was a "funny, lovely friend". and click is in las vegas to report on the world's biggest tech show. that's in half an hour, here on bbc news. good afternoon and welcome to bbc news. the leader of the liberal democrats, sir vince cable, has warned the government not to agree to bailout the construction company carillion with tax payers money. there are fears the firm, which has debts of £1.5 billion, could collapse after creditors rejected a possible rescue plan.
carillion employs about 20,000 people in the uk and is one of the government's main contractors. our business correspondent joe lynam reports. this is liverpool's newest hospital under construction, it will be the biggest single—bed hospital in the uk and it's being built by carillion. now there's concern that projects like this could be affected if the company collapses. from prisons to hospitals, to schools and rail, carillion is responsible for some of the uk's largest infrastructure projects. should the government bail out the debt—laden company? i think what needs to happen in this case, the contracts have to be kept going, and supporting the supply chain and the tens of thousands of workers. that can be done by the government taking much of this in—house or re—tendering in other cases. the government can'tjust do a financial bailout. the shareholders and creditors, the big banks, have to take a hit, they can't just off—load all the losses onto the taxpayer.
carillion is a major british company with hundreds of contracts running prisons, maintaining hospitals and mod facilities. with almost 20,000 employees here and tens of thousands more dependent on the company. but it has run up debts of £1.5 billion including almost £1 billion to its banks, whose patience has run out. britain's biggest ever rail infrastructure project, hsz, begins major construction this year, and here at euston station. carillion is supposed to build it. but given its mountain of debts, there is a very real chance the government might step in and have to give those contracts to other companies or simply bail the company out. with all the moral hazard that comes with that. so what would happen to other companies that carillion had passed on some work to? i'm concerned about the supply chains and how they are going to get paid because it is macro is
operating a 120 day payment period and we are truly concerned as to whether they will get paid —— biton is operating. they also have millions of pounds of attention is held back from these firms —— rete ntions held back from these firms —— retentions held back from these firms. if carillion cannot be saved or restructured, the consultants ey have been put on notice to take over as administrators. it's a precautionary measure which the government and thousands of staff hope will not be needed. the african union has demanded an apology from president trump after he reportedly used a crude term to describe nations on the continent. it was apparently made during an oval office meeting on immigration with members of congress. the union, which represents 55 african countries, expressed its "shock, dismay and outrage" and said the trump administration misunderstood africans. 0ur north america correspondent
peter bowes reports. it has been an extraordinary week, even by donald trump's standards. it ended with a medical, a routine checkup that all presidents undergo and word from mr trump's doctor that the commander in chief is in excellent health. but the past two days have seen the president mired in controversy, as donald trump arrives in florida to spend the weekend at his golf resort, the international community is still fuming over his alleged use of crude language to describe african countries. as the african union we were quite appalled and infuriated, outraged, by the comments. and for a country like the united states, which is a valued partner for the africans, this is quite a shock. from the united nations in geneva came the stiffest of rebukes. these are shocking and shameful comments from the president of the united states. i'm sorry but there's no other word one can use but racist. you cannot dismiss entire
countries and continents. the allegation has gone unanswered by the president. he had an opportunity at this ceremony in celebration of martin luther king. but it was awkward. after signing a proclamation in honour of the civil rights leader, mr trump dodged the most uncomfortable of questions. mr president, are you a racist? the president left without responding. he earlier tweeted that he'd used tough language in a meeting with senators but not the derogatory language attributed to him. peter bowes, bbc news. meanwhile, a speech this morning by the mayor of london, sadiq khan, has been disrupted by protesters shouting support for brexit and president trump. mr khan's address to the fabian society in london was suspended for several minutes while the demonstrators were taken out of the building by police. yesterday, mr khan welcomed donald trump's decision to cancel his visit to the uk, saying the president had "got the message" that londoners didn't
agree with his policies or actions. iran has said the us has crossed a "red line" by imposing sanctions on the head of itsjudiciary and has vowed to retaliate. ayatollah sadeq amoli—larijani is among 1a individuals and bodies targeted. iran also rejected any changes to its nuclear deal with world powers. president trump has warned that he'll re—impose sanctions on iran in less than four months — a move that would undermine the agreement under which tehran curbed its nuclear programme. earlier i spoke to dr siavush randjbar—daemi from the university of manchester, who said the fallout of the anti government demonstrations in iran was still being felt. i think these new sanctions are a consequence of the recent protests we have seen in iran. and the fact that the white house wanted to show a reaction. donald trump and the white house were very vocal, trying to offer
support to the protesters, while they were in the streets. however, i think the reaction of the white house was muted because it didn't manage to get the europeans on board for the nuclear sanctions. and in the latest meetings between foreign ministers and european and russian counterparts this week, we saw the rest of the 5+1 group really coalescing around the nuclear sanctions that are working. is there a feeling in iran that any benefits that come from the nuclear deal are being undermined by the sanctions being imposed on individuals? yes, iran is furious. 0n the one side because it it always upholds the various stance
and it is opposed to sanctions against any of their officials. and this also affects the business reputation of iran and it creates reputational risks for companies with interests in america who are looking to invest in iran. the business climate as a whole has not improved by these american sanctions and iran is coming to grips with a lot of informal measures that inhibit western companies from investing in iran and these sanctions could be an example of that. what is their reaction likely to be? they have spoken about taking some sort of retaliation. it's not very clear. at times in the past iran has stated that it will remain in the current
nuclear deal as long as it receives its side of the bargain. and iran increasingly is getting frustrated regarding this and the claim of the iranian government is that iran is not getting its side of the deal. iran could start the resumption of some form of nuclear activity which has been mothballed by the deal. this has been stated by the head of the iranian atomic agency in the last weeks and months. and it could also start to be more emphatic in its patrolling of persian gulf waters and its interaction with american vessels there. there are a range of options which iran has. it needs to be seen, however, whether any one of these will be chosen. iran has had a verbal rather
than practical reaction to the trump administration's progressive distancing from the 0bama nuclear deal. but are you suggesting that iran could step up its nuclear programme as a reaction to these fresh sanctions? i don't think it will step up the nuclear programme by going back to what the nuclear programme was, say, around a decade ago. but it could engage in piecemeal resumption of some aspects. for example, the enrichment of uranium beyond the cap which was established by the vienna accord of 2015. it was stated by the iranian atomic agency that iran could resume some parts of its activities should the americans or other parties step away from the nuclear deal.
now, consumers can no longer be charged extra, simply because they're paying by card. from today, it'll be unlawful to charge credit or debit customers more than other customers. it's hoped the ban will benefit shoppers and holiday—makers who buy goods online or in small stores. some retailers have already said they will raise overall prices in response to the change. adina campbell reports they're the small fees added at the very end of the buying process. in percentage terms it may not be that much, but these card surcharges add up. not any more. under new eu rules, retailers on or offline can no longer charge customers for paying with a credit or debit card. the treasury says these surcharges cost consumers £166 million every year. but some companies such as concert venues can still charge a booking or service fee. no longer will they be
penalised just for paying by credit or debit card. now, with the end of surcharges, you're comparing like for like. the price you see is the price you pay. you don't get a nasty sting at the end. but some small businesses are concerned the new ban could hit profits. nearly 63% of our sales are by credit card and debit card so it will affect us in the long—term if rates and increased rates do go up. for retailers like this hardware store, today's ban throws up several options. they may decide to suck up the cost of processing a debit or credit card. alternatively, they could simply put up their prices or they may decide to re—brand these fees as a service charge. 0ne business that's already been criticised is the delivery company, just eat, which has said it will impose new charges on customers who pay by card and others may go on to do the same. there are now calls for the new changes to be closely monitored to ensure consumers are not punished for paying by plastic.
adina campbell, bbc news. the headlines on bbc news: the liberal democrats warned ministers not to agree to a taxpayer funded by that of the troubled construction company carillion, the bbc understands high—level meetings with the government are underway. the african union demands an apology from president trump — for derogatory remarks he reportedly made about the continent. dentists are warning of a tooth decay crisis amongst children in england. a record 43,000 operations to remove rotting teeth were carried out last year. and in sport the past two premier league champions are facing each oher. chelsea are hosting leicester. 0—0 at the moment. england's test cricket captai,
joe root is fit to play in tomorr‘s first one—day international against australia after recovering from a viral illness. and the first of the day's ruby union european champions cup games is under way. ulster are beating atla ntique stade rochelais 20—13 . supporters of south africa's governing party the african national congress have gathered to hear cyril ramaphosa give his first major speech since being elected as leader of the party. the south african deputy president, who was voted as leader last month, has called for unity in the party to bring about social change. mr ramaphosa said the party's new leadership will be dedicated to equality and democracy for south africa. we take this opportunity to reaffirm the anc‘s commitment to the values and the principles to which so many of our legends dedicated their lives.
0ur organisation belongs to you, the people of south africa. the anc is the parliament of the people of south africa and it's our duty as members of the anc to safeguard and nurture this heritage that we were given by our forebears. the core ideal, that is the reason for the existence of the anc, is the creation of a united, nonracial, nonsexist democratic and prosperous and equitable society in our country. as its newly—elected leadership we commend ourselves to you, that we shall remain faithful and diligent custodians of this glorious vision and heritage of our people.
dentists have accused the government of not doing enough to tackle tooth decay in england. new figures indicate there were nearly 43,000 operations to remove children's teeth last year — a 17% increase on four years ago. the british dental association says england now provides a second—class service compared to scotland and wales. 0ur health correspondent dominic hughes has the story. tooth decay in children is distressing, painful and avoidable. dentists say sugary snacks and drinks are the biggest cause. british children drink more soft drinks than anywhere else in europe. and the number of multiple extractions which have to take place in hospital under a general anaesthetic is continuing to grow. figures compiled by the local government association show there were nearly 43,000 multiple tooth extractions among under—18s
in england last year. that's around 170 every day of the working week. 0verall, there's been an increase of 17% injust four years. dentists say children in england are suffering, and are being offered a second—rate service when compared to scotland and wales. we have seen in scotland and in wales that they have got national programmes to try and prevent this. and they have actually got some reasonably good results out of it. the government has not put any money into a national prevention programme for england, and that's the reason why we are seeing so many children being put under general anaesthetic. the department of health in england says the introduction of a tax on sugary drinks was part of its plan to reduce the number of extractions, and that more than half of all children have seen a dentist in the last year. and, with proper oral hygiene, good brushing and avoiding high sugar
snacks and drinks, thousands of children could be saved from experiencing the pain of a rotten tooth. dominic hughes, bbc news. earlier i spoke to kawther hashem, who is a registered nutritionist and researcher for action on sugar at queen mary university of london. i asked herfor her reaction to the figures. surprised that there hasn't been a reduction but also expecting it to some extent because of the amount of sugar that there is in children's diets — they consume three times what the recommended maximum intake of sugar. so more needs to be done. where is all this sugar? mainly in drinks, so the sugar tax will help to reduce levels of sugar coming from drinks. it is coming in in april? yes. but there are many products — breakfast cereals, cakes and biscuits, the things you associate with high levels of sugar, children are eating a lot of this and this is contributing to the high levels of sugar
being consumed by children. what can be done? at the moment we have a programme led by public health england to get companies to reduce levels of sugar gradually and we need the programme to go further. at the time governments have refused to look at promotion of sugar products. they have been high levels of sugar in products which are very unhealthy and we need to tell companies that they need to be promoting products which are healthier and maybe stop promoting those products which are less healthy. the british dental association says things are worse in england compared with scotland and wales. do you agree? probably. in terms of service they are different, how the service is applied. oral health programme — there isn't one of those in england and maybe that is something that needs to be done as well. but from a nutrition perspective
i think across the uk more needs to be done to reduce levels of sugar, the promotion and the amount of advertising and marketing targeting children during family tv time and all the rest of it — it needs to be tackled. in terms of an oral health programme, what difference does that make practically? children probably need to be guided by their parents, to brush their teeth. but the most important factor, what should sugary products they are having and when are they having them. in between meals? a child needs to drinkjuice during mealtime and not in between. and all these snacks, in the last two weeks we have had a campaign telling parents to aim for less calories when it comes to all these snacks. but we need less sugar in these snacks. so much is targeted
at obesity rather than teeth. yes, we often neglect this is a key contributing factor and this is why children are admitted to hospital. it is preventable and we should not be having these children in hospital for tooth extractions — we can do better than that. tributes are being paid to the comedian, bella emberg, who's died. i must ask you to leave that lady alone. you should get lost while your head is still attached to your body. don't you talk to him like that. what are you going to do about it? where are you going? fulham, dear. will you see me home? of course. the 80—year—old became a household name on the russ abbot show as blunder woman, the hapless sidekick of cooperman. russ abbot himself has described her as "a woman of immense warmth and generosity", and herformer co—star les dennis
has called her "a lovely friend" joining me now is the actor, vicki michelle, best known for her role in allo allo, but also has fond memories of working with bella emberg. when did you work with bella emberg and what are your memories?” when did you work with bella emberg and what are your memories? i have seen a lot at the heritage foundation, in recent years, and she'll rescind really well, so this isa she'll rescind really well, so this is a real shock. i work with her for the first time with the les dawson —— so the first time with the les dawson —— so this is a real shock. she had to hit in round the head with a handbag and he said, ok, go for it, just before we do the take, so i can gauge what you are going to do. well, she hit him so hard, with his handbag, he fell off the seat. when
it came to shooting the actual scene you could see him flinch. if you look at the sketchy concealing flinching. she was fabulous —— sketch you can see him flinching. clearly a difference between her on—screen persona and off—screen. yes, exactly. she loved cricket, that was her passion, she knew everything about cricket, and we did a tribute lunch for les dennis recently and she gave him a great speech. russ abbot gave her a great tribute, as well, a couple of years ago. the head of the society of performance question what —— performance? yes, she was honoured to do that and she was a fabulous queen, she loves the business. she had a new series coming out, as well. in more recent years she did a
lot of children's programmes. she kept working for a long time. yes, she did. we're watching clips of her with russ abbot and other roles, as well, there was a shown element of slapstick in her performance. yes, there was, a big element of slapstick when she hit les dawson! she also did pantomime with sue hodge. i know they used to play a double act. the ugly sisters for the she loved pantomime and she used to do that every year. she loved performing. she was a great personality. very strong. very fun to be with. thanks forjoining us. thank you. four british friends have broken the world record and become the fastest ever to cross
the atlantic ocean in a rowing boat. the amateur crew, dubbed ‘the four 0arsmen', made history when they reached the island of antigua just after 130 this morning, having spent 29 days at sea and beating the previous record by six days. dan johnson has more. and here they go! shouting the end of an epicjourney rowed in record time, four men who had not even been in a rowing boat 18 months ago, now not only challenge winners but the first to cross the atlantic in less than 30 days. it feels overwhelming. the challenge, as we said before, is just relentless, never ending pain, just rowing, the whole thing, and coming first is something that is beyond our wildest dreams. they left the canary islands 3,000 miles away and faced 40—foot waves,
scorching sun and howling winds, not quite the apocalypse but a test of endurance for the four oarsmen. surviving on rations, producing their own water, taking it in turns to eat, to sleep, and to row. it's amazing to complete the row. we set out as a charitable initiative, for two charities, mind, and spinal research. the mind research is commemorative of my mum and her struggle with her mental health. to do it in such justice and in such style and with such great support and great success is amazing. just making it to the caribbean is a fantastic achievement but they have raised more than a quarter of a million and have rowed their way into the record books. dan johnson, bbc news. time for the latest weather prospects now, with matt taylor.
some of you have had some rather wet weather, courtesy of a weather front which is not moving in a hurry. even tonight it will stay with parts of scotla nd tonight it will stay with parts of scotland and wales, but it starts to fizzle out. rain turning light and patchy, still lots of cloud, and maybe a touch of frost where there are any breaks. sunday begins with grade patchy rain, and the far west of england and, there might be some more breaks, but generally it is a cloudy story, turning windy across scotla nd cloudy story, turning windy across scotland and northern ireland. the speu scotland and northern ireland. the spell of heavy rain and severe gale force winds will spread its way south and east and it will be in east anglia by the time we start monday, and it will bring about a change for next week, introduce
brighter skies but also colder weather, as well. this is bbc news. our latest headlines: the liberal democrats are warning ministers not to agree to a tax—payer funded bailout of the troubled construction company carillion, which employs 20,000 people. the bbc understands that high—level government meetings are under way. the african union demands an apology from president trump for reportedly using a vulgar and disparaging term to describe nations on the continent. the union accused the trump administration of misunderstanding africans. a ban on credit and debit surcharges has come into force today. it's hoped it will benefit shoppers and holiday—makers who buy goods online or in small stores. but there are concerns companies could raise their prices in response.