this is bbc news. i'm clive myrie. the headlines at 11. victims of the serial sex attackerjohn worboys, have been given permission to challenge the parole board's decision to free him. theresa may reaffirms her post—brexit vision —as government forecasts predict a negative impact on the economy across the uk. jon venables, one of the killers of two—year—old james bulger, has admitted possessing indecent images of children for a second time. the un says 400,000 people under air bombardment in syria are suffering a humanitarian emergency — we have a special report. and newsnight, the cabinet committee is arguing about brexit. we will have an in—house gathering to thrash out those arguments. we agree we need big decisions, but can we agree
on what? good evening and welcome to bbc news. some victims of the serial sex attacker, john worboys, have been given permission to challenge the decision to release him from jail. there'll be a hearing in the high court in mid march, and worboys will stay in prison until then. the parole board's been criticised after announcing he'd be freed after serving less than ten years. our home affairs correspondent daniel sandford reports. still in custody, at least for the time being, john worboys arrived at court in a prison van and was taken to the cells in handcuffs. convicted in 2009 of one rape, six other sex offences and 12 crimes of drugging customers, the london black cab driver is suspected of assaulting around 100 female passengers. and his victims hadn't expected him to be released ever.
when we were told it was an indefinite sentence, it was just, well, justice has been served, he has been dealt with. he is serving a life sentence now, because that is the way it was put across to us. so we never thought for one second that he would be eligible for parole. however, today there he was, behind the bars in the dock, but potentially just weeks from being freed. sir bian leveson had ordered thatjohn worboys should be present in person, because he didn't trust the reliability of the court's video link system. thejudge had been told that worboys' victims were unhappy at the prospect of seeing him again. "i am sorry about that," sir brian said, "but i'm sure you will appreciate why it would not be possible sensibly to conduct this hearing without him being present in some way." the women's lawyer said her clients only discovered late last night that worboys would be there in person, and described what it was like for one of them to see him again.
it was very, very difficult, but she felt it was really necessary to be there, and to say she wasn't going to be frightened of him being there, and to challenge, you know, challenge his power, essentially. but obviously it is hard to see him there in the flesh after all this time. in court, the women's barrister said the parole board's failure to give reasons for freeing worboys was unlawful. "that kind of blanket secrecy is something that is contrary to a fundamental principle of our law, which is thatjustice is administered in the open," philippa kaufmann qc said. talking to mps at the same time, the chair of the parole board said he too would like the rules to be changed. i think one of the things we should look at is victims getting — victims who want to get one — getting a summary of the parole board's decisions. thejudges then agreed they would hear the victims' legal
challenge to worboys' release in five weeks' time, and that until then, he should remain in prison. daniel sandford, bbc news at the royal courts ofjustice. the prime minister has reaffirmed her vision of a post—brexit vision — outside the single market, and with control of borders, laws and trading relationships. she's made a speech in london after a day of meetings with ministers about brexit strategy. but there's also been the publication to mps of gloomy economic impact assessments for uk regions. 0ur political editor laura kuenssberg reports. cloistered in the commons, ministers' cars parked up gave away the private meeting in the prime minister's office. the cabinet trying reach a compromise, continually pushed by brexiteers to take a tough line towards the eu. would she be good enough to be very robust when discussing these matters in the brexit committee,
as i'm sure she will be, in order to ensure we repudiate any of these eu threats? we will hear all sorts of things being said about positions being taken. what matters are the positions we take in the negotiations as we negotiate the best deal. we have shown we can do that, we did it in december and we are going to do it again. 0ne number ten insider told me the problem is that everybody always wants something. but the prime minister must broker a deal within her own party before she can get on with the negotiations. today the brexit committee was discussing how to avoid bringing back the border between northern and southern ireland without keeping the current customs arrangements that the prime minister has ruled out. what kind of immigration deal should be done with the eu that controls the numbers but gives business the staff they need. tomorrow the discussion will move on to how we do business in future. why are ministers still squirrelled
away in your having these conversations when we voted to leave in the summer of 2016? the referendum didn't dictate exactly the relationship we would have with the european union after brexit. so for months, the tories have been in a tug—of—war. should we stay closely intertwined with brussels after we go, or make a more dramatic break? the eu and business are running out of patience as the uk takes its time to decide. it demonstrates to the world the united kingdom is not leaving europe as we leave the eu. tory remain rebels lined up this morning to put against the idea they are outspoken, but a minority in their party, their fears the country will be worse off. it is abundantly clear to me that there is no model which will satisfy all sections of the british public. and i believe, and i've said many times before, i believe a no deal scenario would be bad for our economy. mps have now seen the government's forecasts of what could happen to different parts of the country
if there is no deal. over 15 years the economy in london is forecast to be 3.5% smaller. in the west midlands, that voted to leave, it would be 13% smaller. and in the north—east, which also chose brexit, hypothetically it is the worst affected. the economy potentially 16% smaller than it is otherwise expected to be. forecasts often turn out to be wrong. very wrong. but the government is preparing to make big choices right now that will, for better or worse, affect us all. laura kuenssberg, bbc news. 0ur political correspondent iain watson is at westminster. the prime minister has been speaking this evening. is there any more clarity for those who believe there is not enough, on the position of the uk regarding brexit? she is
quite robust about what she was saying, speaking at a fundraising functions of the conservative party. that she was reiterating the government position. there is talk about the customs union but downing street has tried to kill off this week. the prime minister did that again this evening saying that when we leave we leave the customs union and the single market. we take back control of our money, the border. immigration is quite important. she stresses time and again what she does not want from the final brexit deal. what she does want is difficult to discern and that is why we are having subcommittees and meetings with cabinet members sitting around a table behind closed doors, trying to discuss what the endpoint should be. what sort of negotiations we want on the future relationship with the eu and what is the emphasis on the northern ireland border. different rules, same
outcomes? how we get there or what we do instead is still an open question. there is nothing definitive from the meeting today. were told it was productive with a few hours discussion on the irish border question but the cabinet will return to this and they are trying to focus on a transition deal before the end of march. the backdrop has not been to grade with these economic assessments suggesting that every region of the country will do less well than it otherwise would over the next 15 years had we remained inside the eu. some regions that voted for brexit are perhaps doing far less well than others. thank you very much. one of the killers of the toddlerjames bulger, the two—year—old who was murdered in 1993, has been sent to jail again — this time for three years after admitting possessing indecent images of children.
the judge said there was no guaranteejohn venables would be released after serving his sentence. a spokesman forjames bulger‘s mother denise fergus called the sentence a ‘farce‘. human rights groups say more than 25 people died today, including at least 12 children, when syrian government forces carried out airstrikes on eastern ghouta. the region, to the east of the capital damascus, is one of the last remaining areas controlled by rebels fighting president assad's forces. it's home to an estimated 400,000 people and is now at the centre of what the un calls a humanitarian emergency. medical supplies and food haven't been allowed in since late last year. 0ur correspondent quentin sommerville‘s report contains images you may find distressing. syria's war isn't ending, it's getting worse. in eastern ghouta, near damascus, they're overwhelmed. death comes daily from the skies. more than 150 civilians have been killed here this month already.
the rescuers have to move fast. here, they follow the sound of a child crying. then they reach for a scrap of cloth and pull hard, and a boy is removed alive from the rubble. hundreds have been left injured in eastern ghouta and in the last week, more than a0 children have been killed. yesterday rescue worker saeed al—masri was called to an emergency, the baby in his arms is his own. translation: as we were approaching, i realised it was my house that had been hit. i heard a baby's cry and saw my son was wounded. i went inside and my children had been injured and my cousins too. my house was destroyed. three—month—old ibrahim is doing fine, but the family wonders when the next attack will come.
regimejets drop unguided bombs, they fall haphazardly and bring devastation. rebel shelling has killed a dozen people in government areas. there's a new ferocity to the conflict. it should look different here, this is part of a de—escalation zone, where suffering should be diminishing, but the opposite is happening. here and elsewhere, the conflict is intensifying. basic medical supplies are running low, the region's under siege, but there's also a sense of hopelessness that the world has stopped caring. translation: we are completely drained. the roads are closed and we can't get new supplies. we've stopped believing that anyone will help us. we've given up on the international media and the un. we hoped they would help us,
but they've done nothing. east ghouta is nearing exhaustion, at least 31 people were killed today. the bombing has stopped for now, but everyone here knows that this new surge of bloodshed is far from over. tesco is facing britain's largest ever equal pay law suit which could affect up to 200 thousand mostly female shop workers. the women who work on the shop floor say they earn considerably less than men who work in the company's distribution centres. lawyers estimate the supermarket could be liable for up to four billion pounds in back pay if it loses. tesco says it's not yet seen the claims — but that it works hard to make sure employees are paid fairly new dna analysis of britain's oldest complete skeleton has found he had much darker skin than previously thought and blue eyes. the man's 10,000 year—old remains were unearthed at cheddar gorge more than 100 years ago.
now breakthroughs in dna sequencing have allowed scientists from the natural history museum to create this model of what he would have looked like just before he died. and professor robert kelly has been awarded the timeline television moment of the year award. after his kids gatecrashed his interview on bbc world. millions watched the video on youtube, and for those who haven't seen it, here it is. i would argue that this is a democracy... what will it mean for the wider region. i think one of your children hasjust the wider region. i think one of your children has just walked the wider region. i think one of your children hasjust walked in. shifting sands in the region. will relations in the north change?” would be surprised if they do. pardon me. my apologies. what will
this mean for the region. my apologies. sorry. choices have been severely limited because of the behaviour of north korea. don't apologise, meet. that was great. that's the news, now it's time for newsnight with evan davis. it's brexit decision time, folks. scarecrows don't talk. it's pleasant down that way too. of course, people do go both ways. are you doing that on purpose or can't you make up your mind? that is the trouble, i cannot make up my mind! we've been pondering on it for 19 months,