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tv   BBC News  BBC News  February 18, 2018 9:00am-9:31am GMT

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this is bbc news. i'm ben brown. the headlines at nine: brendan cox, the widower of the murdered mp, jo cox, resigns from two organisations set up in her memory after claims of sexual misconduct in the past. president trump criticises the fbi for missing the signals about wednesday's school shooting, describing it as unacceptable. a major review of university funding is to be unveiled by ministers tomorrow, as mps claim interest rates on student loans are "unjustifiable". also this hour — emma watson donates £1 million to a new fund aimed at making uk workplaces safe for women. ahead of tonight's baftas, the actorjoined 200 female british and irish stars in signing a letter calling for an end to sexual harassment in all industries. we'll have all the latest action from the winter olympics as skeleton
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winners lizzy yarnold and laura deas prepare to receive their gold and bronze medals. and our sunday morning edition of the papers is at 9:35 — this morning's reviewers are rachel cunliffe,comment and features editor rachel cunliffe from city am, and henry mance, political correspondent at the financial times. good morning and welcome to bbc news. the husband of murdered mpjo cox has resigned from two charities he set up in her memory after allegations of sexual harassment were made public. mr cox denies assaulting a woman at harvard university in 2015 but admits to "inappropriate" behaviour while working for save the children. the murder ofjo cox
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in 2016 shocked the nation. the labour mp, who was also a mother of two small children, was murdered by a far right extremist during the eu referendum campaign. after her death, her husband brendan became a prominent campaigner against extremism and went on to help set up two organisations — thejo cox foundation and more in common. now he has resigned from both following allegations in the mail on sunday that he sexually harassed female colleagues while working for the charity save the children. in a statement, he said... a source close to mr cox told the bbc that he had never sexually assaulted anyone, and that the allegations were exaggerated. thejo cox foundation said that
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mr cox was admired by staff there for the integrity, commitment and dedication he had shown to creating a positive legacy forjo. susana mendonca, bbc news. president trump has criticised on the fbi and its investigation into wednesday's mass school shooting. he's suggested that the fbi missed the signals that nikolas cruz, was planning a massacre at his school because — he said — the agency is spending too much time investigating allegations of russian interference in the election. he's tweeted that this was not acceptable and the fbi needed to get back to basics. meanwhile, thousands of people in florida, including survivors of the shooting, have taken part in a rally to demand tighter gun controls in the united states. the event took place outside the court building in the city of fort lauderdale, a short distance from the school where cruz killed 17 people. laura westbrook reports. chanting: no more! outside the federal courthouse
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in fort lauderdale, this was the message to lawmakers. among the protesters was emma gonzales, who took cover on the floor of her school's auditorium as a gunman started shooting. she had this to say to donald trump. if the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened, and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, i'm gonna happily ask him how much money he received from the national rifle association. cheering and applause. what she's referring to is the millions of dollars the nra has given towards the trump campaign. on a visit to the hospital where the victims of the attack are being treated, the president once again made no mention of guns or gun control. instead, he says the problem is mental illness. in the us, there are many guns in
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circulation as there are people. the nra is the most powerful lobbying organisation in the us. for their supporters, it is a fundamental freedom. when somebody infringes a right for persons in this country to keep and bear arms, then it's an infringement upon our rights as a violation of our civil liberties, now we have a bigger problem. we will be spending our times at funerals! but after yet another school shooting, anger among the younger generation is rising. in fact, students across the country are planning a mass walk—out of schools in april — the anniversary of the columbine high school massacre. they are demanding adults listen to them and tighten gun control. laura westbrook, bbc news. the education secretary says
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he wants to see more variety in university tuition fees in england, rather than what he says is almost all institutions charging "exactly the same price". his comments come as a committee of mps have called for the scrapping of punitive interest rate on student loa ns. many of today's students were not born when university tuition fees were first introduced. but 20 years on, the link between getting a degree and paying towards the cost of it remains, and that has meant big sacrifices for some. and my parents sold their house so i could come to uni — i'm the first one in my family. looking into it, there were lots of, like, different aspects of the debt and how much you're paying back, obviously, in the long run, and it's a really scary prospect. the government still backs the idea that students should contribute towards the cost of their higher education, and that's one of the areas that
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will covered by its major review of student finance. it comes as a committee of mps coming today says current interest rates on loans of up to 6.1% are questionable. with students in england accumulating more than £5,000 in charges while they are still studying. the average debt for graduates totalling more than £50,000. they need to look at grants available to help the poorer students, they need to look at the level of interest that is currently being applied to student loans, and they need to rebuild some public trust and confidence in the fairness of the system by ironing out some of these real injustices at the heart of the way that the system works. education secretary damian hinds suggests the review will consider extra subsidies for expensive subjects such as science and engineering. it could make it easier for universities to lower the cost of courses offered by the departments. the income threshold for repayment would also be considered, as well as the length of time before the loans are written off. but with the outstanding amount due to hit £160 billion by 2021, labour argues the system is unsustainable. simon clemison, bbc news.
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with me now is our political correspondent tom barton. does this signal a shift in government policy? this review is just getting started and nothing is decided except that the government has indicated that it is committed to that principle of graduates contributing towards the cost of university courses. and so really this is not a big shift in government policy but there are some issues which need to be dealt with, not least the fact that the £9,000 limit for courses is applied almost across the board, almost regardless of the university and almost regardless of the course and yet some courses cost a lot more to deliver than others. science are more expensive for universities than for example arts and humanities and damian hinds isjoining the andrew
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masur ina damian hinds isjoining the andrew masur in a few minutes, suggest an interview today that this review will consider extra government subsidies for those most expensive courses which of course could make it possible, although not mandatory for universities to reduce fees for either this expensive courses offer some of those other cheaper courses. it is also likely to look at the income threshold that students or graduates need to reach before they start paying balance back and the amount of time that it takes before an paid loads are written off by government. there is concern on the treasury select committee about the interest rates that people have to pay back on their student loans. we saw something about it in the report there but essentially the select committee is arguing that there is no good reason for using vb tell prices index, but higher measure of inflation to calculate the interest rates which graduates pay. —— retail
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price index. rpi is no longer regarded as an official government statistics, cbi is the statistic thatis statistics, cbi is the statistic that is more commonly recognised as the correct interpretation of inflation. and also the mps are very concerned by the fact that not only are they using rpi, they add 3% at so are they using rpi, they add 3% at so many students are paying as much as 6.1% on their student loans, they are also paying those lows of whilst they are still a university before they are still a university before they have even started earning any money. —— paying those loans. record numbers of disadvantage 18—year—olds are going to university and graduates do not pay anything back until they are earning at least £21,000. there's politics behind all of this because student rates are very important. absolutely, as we saw the general election last year, labour did very well among younger people partly that was, many
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suspect, down to the fact that their ma nifesto suspect, down to the fact that their manifesto committed to abolishing tuition fees and reintroducing, it feels like agent history, media links grants, money from the government to go to university. —— maintenance grants. but also the taxpayers because so much debt is written off that taxpayers end up footing the bill for university courses anywhere. thank you very much. nearly 200 british female stars of film, tv and stage are demanding the eradication of sexual harassment from all sectors of society. ahead of tonight's baftas, they've also launched a fund to help those who need advice or professional support. the actress emma watson has donated £1 million to the cause, while keira knightley and tom hiddleston have each given £10,000. church spires are going to be used to help people in rural areas get better access to mobile networks,
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broadband and wifi services. a deal between the government and the church of england aims to make it easier to put communication masts in spires and towers — as james waterhouse explains a church spire can often be the highest point of a village and given that the church of england has more than 16,000 buildings of different kinds, government ministers are hoping these will give the perfect infrastructure to help more parts of the uk get better signal. they say this deal will make it better for vicars and bishops to get this technology installed, and there is cash to be made. the rental is typically between £5,000 and £10,000 which can be equivalent, or more, to a normal income for a church for a year. now, conservationists may not like the idea of a mobile phone mast being bolted onto their local church. however, the government argues in many cases, the technology can be hidden within the spire. they will be rolled out over the next five years and both parties will be hoping this signals better mobile phone coverage and internet for more parts of the uk.
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james waterhouse, bbc news. food could become more expensive in british shops in the event of a "no deal" brexit, according to a group of mps. the environment, food and rural affairs committee predicts it would be the result of trading under world trade organisation tariffs. it also warned against accepting lower food standards to secure new free trade deals. our business correspondent joe lynam reports. the peace and bucolic splendour of uk farmlands could be dramatically upset if britain fails to get a comprehensive free—trade deal post brexit. a key group of mps says consumers might also end up paying more forfood if the uk reverts to world trade organization rules. the environment, food and rural affairs committee of mps says a so—called hard brexit would have a devastating effect on rural communities. that's because 60% of uk food exports go to the eu and they could face much higher tariffs. the committee also said that britain
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should not dilute its own high food standards in order to sign new global trade deals, such as one with the us. we go into a sort of wt0 situation where there's tariffs on imported food that will actually drive food prices up. now, for some commodities, that will actually suit farming, but perhaps not the consumer if they have to pay more for their food. but the government has sought to soothe those concerns. it said that leaving the eu gave the uk a golden opportunity to secure ambitious free—trade deals while supporting our farmers and producers. it said it would not compromise on the uk's high environmental or welfare standards. joe lynam, bbc news. the headlines: brendan cox, the widower of the murdered jo cox resigns from two memories that —— to
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charity set up in her memory. president trump criticises the fbi for missing the signals of wednesday's school shooting. he described it as unacceptable. a major review of university funding is to be real tomorrow as mps claim that interest rates on student loans are unjustifiable. the defence secretary has apologised for a helicopter accident that killed 14 for a helicopter accident that killed 1a people on friday in the south of the country. the military helicopter was carrying senior politicians to an area hit by an earthquake when it crashed onto minibuses. shuba krishnan has more. it was supposed to be a military mission to assess damage and provide support after a shocking 7.2 magnitude quake. but it all went terribly wrong. the helicopter carrying mexico's interior minister and the oaxaca state governor crashed on top of two minibuses in a small village not far from the epicentre.
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1a people were killed, including a six—month—old baby. remarkably, senior officials on board survived. the delegation had been touring oaxaca, the epicentre of friday's earthquake. while no deaths have been reported from the earthquake itself, it did leave nearly a million homes and businesses without power. witnesses of the helicopter crashed say it could've been the power cuts that played a factor. they say it circled several times, raising thick clouds of dust and further reducing visibility. translation: the entire town was without light, it was dark. we were happy up there, we were going to sleep up there, we were all going to be up there but look what they did. the governor was supposedly to be coming to help but what was the help, the aid we received? this was the aid? mexican politicians have apologised
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for the accident but that won't do much to ease the pain felt by relatives mourning the loss of their loved ones. shuba krishnan, bbc news. the body of zimbabwe's opposition leader, morgan tsvangirai, has arrived back in the country following his death from cancer in south africa earlier this week. he was 65. hundreds of his supporters were at the airport in harare to pay their respects. our correspondent in harare is shingai nyoka. he arrived at the airport where hundreds of supporters were there to meet him, his body was then escorted to the military barracks where it will lie in state until tomorrow. what we understand is that there will be a church service at about 12 gmt tomorrow, followed by a public service, a memorial service on monday and then finally his body will be
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taken to his village, which is about four hours outside of the capital, and he will be laid to rest there. this is a state—assisted funeral, it is not a state funeral where in that case he would've been buried at the national heroes acre. the supporters were obviously very excited to have his body back. they almost broke down the hangar trying to get his body but zimbabweans have been a very sombre mood remembering the legacy that he had. he has been in politics here in zimbabwe for about 20 years, he has led the movement for democratic change for all of that time. he is the figurehead for the opposition and many people are wondering what will to the opposition now that he has passed away, given that in about four months' time the country will be heading for elections. they describe themselves as britain's forgotten veterans. 60 years ago, thousands of uk
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service personnel were sent to the south pacific to test nuclear bombs. some claim the radiation caused cancers and birth defects which they passed onto their children and grandchildren. now they hope a new study of their dna will prove it, as sarah corker reports. it was so bright you could see the bones in your hand. you just saw, like, another sun hanging in the sky. that's what it was. the south pacific at the height of the cold war. the british military testing the nuclear bomb. i'm bob fleming. i was a nuclear test veteran. bob was 2a and in the forces when he watched one of the world's most powerful weapons detonate on christmas island. one of 22,000 british men involved in the testing programme. we had no protection. shirt, shorts, flip—flops.
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most of my children and grandchildren have suffered in some way, a whole range of illnesses, some of them very frightening. three generations of the fleming family believe they have suffered because of bob's exposure to radiation. 21 of the members in our family, and 16 of us have health problems. muscular, skeletal health problems, tumour problems, kidney stone problems. they have spent decades searching for answers. it was back in 2012 when britain's nuclear test veterans took their case to the supreme court and lost. now, here at brunel university in london, they are carrying out scientific research to see if there dna has been irreparably damaged. the chief scientist told me blood cells will be taken from 100 veterans and their families.
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we are sampling a group of veterans that we know were present at nuclear tests back in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and we are comparing samples of their blood with a control sample of veterans who we know were not present at the nuclear test sites. and the scientists will work closely with veteran charities. they are the forgotten generation of people who saw these very, very powerful weapons explod in their faces, and it is almost like they have been wiped from the history books. the ministry of defence says it is grateful to the servicemen, but says three previous studies of the veterans found no valid evidence to link the test to ill health. they set up the aged veteran fund in 2015 to help fund this new research. the flemings want to take part
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in this study and are waiting to hear if they have been selected. we want recognition. that is what we are fighting for. so, 60 years on, nuclearfamilies are still living in the aftermath of these bomb tests. sarah corker, bbc news. a new swedish fitness craze has reached british shores. plogging or picking litter while jogging is gaining momentum in the uk. greg dawson explains. in many ways, it looks like any other weekend fitness routine. you'll need a pair of these. a warm—up will help — it is february. but don't forget to pick up one of these. and maybe this will come in handy too. plogging, or plucking and jogging, first gained popularity in sweden but it's quickly caught
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on around the world, from the beaches of australia to the pavements of india, and here in the parks of south—east london. ilike running. i like doing stuff in the community. i like finding places that i didn't know existed — like, i didn't know this park was here, even though i live in the area, i've never been here before — so i think it does two things. it helps me to get fit and helps me to find out more about where i live and that, i enjoy. ivo gormley is the founder of good gym which runs plogging sessions and other community activities across the uk. we have been getting hundreds of new people signing up. every time you go for a run, you're likely to pass by somewhere where there isn't fly tipping going on. you're not likely to pass by the house of someone who is isolated and lonely. every time you are running through your community, there are things that need doing and actually, you can combine that with your exercise. this is about far more than just running, though. as we know, a lot of our litter ends up in the waterways which means that the ploggers end up in waders.
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and it's notjust helping the environment but also potentially the public purse. clearing litter costs local authorities more than £700 million a year in england alone. this local—level volunteering coincides with a growing momentum nationally to cut waste. following the popularity of the bbc‘s blue planet series, which highlighted the damage plastic is causing to our oceans, the scottish parliament announced plans to ban plastic straws. and the royal family has even backed efforts to reduce single—use plastic on britain's royal estates. does it ever frustrate you when you're litter picking, you see the state of some of the parks and some of the waterways? i suppose it is a bit frustrating but especially because this is my local park — i live just around the corner — but it is good that so many people are willing to give up their saturday mornings to clean up parks and rivers and... to get involved. get involved in the community. with that sense of making a small difference to a bigger problem, plogging offers much more thanjust a strenuous work—out. greg dawson, bbc news, south—east london.
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a scottish entrepreneur runs the uk's only asteroid mining company and aims to launch his first prospecting satellite by 2020, ahead of his competitors. he is part of a push in scotland for innovation in the space industry in the uk. even a small asteroid could be worth £2 billion. even a small asteroid could be worth £2 billion. asteroids are tremendously valuable, there are 10,000 asteroids. i started in the corporation when i was 20 years old in university because i realised there was not any space mining businesses in the united kingdom and space mining is going to be one of the biggest interest of the 21st century. you have to know where you are mining before you begin to mine it. like
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traditional mining companies, you start by prospecting and then you look to the extraction phase. we begin by launching the astra satellite which we hope to launch in 2020, a space telescope which goes into a low orbit and will scan all 10,000 asteroids to determine what the composition of the objects. we can then determine which asteroids will be candidates for mining. 500 asteroids currently. an infinite void you are looking to. there is money up there. the technology that we will develop in the early 20 20s well allow us to go to asteroids and extra ct well allow us to go to asteroids and extract the materials that we are identifying. asteroid mining is capturing the imagination currently so we capturing the imagination currently so we tried to push the uk space mining business and we have satellite minor fractures, launch providers, everything we need for space mining industry already within
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the uk. we just space mining industry already within the uk. wejust need space mining industry already within the uk. we just need to get everything going in the same direction. asteroid mining is not something thatis asteroid mining is not something that is going to happen overnight. this is an a blue sky thinking project. there is a lot of optimism, a greater the fact that space is becoming trend again and space is being seen as a sort of unicorn areas of development where really significant breakthroughs can happen and very likely will happen in the mid—to long—term future. let us see what the weather is doing here on earth. quite serene start of the day, beautiful sunrise pictures sent in by our weather watchers, this one in norfolk showing the clear skies around. we have had some frost, mist and fog patches. they are lifting and fog patches. they are lifting and clearing. through the rest of the day, a lot of dry weather on the
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cloud, cloud increasing from the west and that will bring some rain later in the day, courtesy of this frontal system approaching from the atlantic. high pressure in the east, keeping a lot of dry weather for many central and eastern part of the uk. the best of such a thick kent, norfolk, towards eastern and northern parts of scotland. there will be a little bit of brightness breaking through the cloud. temperatures will hit around ten or 11 celsius in the south, staying high single figures further north. rain across northern ireland through the afternoon, pushing its way into western wealth, south—west of england, heading into scotland to. there is the light rain continuing eastwards, quite a lot of cloud, frost free conditions to start your monday morning. a different feel to the weather, murky weather around on monday. all down to the fact that this front is lingering towards the east. the warm front sitting in these producing some rain and also bringing fairly mild condition. here are the yellow colours on the map
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through monday, the blue colours indicating cold air not far away. through the day, quite misty, murky and grey. a little bit more brightness breaking through four in northern ireland to south—west of scotland. eastern scotland and eastern england likely to keep a few bits of rain through the day. still quite mild, 12 or 13 celsius towards the west, slightly cooler though relieved. it looks like we will still have the remnants of this frontal system bringing some rain on tuesday, especially for east anglia, down towards kent and sussex. elsewhere, not a bad day. skies clearing, from such as this column, northern ireland, wales. temperatures just about in double figures. things turning colderfrom the east. we are seeing a change in wind direction. tuesday onwards, we will draw in this cold easterly wind bringing a real good in temperatures. heir coming from scandinavia and northern europe. through the week ahead, it is going to bea through the week ahead, it is going to be a mild start with a bit of rain, things turning colder with a
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bit of sunshine later on. but is it. goodbye for now.

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