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tv   BBC News  BBC News  February 25, 2018 8:00pm-8:31pm GMT

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this is bbc news. the headlines at 8pm: labour shift their policy on europe. the shadow brexit secretary says the party would now keep britain in a customs union. realistically, to get it's really important for our manufacturing base, and nobody can answer the question how you keep your commitment to no hard border in northern ireland without a customs union. airstrikes continue in the besieged syrian enclave of eastern ghouta, despite a un—agreed ceasefire. tonight, there are reports of a possible chemical attack. china's president, xijinping, could serve indefinitely under changes to the constitution put forward by the ruling communist party. also this hour: a k—pop extravaganza brings the winter olympics in pyeongchang to an end. there was show of unity between north and south korea at the closing ceremony, and the north says it will meet the us for talks. manchester city earn pep guardiola
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his first trophy in england, as they beat arsenel 3—0 in the carabao cup final. and in half an hour on bbc news: the travel show visits the snowiest place in the united kingdom. good evening, and welcome to bbc news. the shadow brexit secretary has confirmed that labour wants the uk to remain in a customs union with the eu after brexit. sir keir starmer told the bbc‘s andrew marr show that a new treaty replicating the existing customs arrangement would be best for the economy and would respect the referendum result. the prime minister is committed to leaving both the single market and the customs union. she's expected to outline
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the government's position in more detail this week. our political correspondent, ben wright, reports. for the first time there is clear—blue policy water between labour and the tories over brexit. in a speech tomorrow, jeremy corbyn will confirm his party would keep the uk in a customs union with the eu after brexit. crunch time is now coming for the prime minister because the majority in parliament does not back her approach to a customs union. labour's brexit spokesman said the uk would be better off teaming up with the eu to reach new trade deals with other countries. obviously, it's the only way realistically to get tariff—free access. it's really important for our manufacturing base and nobody can answer the question how you keep your commitment to no hard border in northern ireland without a customs union. as an eu member, we are currently in the european customs union and the idea behind it is pretty simple. a single set of tariffs is imposed on goods imported from outside the eu. goods can then move freely without tariffs around the bloc.
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but members cannot do their own trade deals. some labour mps want their party to go further and commit to joining the single market, too. it's a massive hit on our economy if we leave the single market, if we leave the customs union. it's a massive hit to peace in northern ireland if we leave the customs union. these are core labour values. but brexit—supporting labour mps argue the party risks betraying their own voters. you're talking about... come on, stella! there are all these things — we'll stay in a customs union, we'll stay in a single market. the decision was quite clear to leave and there in the north, labour voters voted very, very clear... are you going to rat on them or not? the brexit negotiation is not only a haggle between the uk government and the eu. parliament's role is critical, too. theresa may does not have an overall majority in the commons and a number of tory mps also argue that the uk should have a customs union with the eu.
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so a vote, when it comes, could force the government to change its position. the government insists the uk must be free to have an independent trade policy after brexit outside the customs union. labour say they want tojoin a customs union. what does that mean? is it like turkey, which has a customs union but only in goods, but not in agriculture, not in services, not in finance? is that what we want for britain? will we take rules in certain sectors but not in others? liam fox also said the government would try to persuade all tory mps about the government's position before putting a trade bill before mps, which, at the moment, looks like it could be defeated if labourjoined tory rebels in calling for a new customs union. speaking to me earlier, our political correspondent, ben wright, explained how labour could influence a customs union decision. since last summer, the tories don't
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have a governing majority on their own parliament, they rely the dup and are vulnerable to any small rebellion on their own backbenches. and they are looking down the barrel ofa and they are looking down the barrel of a massive one all this really huge issue of whether or not britain stays in a new customs union or not with the european union, because anna soubry, the tory mp, has put down an amendment to the trade bill, which we expect to see at some point in the next few weeks, the government holding back until they think they've shored up enough support, she wants to amend it, calling for a new customs union, and if, as seems likely now, the labour party swings in behind the and perhaps a dozen, maybe more, tory mps, there is a good chance the government could be defeated, and a customs union would be imposed on the government. 50 customs union would be imposed on the government. soto customs union would be imposed on the government. so to make sure the referendum result is respected, it would be out with the old customs union and in with something
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different that would replicate it? it's like our membership of the single market now is dependent on being a member of the eu. it's the same with the customs union. what is being proposed by labour is that we will have an arrangement a bit like turkey, andorra, the smaller countries on the revelry of the eu that are not eu members but have done their own agreements with the eu. -- the done their own agreements with the eu. —— the smaller countries on the margin ali. with turkey, agriculture isn't included. the labour view is that the uk should negotiate a new customs arrangement with the eu on oui’ customs arrangement with the eu on our terms to reflect our priorities andi our terms to reflect our priorities and i think, since one of the main motivations in labour embracing this is to deal with the northern ireland border question, and some of the most heavily trafficked across the border is agricultural products, i imagine it would have to include agricultural products and this would have to be negotiated, but labour's view is that this is the only way to
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ensure you can have less friction on the board. there would still be some, because of the fact we wouldn't still be in the single market, but removing those tariffs might makea market, but removing those tariffs might make a difference. and we'll find out how this story, and many others, are covered in tomorrow's front pages at 10:30pm and 11:30pm in the papers. our guestsjoining me tonight are charlie wells, who is the deputy snapchat editor at the economist. and rosamund urwin, financial services correspondent at the sunday times. breaking news to bring you this evening. we are hearing from police that a major incident has been declared by police in leicester after reports of an explosion in the city centre. we understand that leicestershi re city centre. we understand that leicestershire fire and rescue service received a calljust after 7pm from the public, who said they
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had heard a blast on hinckley road, a long road leading from the centre of the city out into the county pulled a spokesman for the force said six fire engines had been requested and the incident is being treated as a search and rescue operation. leicester police say there has been a major incident on hinckley road, leicester, and all emergency services are dealing it. it says carlisle street and part of hinckley road have been closed, please avoid the area. we don't have any more details at the moment, other than the fact that, on the reuters news agency, media are quoting local witnesses is reporting what they thought was a sound like an explosion, and a video of some sort that appears to show a fire in a building in a residential street has been posted on twitter as well. all emergency services, say local
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police, are dealing with this incident. please avoid the area. so there is the tweed we just mentioned, about 45 minutes ago, i suppose, they put that up. a major incident on hinckley road, leicester, all emergency services currently dealing with this, carlisle cannot currently dealing with this, ca rlisle cannot restrict currently dealing with this, carlisle cannot restrict and part of hinckley road had been closed, please avoid the area. we know that the fire service had been called by the fire service had been called by the public having heard that blast, six fire engines requested and it is being treated as a search and rescue operation after what's been described as an explosion, and a major incident operation is underway. we will come back to that as soon as we have more details. there has been fighting around the rebel—held area of eastern ghouta in syria, despite a ceasefire resolution passed at the un security council. clashes on the ground and air strikes have continued, but at a much reduced rate. tonight, there are reports of a possible chemical attack in eastern ghouta. more on that in a moment. in eastern ghouta today,
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a measure of calm after a week—long storm of airstrikes. in small numbers, people ventured out from underground shelters to assess the damage, but there were reports of airstrikes continuing in some parts of the rebel—held enclave. once again, children were among the dead. today is the first day of the ceasefire resolution. still there is warplanes in the atmosphere, still shelling, but it is less bad than before. the vote last night for a month—long ceasefire didn't specify exactly when it would start or how it would be implemented, and there's another problem. in eastern ghouta, it's a disparate group of rebels fighting the regime, including some extremist elements that have been linked to al-anda, and the ceasefire
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doesn't cover them. government forces are massed around the edge of the enclave, with reports of clashes as they try and advance. tonight, we spoke to the most powerful group on the ground, jaysh al islam, which claims to have killed and kidnapped dozens of government troops today. translation: when the regime is not abiding by the un resolution, i cannot stand still and watch and not defend myself and ourfamilies in ghouta. if there's one thing all sides agree on it's that the conflict, in one hospital in eastern ghouta, victims, activists say, of a suspected chemical attack, suffering symptoms of a possible use of chlorine gas. if there's one thing all sides agree on it's that the conflict, and the agony of syrian civilians, is very far from over. let's get more on those reports
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of a possible chemical attack in eastern ghouta. our correspondent richard galpin has been following the latest developments on this story. where are these reports coming from? quite a lot of sources. we have spoken to somebody from the syrian american medical incited, involved in hospitals in syria, including one in eastern ghouta, where they say 16 patients were brought today with symptoms which indicate a chemical attack. they are saying that, among those patients are six children, a number of women as well, and they are saying that one child has subsequently died. they are saying that the doctors there believe it's some kind of chlorine attack, however they've not been able to confirm it, they don't have the expertise. we've also heard from an organisation called the syrian observatory for human rights, which is based here. they have a lot of sources on the ground in syria, a
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lot of contacts, and they are also saying there is an incident involving a number of patients with breathing difficulties, and one child has died. we don't have absolute confirmation that this was absolute confirmation that this was a chemical attack. no, because that is on a chemical attack. no, because that isona a chemical attack. no, because that is on a different scale, and it implies that a red line has been crossed in many peoples view. there different types of chemical attacks. we have obviously seen horrific tax in syria, cyrene gas being used, large and others killed, and this appears to be quite a small incident, but one child has potentially died and a number of civilians have been injured, and this comes just after the un security council resolution for a ceasefire, and the expectation that fighting would diminish, and i think the last thing people expected was that there would be a chemical attack. thinking about conditions in eastern ghouta and what medics are having to cope with, you wonder how
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there could ever be —— they could ever be equipped to cope with something like this. it's difficult, there has been training for doctors in syria to deal with chemical attacks, but it is an extremely difficult, depending on the type of chemical used, but it's very difficult, and we know that hospitals are already depleted in terms of their resources, their medicine and the food they need, and many of them have been targeted recently. —— and the equipment they need. let's return to the breaking news of a major incident being declared by police in leicester. on the line is john declared by police in leicester. on the line isjohn alexander, a bbc journalist who lives close to where the incident has happened. it'sjust around the hinckley road and carlisle street area. what do you know? not a lot. i know there has been what appears to be a big explosion, which has completely
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demolish the building it was in, which is a weekly look —— retail outlet. it looks like there may be some kind of fire. there is a big fire. i was sitting in my back room andi fire. i was sitting in my back room and i felt a fire. i was sitting in my back room and ifelt a huge fire. i was sitting in my back room and i felt a huge shock to the head, which felt like the roof was coming in all the drogheda had —— or the boiler had exploded i ran straight out of the front door, up the street, around the corner to the shop, and it's blown debris and rubble across four lanes of traffic. there was an enormous fire and pretty quickly all of the 999 services were in attendance, and there are now 60 houses in accordance and we've all been evacuated. where have they could you? —— in a chord in. evacuated. where have they could you? -- in a chord in. nowhere, i'm sat in my car at the moment. just
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describe this particular street. hinckley wrote —— hinckley road is a major road which leads right to the city centre. it does, one of the big arterial routes which connects the two major motorways, the m69 and the mi. around the area there are predominantly victorian terraced houses. my street is all victorian terraces, with the exception of these 2—storey villas, which are closest to the building which exploded. so it was a big shock wave. it's not taken any windows out or anything like that. but it was enough that you could feel it. friends five straightaway said that they thought somebody had thrown something. —— friends five
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straightaway. there are quite a few people in this photograph we've got, and i'm hoping they have all been cleared away. we have been hearing from the newswires that they are treating it as a search and rescue operation. i think they probably are. when i ran round the corner, there was one police car and a couple of officers, and they were trying to extract somebody from the building. ithink trying to extract somebody from the building. i think they managed that successfully. some of the people who had been in the pub next door or using the bus shelter can be smoking shelter, did appear to have some injuries. there was a guy who was clutching a piece of kitchen roll to his hand because he was bleeding. i tried to speak to a couple of people, but understandably nobody wa nted people, but understandably nobody wanted to talk to me. you said you felt something, but what did you hear? i heard like rush of air, the sound of an explosion, but with the
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impact ofair sound of an explosion, but with the impact of air hitting whatever was producing this explosion. it was the pressure that i heard and the noise of the pressure, and then i felt a tremor. it's not very far from the city centre, this, a mix of houses and businesses. houses and businesses, and my health is a mile door—to—door to the high street, so it's very close to the city centre. and how are you meant to get outside this area if you are sick in your car? from what i gather, there are two cordons, one quite close to hinckley road, and another where morstan street is broken by denton street food nobodies attending to that barrier. when i wanted to get my car out, i asked one of the guys standing barefoot you can't see any officers at either of those cordons.
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john, thank you. it sounds like there is quite a lot of damage that's been done to buildings in that's been done to buildings in that area, in the carlisle street, hinckley road area, the a47 in leicester. that was john alexander, a bbcjournalist, leicester. that was john alexander, a bbc journalist, speaking leicester. that was john alexander, a bbcjournalist, speaking from inside the called in. china's state news agency says the ruling communist party has proposed a change to the constitution that would allow the president and vice—president to stay in power for more than two terms. the current president, xi jinping, is due to step down from his role in 2023. our china correspondent, robin brant, reports. this was xijinping a few months ago. with china communist party pomp at its finest as he was confirmed for a second term as party chief and president. behind him were his two immediate predecessors, both of whom served ten years, then stepped aside. now there is fresh sign that he wants to eclipse them. the ruling communist party wants to ditch the rule that the president
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should serve no more than two consecutive terms. in just those eight words lies the biggest change to china's leadership in 30 years. why now? the overall consensus in china by most people is that president xi jinping has really done a very good job and has become a truly outstanding leader by the chinese standard. his fight against corruption, his bold and audacious initiative to promote the one belt, one road initiative, for example. but to some here it looks like the current leader wants to become more like this one, communist china's founding father. xi is now referred to by the same term as chairman mao. both have had their thought written into the constitution, and critics see a growing cult around xi as well. except this man, shown here holding hands with his mother released last week, is in charge of what is now
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the world's second—biggest economy. china and xijinping has looked to increase its influence in this part of the world, particularly in the south china sea, way beyond its coastline. it has expanded its trade relationship to the west towards europe as well. there is no doubt that more xijinping means a china that wants more of a presence on the world stage and more of an influence. i want to thank you for the very warm welcome. my feeling toward you is an incredibly warm one. president trump has described his chinese counterpart as a friend, but xijinping has plans to challenge the us, with an expanding navy in the pacific and beyond, and with ambitions as well to conquer new tech. the longer xi stays in power, the stronger the challenge could be. rod wye is an associate fellow with the asia research programme
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at the chatham house think—tank, and hejoins me now. thank you forjoining us. why would the communist party want to do this, and why now? i think it's clearly an initiative she jingling, that he feels that other to keep china on its successful as he puts it,, it needs a successful —— stable and long—lasting readership, and to do that he needs to change the rules. how long—lasting? that he needs to change the rules. how long-lasting? that's an open question. i mean, he hasn't actually said he wants a third term yet. it's just an enabling measure that's taken place. but, for as long as is necessary , taken place. but, for as long as is necessary, i think, from his perspective. that's a very big
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change if that happens, which is that previously i had sort of agreed that previously i had sort of agreed that leaders after the age of 68 would retire, but he is not going to. how is this likely to be regarded by certain leaders in the west who have always tried to push china towards a democracy we might recognise? there is a big political change taking place in china, but it isn't democracy, and that isn't going to happen. the chinese communist party is going to maintain its rule for as long as it can. if this goes ahead and he is allowed to stay for another term, what does it tell you about the direction china is heading in? i mean, it doesn't say much about the chinese economy, and that was one of the issues raised in the report, but it does say something about the political system, and that it is moving towards clearly a much more authoritarian political system, and
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we are seeing that notjust in the political appointments and structures but in the way that dissidents and others are getting an increasingly difficult time. there is, of course, this enormous initiative, the one belt, one road initiative, the one belt, one road initiative, which is all about infrastructure and connecting china with the rest of the world how much easier will it be for china to pursue that if they change the constitution is to mocklj pursue that if they change the constitution is to mocki don't think the constitution makes much difference. that is a matter of policy and not either the constitution or the political structure. is that xi jinping is very much behind the belt and wrote initiative and, as long as he is in power, it will be an important element of chinese policy. which are the countries in the world that are most likely to fear this move?|j
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think most likely to fear this move?” think that's a difficult question to answer. i mean, it does mean that there's going to be a much longer lived chinese leadership, that we are going to have to get used to, and that means we are going to have to reach a much greater understanding of xi jinping to reach a much greater understanding of xijinping in particular, and what he wants out of this newly emerging and more assertive china. we are going to see assertive china. we are going to see a more, more assertive china. thank you. police have declared a major incident in leicester following reports of an explosion. we've heard via several news agencies that six fire engines were called to this pa rt fire engines were called to this part of leicester, about a mile from the high street in the city centre, in the carlisle street and hinckley road area. we were speaking a short time ago to a bbcjournalist who lives very close by. he was sitting
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in his car inside the court and that had thrown around the area. he said that he'd felt what seemed like a rush of air. other eyewitnesses had reported this incident to the authorities and thought they heard an explosion, some kind of glass. as you can see, a huge amount of damage being done to one of the buildings. —— some kind of blast it is a mixture of residential and shops. it appears that there is a flat above a shop on this particular road which has felt the force of this explosion. we don't know what the cause is yet, but it's a sizeable one. about 60 houses have been evacuated, we were told, and a video was posted on twitter, which we saw a moment ago. a number of photographs emerging in the last few minutes. there appears to have been
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some kind of fire that has started. you can see the smoke billowing in that picture. it looks like the night sky is very bright because of what's happened inside this building. we understand from leicestershi re building. we understand from leicestershire fire and rescue service that they are treating it as a search and rescue operation. that is the tweet that leicestershire police put out about an hour ago, after this incident was reported, just after 7pm. hinckley road is one of the main arterial roads. this can be a very busy part of the city, but possibly slightly quieter ona city, but possibly slightly quieter on a sunday evening. so that's the latest that we have. police are advising everyone to avoid the area, hinckley road and carlisle street,
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while they deal with this major incident, following reports of an explosion. we will bring you more details coming up. now the weather forecast with sarah. if you've been keeping up with forecasts, you have probably heard there is some very wintry weather coming up with disruptive snowfall in the east. coming up, eastern scotla nd in the east. coming up, eastern scotland and eastern england seemed the cloud, a few scattered snow showers, subzero temperature is overnight across the board, with a widespread frost and some iciness. most of the snow showers towards the east will be fairly well scattered on monday morning, many places staying dry, the best sunshine further west, but the cloud filtering further east. temperatures getting a few degrees above freezing but, adding an easterly wind, it will feel like minus five degrees for many of us. a cold day on monday and, further heavy snow showers towards the east as we head through
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monday evening and overnight onto tuesday we could see heavier and more persistent snow in eastern england and scotland. the met office issued an ample warning for potential disruption. —— and amber warning. this is bbc news. the headlines at 8:30pm: police declare a major incident in leicester after reports of a major explosion on hinckley road. fire engines and ambulance and police are on the scene. labour shift their policy on europe. the shadow brexit secretary says the party would now keep britain in a customs union. airstrikes continue in the besieged syrian enclave of eastern ghouta, despite a un—agreed ceasefire. france and germany appealed to russia to put pressure on damascus. china's president, xijinping, could serve indefinitely under changes to the constitution put forward by the ruling communist party. there was show of unity between north and south korea at the closing ceremony, and the north says it
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will meet the us for talks.

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