this is bbc news. the headlines at nine o'clock: labour denies having any official links to facebook groups forjeremy corbyn some supporters were anti—semitic comments have been posted. a senior party official is forced to resign and eddie izzard joins the national executive committee. anthonyjoshua beats joseph parker in executive committee. anthonyjoshua beatsjoseph parker in a unanimous win to add this title to his others. ifi win to add this title to his others. if i was retiring, i would be like, yes, iam if i was retiring, i would be like, yes, i am the man, because you retire on the high. but i am kind of balanced and we are still hustling. pope francis delivers his traditional easter blessing. this is the scene lies at the vatican. royal air force is 100 years old today. events a re air force is 100 years old today. events are being held across the country to mark the time when the raf became the world's first independent airforce. 100
raf became the world's first independent air force. 100 years to the day since that formation, we will be turning back the clock that europe's last surviving intact first world war aerodrome. and we will look at the sunday papers with david wooding from the sun on sunday. good morning and welcome to bbc news. labour has sought to distance itself from some facebook groups set up itself from some facebook groups set up by itself from some facebook groups set up by supporters ofjeremy corbyn after it emerged that members have posted anti—jewish, violent and abusive comments. the sunday times says it has uncovered more than 2000 offensive messages. labour said it didn't run the groups not have any official connection with them and it
had strict rules prohibiting abuse and determination. jonathan blake has been following this story and is with me now. what is being said here? these are groups that are set up here? these are groups that are set up on facebook, not officially connected to the labour party, but in many cases to supportjeremy corbyn‘s leadership and they represent a total of about 400,000 people, and 20 of the biggest groups have been looked at by the sunday times. they found 2000 messages which contained various forms are pretty nasty abuse, some of it anti—semitic, otherforms pretty nasty abuse, some of it anti—semitic, other forms of racism, misogynistic abuse, threats of violence, contained within there. the newspaper claim that well senior staff working forjeremy corbyn and john mcdonnell were members of these facebook groups, but labour says that nobody working in either office had seen, posted or endorsed any of these messages. i think it is worth saying that while this content is clearly shopping too many people, it
does not necessarily represent the entire tone of discussion and exchanges within these groups. nevertheless labour are seeking to distance themselves from these groups, saying they are not run by the labour party or officially connected to the party in any way and going on in a statement to say that the labour party is committed to challenging and campaigning against anti—semitism in all its forms. of course that has dominated forms. of course that has dominated for the party over what has been a very difficult week for labour. and it will provoke further discussions later today no doubt. turning our attention to the prime minister and we have an easter day message from her. yes, she has been offering some thoughts on the last 12 months, and reflecting on her own faith in the easter message, which we can hear a bit of now. easter is the most important time in the christian calendar. a time when we remember christ's's sacrifice on the cross and give thanks for the promise of redemption afforded by his resurrection. 0ver
redemption afforded by his resurrection. over the last year, britain has faced some dark moments, from the terrorist attacks that westminster bridge and london bridge, at manchester arena, and finsbury park and parsons green, and the fire at grenfell tower. i know from speaking to the victims and survivors of these terrible events how vital the love and support they have received from their friends, family and neighbours has been to them as they begin to rebuild their lives. in the bravery of those facing adversity, the dedication of out facing adversity, the dedication of our emergency services, and the generosity of local communities, we see the triumph of the human spirit. the prime minister's easter message today. and thank you tojonathan the prime minister's easter message today. and thank you to jonathan for that. britain's anthonyjoshua has secured his third major boxing world title with victory over new zealand'sjoseph title with victory over new zealand's joseph parker in title with victory over new zealand'sjoseph parker in cardiff. joshua now needs one more belts to
be crowned the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. he's one of the biggest stars of british sport, but for that star to continue rising, anthonyjoshua must keep winning, and with each opponent comes danger. go, new zealand! go, joseph parker! never before had reigning heavyweight champions met on these shores but with two unbeaten records on the line, this turned into a cagey contest. thouthoshua was the aggressor, joseph parker stood firm, and the briton would go the distance for the first time in his career. the referee was criticised for how often he stepped in, yet the judges unanimously ruled in joshua's favour. he now has three of the four recognised world championship belts. nobody has held all of them at once. that is the aim. i think 2018 was always a time to capture all the belts. we are one away now, and i think the sky's the limit for what we're trying to achieve.
so a night that didn't quite deliver the drama so many wanted to see was no less significant for anthonyjoshua on his rise towards sporting greatness. a journey that shows no sign of slowing down. joshua's breakthrough came at the london 2012 olympics. he turned professional a year later. he collected his first major title with victory over charles martin. beating wladimir klitschko at wembley added a second crown in spectacular style. now only deontay wilder can prevent joshua from becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. you see the good, the bad, the ugly. and long may it continue, i think. i'm not done. i think i have a lot of years left in me. if i can keep in control of fights like that, without taking
david 0rnstein, bbc news. ceremonies will be held today to mark exactly 100 years since the raf became the world's first independent air force. became the world's first independent airforce. it was became the world's first independent air force. it was formed by the merger of the army's royal flying corps and the royal naval college servers. between them they had fewer than 200 aircraft at the start of the first world war. a number of events a re the first world war. a number of events are being held across the country and robert hall is at stow maries aerodrome in essex. good morning. where better to be than an airfield which was around right at the very start of the raf, 100 years ago today? and somewhere where you can see the aircraft that were flown. i am going to bring in our raf historian, howard. we will look at that aircraft in a minute but hang on for a second. these look incredibly fragile. were they? know. they were manufactured deliberately to ta ke they were manufactured deliberately to take some serious action. not
initially any me action because the first aircraft flying in the great war were reconnaissance aircraft, literally flying over german lines and taking photographs, plotting things on maps. they were designed to be tough for aerial action but as the war developed we began to see airto aircombatand the war developed we began to see air to air combat and we began to see different designs of aircraft, soaking up more enemy action from bullets being fired at them. let's go inside. we see the word and the wiring and they are covered with a fabric. is lenin? it is a fabric with a doping, which is like glue, similarto with a doping, which is like glue, similar to putting wallpaper up at home. a very durable construction. a mixture of different fabrics and there was piano wire and all sorts of ingenious ways. the struts made of ingenious ways. the struts made of wood that you can see here, held with metal struts giving its real strength, holding it together. they
we re very strength, holding it together. they were very tough aeroplanes. they operated in damp and cold aerodromes in france in the first world war in the wintertime and they were taking off and landing so they had to be durable. the other thing that was really important was they had to be very easy to fix. if you compare that to current aircraft in service today, these are very straightforward. crafts men, who would have been piano makers before, furniture makers etc, they were responsible for being recruited into the raf to maintain them. before the raf there was the royal flying corps and the royal naval air service. there were two arms. in the 1960s the bbc spoke to pilots who flew with those two arms and i want to play you a tiny bit of these very brave man. you had to fight as if
there was nothing but you and your guns. you had nobody at your side, nobody cheering with you, nobody to look after you if you are hit. you we re look after you if you are hit. you were alone. you fought alone and died alone. there was undoubtedly a sense of chivalry in the air. we did not feel that we were shooting at men. we didn't want to kill men. we we re really men. we didn't want to kill men. we were really trying to shoot down the machines. 0ur enemies were not the men in the machines. 0ur enemies we re men in the machines. 0ur enemies were the machines themselves. look at your medals, this is for service done with today's raf. before we come onto the commemorations, as a pilot, do you feel that link to the past? we have moved on immeasurably. absolutely. trent would turn up today and see this spirit of adventure in all the people in the royal air force today. it was not easy to start with. the motto was
that it through adversity to the stars. people were not at all sure about having an air force. no, but it proved itself pretty quickly. when you see what we achieved in the second world war at what we achieve now, whether it is humanitarian relief, which airforce is involved ina lot, relief, which airforce is involved in a lot, and we are involved in 21 countries around the world, so we are busier than we ever have been since the second world war. as a young report, did you think about the ethos of it? young recruits are now thinking about the digital side, the satellites and drones. there is a huge gap, isn't there? it brings all of that together to work as a team to exploit these capabilities. we look for the inspiration and innovation of people as they come in today. we need to work together to integrate the capabilities get the best out of the capabilities get the best out of the equipment. let's talk about today because it really kicks off a series of commemorations stretching into the summer. absolutely right. there is today and then a service of
remembrance to commemorate the 100th year of the royal air force and then we move on to a variety of celebration throughout the year, and one of the most fantastic will be on the 10th ofjuly, which is a fly past, which you won't see again, i don't think. 100 aircraft over buckingham palace, mentored by 7000 servicemen on the ground. static displays of iconic aircraft up and down the country throughout the summer. it is fantastic and we want the nation to celebrate with us. let me go back to you as a pilot before we close. we are here at stow maries and perhaps we need to show a shot of what is around us. all around is history. back in the day, in the the spitfire which you flew, did you feel that bond, that sense of freedom that military pilots in particular have spoken about over the years? there is something fascinating and inspiring about aviation. whether it is in the old aeroplanes that you see behind us or the modern typhoons, i think it is
something that everybody can touch and feel and look forward to developing that technology. invisible stealth aeroplanes. high technology carbon composite. just fantastic. thank you very much. we will be following events. a landmark thing at 2 o'clock on bbc news, we will be lowering the standard of the old royal flying corps and raising the raf standard, a symbolic moment in many months of commemorations. robert hall. events there and at biggin hill and robert hall. events there and at biggin hilland in robert hall. events there and at biggin hill and in central london to be covered on bbc news today. pope francis is delivering his traditional easter blessing from the st peters basilica in rome. late on saturday he led an easter vigil attended by 10,000 pilgrims in the basilica. during the mass the pope baptised eight people including john, a nigerian migrant who prevented a robbery last year while he was begging outside an italian supermarket. 0ur correspondent david
is in rome. give us a sense of events today and last night as well. well, last night it was very impressive, the ceremony, as it a lwa ys impressive, the ceremony, as it always is. the easter vigil mass begins in total darkness. the pope liked the pastoral candle, the easter candle, and one by one everybody likes their own candles from their neighbours. the whole basilica is flooded in light. the pope used this metaphor as showing thatjesus christ pope used this metaphor as showing that jesus christ is pope used this metaphor as showing thatjesus christ is indeed the light of the world. this is one of the major festivals of the roman catholic church. easter sunday. now the second mass is taking place in the second mass is taking place in the open air in st peter's square. the beautiful square that was built in the 18th century. it is full of pilgrims and tourists and it looks
like it will be a bumper yearfor tourism in italy. the forecasts are that italy will regain its prime place as one of the most popular tourist destinations in europe if for no other reason than large numbers of chinese and indians are beginning to discover the joys of touring in europe as their countries become more prosperous is. touring in europe as their countries become more prosperous ism touring in europe as their countries become more prosperous is. it is a remarkable scene and we have just the lovely aerial shots. can we put numbers on the number of people who attend on a day like today? difficult but over 50,000. the vatican normally gives an estimate at the end of the day to say how many people they think came. of course the massing of the pilgrims in st peter's square does provide a security headache for the italian government and they have taken particular precautions this year in
the light of possible threats by terrorists to disrupt the proceedings. 0n the whole i think the italians about the situation very well under control. for example, a big truck was stopped in the centre of rome the other day because there was some suspicion that it might be going to mow down some people, as has happened in other european capitals. there is very close cooperation between the authorities in the vatican and the italian police. of course they have got to do the major security work. simply because the vatican has a very small police force of its own. the swiss guards, not more than 300 men and officers altogether. so it would be impossible to police this huge crowd without the help of the italians as well. many thanks for that. david in rome. sunny skies
there. now it is time for the headlines on bbc news: labour denies having any official links to facebook groups were jeremy having any official links to facebook groups werejeremy corbyn supporters where anti—semitic comments have been posted. the comedian eddie izzard joins labour's ruling committee after senior party official is forced to resign. anthonyjoshua beats official is forced to resign. anthony joshua beats new official is forced to resign. anthonyjoshua beats new zealand's joseph parker with a unanimous win to add the wbo title to all of his others. dozens of russian diplomats ordered to leave the united states as part of the international response to the salisbury nerve agent attack have left washington. 0n salisbury nerve agent attack have left washington. on monday they were given seven days to return home. well—wishers gathered inside the gates of the russian embassy in washington to say farewell to their departing colleagues. around 50 men, women and children left in a small convoy out of 170
people who will eventually leave the united states. a russian aircraft had already been loaded with their luggage at the airport ready to carry them home. and in mirror images in russia, american diplomats and their families could be seen packing their bags and leaving the us consulate in st petersburg. in the failing light, the american flag was taken down. the consulate has been ordered to close down completely, with the expulsion of a total of 60 american diplomats from here and moscow. tit—for—tat expulsions have been matched by tit—for—tat rhetoric. in today's sunday telegraph, the defence secretary, gavin williamson, said "the world's patience with putin's repeated pattern of malign behaviour had worn thin." he added: russia has demanded consular access
to sergei and yulia skripal. she is now said to be conscious. britain said her rights and wishes would be taken into account. the geneva convention says access should be allowed. we all know very well that the russians operate on a basis of strict reciprocity. if we interpret the convention in a restrictive way, they will do the same in some future case, and some unfortunate briton in trouble in russia will have trouble getting consular access. 0vernight, the last american diplomats left their consulate in st petersburg. in the coming days, more of their british colleagues will be following, with the uk being told to slim down its embassy staff in moscow even further. andy moore, bbc news. tougher penalties for littering come into force in england today. on the spot fines will increase from £80 to
£150. authorities could also use the penalties to target vehicle owners if it is possible to prove that rubbish has been thrown from their car. jessica parker reports. hitting litter louts where it hurts — their pockets. 0n—the—spot fines are nearly doubling, with the maximum penalty now set at £150. littering is of course bad for the environment. it's not good for the taxpayer either. the government says keeping the country's streets clean costs local councils nearly £700 million last year. that is money which could be much better spent on other services. we want to encourage people to litter less, but also to recycle more and make sure that they work with their communities so that councils can invest their council tax in services that truly matter. it is also going to be easier to tackle littering from vehicles. previously officers had to identify exactly who threw litter from a car. now councils across england will only need to prove that rubbish has been dropped from a vehicle in order to fine the owner, even if it was discarded by somebody else.
cracking down on culprits is, it seems, a popular idea. well, there's too much litter around. it's a mess. i think it's dangerous, throwing it out of a car anyway, because of the cars behind you. and just in general, walking around, it's awful sometimes. fines and punishments drive behaviour, so yeah, ultimately i think it is a good thing if we want cleaner streets. but ministers are warning authorities not to abuse the new powers, saying they should be used in a proportionate way. jessica parker, bbc news. two of the largest teaching unions have raised concerns about the way children with special educational needs and disabilities are treated in schools. the national education union says the number of children with special needs who are not receiving a school place is a disgrace. the government insists that funding will reach record levels by 2020 but campaigners say that stretched budgets are putting
special schools staff at risk of being attacked by their pupils. huge changes through the special educational needs reforms have taken place at a time when swingeing cuts have also taken place. so this has become a bit of a cocktail of disaster, really, and what is happening is we are hearing families telling us they are not getting the support they need for their children at school, and that their children are falling behind. fees charged for children's funerals by local authorities in england are to be scrapped. the change comes after a campaign by the mp carolyn harris who needed a loan to bury her eight—year—old son after he was killed in a car accident. the costs will now been met by a new £10 million fund being set up by the government. the change brings england into line with wales which scrapped the fees last year. reports from syria say a deal has been reached to evacuate critically injured people from the last rebel
held town in eastern ghouta. the rest of the area is now under their control. this is what is left in much of eastern ghouta, the last few civilians on the streets along with government troops. the suburbs outside damascus a shadow of their former selves. 0n the horizon, douma, the last rebel enclave standing in eastern ghouta. if the government takes it, this whole area will be back in president assad's control. for weeks, there have been evacuations across the area with thousands of civilians and rebel fighters being allowed to leave. now russia says a deal has been made to get people safely out of douma. but forced displacement is what the rebels have called it. they say they've made no such deal. they accuse president assad of trying to change the demographics in this area in his favour.
for the families ripped apart by the fighting in the area, the hope is that at least they can be reunited. translation: my hope is that my sons, who are in ghouta, get out and to bring my children together, so we all live together. for those who don't leave, syria's army has threatened a full—scale military offensive. and as the war here goes into its eighth year, it is difficult to know how much more people can take. workers receiving the national living wage will get a pay rise today as it goes up to £7.83 per hour but the foundations says it is still not enough to make ends meet for low paid workers, especially those in london. joe lynam reports. the good news is that earnings
are set to rise for two million people on low wages from today. the bad news, according to one charity, is that it still isn't enough to cover the real cost of living. the national living wage rises from £7.50 per hour for the over—25s to £7.83 from today. but the living wage foundation charity says the figure should be £8.75 outside london. inside london it believes the real living wage should be £10.20, to cover basics such as rent and transport. we welcome any step to close the gap between the government minimum and the real living wage, which is calculated based on what people need to live. 5.5 million people in the uk are still earning less than the wage they need to live on. so for a full—time worker, on the minimum wage, they are earning £1,800 a year less than the real living wage. that is the equivalent of six months or a year's worth of gas and electricity bills,
or three month‘ rent. the gap is biggest for people in london. the government said the increased national living wage would be worth £600 per year to those on lower pay. it also said that millions could also benefit from a higher personal allowance of £11,850, which also comes into force today. joe lynam, bbc news. with a little over six weeks to go we are hearing more details about the forthcoming royal wedding. prince harry and meghan markle have chosen white garden roses, peonies and foxgloves for their big day. they will be sourced from the gardens of the crown estate and wins a great park. the flowers will also be used to decorate the couple's lemon and elderflower wedding cake. this is bbc news. coming up the next few minutes: we will look at sunday papers. that is after we have heard about the weather from helen. hello
and happy easter. to date is still looking like the driest day of this easter weekend because looming large towards the south—west we have got some rain on its way. but this is how it looked in guernsey this morning. the sunshine will fade as this massive amount of cloud rolls in from the atlantic. for the meantime it is a quiet pictures sandwiched between weather fronts and it should continue to be dry and bright for many parts of scotland and northern ireland. the sunshine faith in the south and west ahead of cloud initially and rain from mid—afternoon on. still some showers in eastern areas in particular, wintery over the hills in northern england. they will have brighter and sunnier spells. winds lighter than yesterday so not feeling as cold as it has done so far this easter. but still the risk of snow showers in the north. a cold start with a touch of mist and fog around as well. this evening and overnight it turns more disruptive potentially. we have the
risk of heavy rain on saturated ground is causing localflooding risks, which turns to snow over the moors and mountains. eventually it will turn back to rein in the south as we head towards morning. follow that weather system up through to the north, with rainfall and snowfall of several centimetres which will settle with temperatures close to freezing and a cold night in the north. easter monday morning, it pushes its way into northern england and we will see five to ten centimetres of snow across the pennines and with heavy bursts it falls to lower levels. snow in northern ireland will turn back to rain, we hope, but the problem with the rivers being quite high and more heavy rain to come. the rain will give some localised flooding, spray and standing water, but the snow when people are on the roads as we go into easter monday, the end of the easter break, it could all be very disruptive indeed. there are weather warnings on the website. local radio will keep you updated.
snow is a big issue as we go through monday into tuesday, eventually becoming confined to the far north of scotla nd becoming confined to the far north of scotland by the end of tuesday. most of scotland by the end of tuesday. m ost pla ces of scotland by the end of tuesday. most places will be into the milder atla ntic most places will be into the milder atlantic air with temperatures in the teens in england and wales and heavy showers to come. low pressures that across as for the middle part of the week and into wednesday it continues to look unsettled. this is bbc news, our latest headlines. labour denies having any official links to facebook groups forjeremy corbyn supporters, where anti—semitic comments have been posted. comedian eddie izzard joins labour's ruling committee —