this is bbc news. the headlines at midday. the government strongly defends its belief that russia was behind the nerve agent attack in salisbury. we know that it regards ex—agents as being candidates for assassination. the prime minister pledges to tackle what she calls the "burning injustice" of britain's gender pay gap — as the deadline approaches for companies to reveal their pay figures. car manufacturer vauxhall is to build a new van at its luton plant, safeguarding 1,400 jobs at the factory and potentially creating more roles. a 78—year—old pensioner is arrested on suspicion of murder after a man died following a suspected burglary in south east london. also coming up in the next hour —
it's 50 years since the assassination of martin luther king. events will commemorate the anniversary of his murder, including a ceremony at the motel where was shot. the opening ceremony for the 21st commonwealth games is under way, kicking off 12 days of events on the gold coast. this is the scene live from queensland in australia. good afternoon and welcome to bbc news. the british delegation to the international chemical weapons regulator the opcw has dismissed russia's proposal for a joint investigation into the salisbury nerve agent attack as "perverse". officials said the idea was
a "diversionary tactic" by moscow. the opcw has been holding an emergency meeting at the hague,— an emergency meeting at the hague, at russia's request, to discuss the poisoning. the government has strongly defended its belief that russia was behind the nerve agent attack in salisbury after the head of the porton down defence laboratory said it could not confirm the precise source of the substance used to poison sergei skripal and his daughter. anna holligan reports. what was the substance, where did it come from and who planted it? theresa may told parliament the attack involved a military—grade nerve agent and that the only plausible explanation was that russia was culpable, an allegation moscow has repeatedly denied. yesterday, the head of britain's military research centre at porton down confirmed it had identified the highly toxic novichok but was unable to prove where it had been produced.
investigators from the opcw visited salisbury and collected samples, they‘ re expecting to have the results of independent lab tests within a week. as a signatory of the chemical weapons convention, russia has the right to request a meeting. 13 questions have been posed by moscow, including what kind of evidence the uk provided to the opcw, which inspectors were sent, who they met with and where the samples are being analysed. anna holligan, bbc news, in the hague. the chief executive of the porton down laboratory where the poison used in the attack was examined has explained that despite identifying
what the substances, the laboratory cannot exactly confirm whether it came from. i can speak on behalf of oui’ came from. i can speak on behalf of our scientists, for the part that we have played in the whole operation, which is using you know, their expertise, their experience and rigorous evidence —based scientific analysis, they have come to the conclusion that this is a nerve agent from the novichok family, of that i can be certain. all of the other aspects that you might read about in the media and all of the other questions that are being raised are not really an issue for us raised are not really an issue for us to get into but what he would not go we can be sure of is the scientific evidence and the confirmation of what this substances and it is extremely toxic military grade nerve agent. this morning the government was strongly defending its belief that russia was responsible for the attack. let's get more on that from
norman smith, who is following this continuing to and fro. you sense that ministers are desperate to just quash any doubts that russia might succeed in following that interview with the chief executive porton down and also to try and reassure the sort of coalition that mrs may managed to pull together that there is no reason to doubt the evidence against russia and i suppose the real concern is that russia succeeds in using the fact that the chief executive has said we are not saying this definitely comes from russia, we arejust this definitely comes from russia, we are just saying it is novichok. whether russia thereby manages to just need a way at doubt among some in the international community, bearing in mind some european union countries have always been much more sympathetic towards russia. so far there has been no sign of that international coalition breaking down but it is striking, ministers
out and about this morning again reiterating their conviction that russia was to blame for the salisbury attack. have a listen to liam fox. porton down identified the agent as being a russian military grade nerve agent. we know that russia has been stockpiling amounts of this. we know that russia has been investigating ways of delivering it. we know that russia has previously been willing to poison outside its own borders, including in the united kingdom. we know that it regards ex—agents as being candidates for assassination. it is not of course the united kingdom alone that came to this conclusion. it is a conclusion backed up by our allies right across the world, who came to the same conclusions as we did. there is no other plausible area that could have come from. meanwhile labour have been pointing to jeremy come from. meanwhile labour have been pointing tojeremy corbyn is rather more cautious response to the salisbury attack. euro member, he questionjust how salisbury attack. euro member, he question just how reliable the evidence actually was —— you will
remember. diane abbott said that more thoughtful approach, her description, jeremy corbyn should get credit for that. jeremy corbyn again this morning while stressing the need for what he called a responsible and cool approach to establish who actually was... or where the novichok came from. he also rounded on the foreign secretary, who has been very bullish on some of the interviews he has given and his conviction that russia was responsible, telling colleagues on five live last month that on a scale of one to ten, he was 9.98 certain that the novichok came from russia. this morning, jeremy corbyn was asked about some of boris johnson ‘s comments. this is his response. well, he claimed categorically, he used the words 10196, categorically, he used the words 101%, that it came from russia. porton down have not said that. they have said they have identified it as novichok and cannot identify the source novichok and cannot identify the source of it. either the foreign
secretary has information that he's not sharing with porton down or it was a bit of exaggeration. i don't know which it is, but i think we need irresponsible approach to this. we need to get to the source of this to prevent it ever happening again. of course, in his latest interview, borisjohnson of course, in his latest interview, boris johnson says of course, in his latest interview, borisjohnson says he asked the head of porton down if he could be absolutely sure that it was novichok. and the scientists told borisjohnson yes, he was sure it was novichok, not that he was sure that novichok came from russia. and so in political terms, norman, it has been a month since it is attack, this is a constant to and fro and that in essence... no sign of that going away. neither side is good to change its views here. that points to another area of concern for the british government that this gets dragged down into incredibly
protracted, may be rather inconclusive process, as the sort of international chemical weapons agency carries out its investigation with continual questions, challenges from the russians. and did all drags on to no real definite conclusion, any time soon. i think the fear in the british government circles is that when you put that together with what they regard as the disinformation coming from russia, that might dent, as i say, notjust international support for the british response but maybe even to public support so there is a wariness around this whole area and the determination to restate their conviction that russia was directly to blame for the salisbury attack. let's head straight to the hague. that meeting has been going on there this morning. our correspondent is there. and a meeting called at the request of
russia. yes, and as a member of the canal —— chemical weapons convention, russia has the right to call this needed. it said it was looking to evidence as to what kind of evidence had been gathered and shared, where the samples had been taken to be tested independently verified by the opcw ‘s inspectors. they also wanted to know they said in the steady question is who the inspectors met when they visited salisbury. the meeting has actually concluded now. we are expecting to hear more from the british delegation shortly. i have been speaking to the embassy and they say they are expected to release a statement soon. we are also trying to check the detail of these reports, saying that the british delegation today, we should say that was not the ambassador, he is currently on leave, the british representative reportedly told the opcw meeting in the hague that the
fa ct opcw meeting in the hague that the fact that russia was using this tactic of calling this emergency meeting suggested that they were nervous about what the potential evidence could show. many thanks for now. the russian leader vladimir putin hasjoined leaders of iran and turkey this morning for a summit aimed at finding a political solution to the seven—year war in syria. the meeting in ankara is the second one between turkish president recep tayyip erdogan, his iranian counterpart hassan rouhani and the russian president. the three leaders represent the three largest foreign military forces currently operating inside syria, excluding the united states. theresa may has promised to tackle what she's described as the "burning injustice" of the uk's gender pay gap — that's the difference between the average earnings of men and women. companies with 250 or more employees have until midnight to publish figures showing how their workforces are affected. most of the 9,000 employers have already done so and more than three quarters pay their men more on average than women.
earlier our business correspondent, ben thompson gave us more details. about 100 firms that are still outstanding as far as that report is concerned. and you touched on the numbers there. from those that have reported, 78% say they pay men more than women, 13% say they pay women more than men, 8% say there is no problem, we pay everyone the same. it is adjusting if you start to look into some of the details, you get an idea of why this may be going on and some of the things that can be done to rectify it. one of the biggest names has been on this list, ryanair. it names has been on this list, rya nair. it reported names has been on this list,
ryanair. it reported a gender pay gap of nearly 72%. it is a staggering gap but if you look into the detail, you start to get an idea of why. they say the majority of highly paying jobs are those pilots and they tend to be male. that is why they have such a big pay disparity. what we are hearing now is there must be moves to try and results of that. a suggestion that it is in the interests of businesses and employers. whilst it is a crude mechanism for working out how much men and women are paid, it kick—start a conversation and allows women to go to their employer and say, look, i need to be paid the same as men. and we spoke a little earlier to the equality minister who made it very clear that all of this really is in the interest of everybody to make sure that the problem is resolved. a 78—year—old man has been arrested after an intruder was stabbed to death during a suspected burglary at his home. police said the pensioner, from hither green in south—east london, was arrested on suspicion of murder.
our correspondent jessica parkerjoins us from the scene in hither green, south east london. how much more do we know at this stage? we are getting some lines now in from the metropolitan police. what we know at the moment is that a 78—year—old man found two men in his home in the early hours of this morning, suspected burglars. we were told earlier by the metropolitan police that whilst one of those suspected burglars went upstairs, the other forced the 70 aged old man into the kitchen, armed with a screwdriver. a struggle ensued and a 37—year—old man ended up being stabbed in his upper body. this happened at a house on south park present, just up there. at the suspected burglar was found collapsed on this road in the early hours of this morning. he was taken toa hours of this morning. he was taken to a hospital in central london. where he died. we know that the
78—year—old man arrested originally on suspicion of grievous bodily harm has been further arrested on suspicion of murder. he is being held at a police station in south london. thank you very much. jessica parker at the scene in south—east london. these are today's headlines. britain has strongly reiterated its belief that russia was behind a nerve agent attack on a former spy. it has rejected as perverse the russian proposalfor a rejected as perverse the russian proposal for a joint investigation into the salisbury poisoning. the prime minister has promised to tackle what she calls the burning injustice of britain's gender pay gap as the deadline approaches for companies to reveal their pay figures. and the car manufacturer vauxhalls to build a new van at its plant in luton, safeguarding 11100 jobs and possibly creating more. a 16—year—old boy who was shot on monday night in walthamstow, east london has died in hospital. he was attacked a short time after a 17—year—old girl was shot dead a few miles away in tottenham.
the mayor of london, sadiq khan, has promised to fight what he called the "violent scourge" of gun and knife crime in the city. jon donnison reports. another day in london, another murder investigation. this time in walthamstow, where a 16—year—old boy, shot on monday night, succumbed to his injuries. just a few miles away in tottenham, the community is mourning another dead teenager. 17—year—old tanesha melbourne was with friends when she was killed in a drive—by shooting, also on monday evening. those who knew her have described her as a beautiful, lively and bubbly girl. this map shows every murder in the capital this year. 48 now in total. behind each mark, a family bereaved and coming to terms with their loss. some are blaming a lack of police funding. i've never seen resources so scarce on the ground to be able
to have the relationships with people to get the community to support what our police are doing. we've lost 100 police from around here already due to the cuts coming through from government. i've stood up in parliament to beg and plead for people so that we can start getting community intelligence. the government says it is taking measures to break the deadly cycle of violence. in recent years across england and wales, there has been a rise in violent crime. some of it related to gangs. but the levels are still far below what they were in, say, the mid—1990s. that will be little comfort, though, for those mourning in london this week. jon donnison, bbc news. the duke of edinburgh will have surgery on his hip today. he was admitted to the private king edward vii hospital
in central london yesterday for the planned operation. prince philip, who is 96, is understood to have had hip trouble for about a month. our royal correspondent, daniela relph, is at the hospital for us this morning. how much more do we know? we don't know an awful lot more at the moment. buckingham palace are not giving us any guidance on timing, so we don't know exactly when the duke of edinburgh was due to have his operation. you have to presume it would have taken place this morning. they are not giving us an exact time. what we're hoping is that once the operation is done, he is beginning to recuperate, we will get some sense from buckingham palace that that has happened and how we'd is doing. we do know that for the past month or so, yaz had this problem it will with pain in his hip —— we do know. his care is being led
bya —— we do know. his care is being led by a team of doctors from the medical household attached to the royal family. they sense of how difficult things have become for him, we got that over the weekend when the duke of edinburgh did appear alongside the queen at the easter services at windsor. he has taken a step back from public life but we did expect to see him alongside her, especially on easter sunday. when he did not appear with other members of the royal family, it was a sign that this problem had got rather more difficult for him. he is 96 and clearly any surgery for someone that age does not come without risks. but he is very fit and active and that will stand him in good stead. the hope is he will have made a full recovery in time for the royal wedding next month. police in the us have confirmed the identity of the youtube shooting suspect as nasim aghdam, who was 39 and a resident of san diego. three people were wounded in the attack at the headquarters
of the media company in northern california. news of the shooting emerged when employees began tweeting after hearing shots fired in the building. dave lee reports from san bruno. this is the dramatic moment when police entered youtube's headquarters. moments later, they'd find a gunwoman dead. killed, they say, by a self—inflicted gunshot wound. before apparently taking her own life, the suspect used a handgun to shoot and injure three people. one, a 36—year—old man, is said to be in a critical condition. the woman has been named by local police as 39—year—old nasim aghdam. she lived south of here, in san diego. it is understood she may have been angry with youtube for deleting some of her videos. on her website she posted this video, accusing the company of censoring her views.
and if you go and check my videos, you'll see that my new video hardly gets views, and my old video that used to get many views has stopped getting views. as has become familiar, those caught up in the violence shared clips of themselves barricaded into their offices, although this time those employees were part of one of silicon valley's most powerful companies. the chief executive of google, which owns youtube, described the attack as "an unimaginable tragedy". other messages of support came in from firms such as uber, apple and twitter. dramatic footage of all too frequent shootings in america often appear on sites like youtube. staff have been left in shock that something like this could happen in their own backyard. dave lee, bbc news in san bruno. vauxhall‘s parent company has announced an investment of almost £100 million in its luton plant. the deal with france—based psa — which was secured with a nine—million pound contribution from the government — will see peugeot and citroen
vans made in the uk. it means 1,400 jobs will be secured beyond 2030. our business editor, simonjack, is in luton. he has been speaking to the business secretary about this deal. what assurances did you have to give psa the parent company of vauxhall to make a decision when previously they said brexit was holding back decisions? the industrial strategy is something thatis industrial strategy is something that is commanding a lot of respect in the automotive sector and other industries beyond. we set out very clearly our intention to be one of the most innovative places in the world in the future as well as now to make cars. that relationship that we have with the sector and with the workforce here is i think resulting in major investments like this. when
i heard the chairman of psa tour, he said we are hoping we going to get tariff free access, frictionless trade. you are not in a position to guarantee that. the prime minister set out very clearly in her speech what our objectives from the negotiations are. of course, the negotiations are. of course, the negotiations are. of course, the negotiations are ongoing and they have not finished yet, so it is not possible to say with certainty what the outcome is going to be. but i am very confident that we will be able to get a good deal to a good deal that allows us to continue what has beena that allows us to continue what has been a really successful story of success been a really successful story of success in this industry and others. and that is what we were very clear with. you have put £9 million of public money into this. a lot of people will say in the case of nissan, toyota and in this case, these investments were always going to happen anyway and you have spent public money. they have been good at extracting public money from you for something they were going to do anything. —— anyway. something they were going to do
anything. -- anyway. these big investments, making sure that this is going to be here for a long time, long into the future. these are highly competitive investments. you know that there is great competition between other plants across europe and around the world. and what has been successful about our industrial strategy is that the investment in the technologies of the future, in making sure that our workforce is equipped with the right skills to be will to take up those jobs is respected across this sector and others and i am delighted it has resulted in success here today. what conversations have you had about the future of ellesmere port? ellesmere port is a very important plant and from the outside, i and the from the outside, land the workforce have discussed the future of ellesmere port with psa, the new owners of vauxhall. the decision that they need to take on a new model is in the early 20 20s, but i
think you can see from today's success think you can see from today's success that we are absolutely determined to work closely with the workforce and with the technology innovators to make sure that the current success of innovators to make sure that the current success of these plants will continue into the future. i current success of these plants will continue into the future. lam optimistic. but investment in car production facilities has dropped to 1.6 billion in the last two and a half years. is that brexit related? i think what you are seeing now is some of these big investment decisions that are being taken, not just here in luton but in oxford with bmw, just a few weeks ago we we re with bmw, just a few weeks ago we were talking about the second new investment that toyota have made in derbyshire, nissan in sunderland, these investments are being made for these investments are being made for the long term in this country and l will always do my bit to make sure that we present the best case for them. thank you very much indeed. a
good day for luton. 11100 jobs secured. possibly growing over the next 15 years without £100 million investment, 9 million courtesy of the government. just to explain something regarding the story we mentioned in south—east london. we have been reporting on what appears to be a burglary in hither green and just a few minutes ago, we showed some aerial pictures from that part of the capital while we we re from that part of the capital while we were reporting the arrest of a 78—year—old man on suspicion of murder. i do want to stress that these pictures in fact were archived images of the area. they are archived images and do not show the location of the incident that has
happened overnight. many apologies for that. they were historical pictures of that area when we were reporting on the incident in hither green in south—east london. the 21st commonwealth games is officially underway following the opening ceremony on australia's gold coast. the prince of wales and duchess of cornwall attended the opening ceremony, which welcomed the 71 nations and territories taking part in the competition. as hosts of the last commonwealth games, scotland had the honour of leading out the parade of nations, with 400—metre hurdler eilidh doyle carrying the flag. triathlete alistair brownlee led the english team out. while netballer caroline o'hanlon was flag bearer for northern ireland. wales was the final home nation to enter the stadium,
with welsh swimmerjazz carlin leading the procession. more than 11,500 athletes will compete for 275 medals over the next 12 days. we can nowjoin the opening ceremony live. the opening ceremony still has a little longer to run. prince charles has been addressing the crowds, reading the queens message at the opening ceremony. your excellencies, prime minister, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, my wife and i could not be more delighted to be able to join all of
you here on the gold coast this evening. and the many millions of you who are watching from your homes across the commonwealth. for this spectacular opening ceremony of the zist spectacular opening ceremony of the 21st commonwealth games. i have been asked by the queen to represent her majesty and to convey the following message to you all. on commonwealth day last year, i placed this message into the impressive baton. over the past 388 days, on its journey from buckingham palace to the gold coast, the baton relay has passed through every nation and territory of the commonwealth. i have no doubt that the baton and its carriers have been
warmly welcomed by the many thousands of people who have lined the route. the ancient stories told by the indigenous people of australia remind us that even though we may be half a world away, we are all connected. over the years, these friendly games have shown the potential of the commonwealth to connect people of different backgrounds and nationalities. in this spirit of cooperation and togetherness, common ground has been established and enduring friendships forged. as you come together at the start of