welcome to newsday. i'm sharanjit leyl. the headlines: "you're playing with fire". russia warns britain at the un over the salisbury poisonings. london dismisses moscow's request for cooperation. i think the metaphor that i find most apt is that of an arsonist turned firefighter. waiting for her fate. a court in south korea prepares to deliver the verdict in former president park geun hye‘s corruption trial. i'm kasia madera in london. also in the programme: prison looms for lula — brazil's former president is told to turn himself in and start serving a 12 yearjail term for corruption. one of bollywood's biggest stars, salman khan, is sentenced to five years in jail for killing two rare antelopes nearly 20 years ago. good morning.
it's 8am in singapore, iam in london and 8pm in the evening in new york, where the un security council has been meeting at russia's request. moscow's ambassador to the united nations made a strongly worded speech, rebuffing the uk's accusation that russia was behind the poisoning of sergei skripal and his daughter, yulia, in the city of salisbury last month. here's our diplomatic correspondent, james landale. it's just over four weeks since sergei and yulia skripal were found poisoned by a nerve agent on this bench in salisbury, four weeks during which the former russian intelligence officer and his 33—year—old daughter have lain critically ill, at times in a coma. but today, miss skripal revealed that she at least is on the mend. in a statement, issued on her behalf by the police, she said: today, russian television broadcast
an unverified recording of an alleged phone call between yulia skripal and her cousin, victoria. she's hoping to come to britain to visit miss skripal with the help of russian diplomats if british officials are prepared to risk giving her a visa. in london, the russian ambassador welcomed the news that miss skripal is recovering. i'm really happy and i hope that sergei skripal will also recover, and i'm quite sure that one day yulia will come back to moscow. but he once again denied any russian involvement in the attack. so amid the claims and counterclaims, what's the uk case? theresa may says the substance used is novichok, a type of nerve agent developed by russia. british scientists say this
millitary—grade agent can only be made by a nation state, but they don't say which one. instead it's secret intelligence that the government says implicates russia, a conclusion that has the international support of dozens of countries. but russia rejects this and says britain lacks real evidence. it denies ever producing novichok, but says other countries could have done so. it's requested samples of the substance for testing and it's called for russian officials to be involved in a joint investigation. at the united nations this evening, there were smiles between ambassadors, but not for long, as russia accused britain of fabricating intelligence to question the legitimacy of the russian state. translation: couldn't you come up with a better fake story? we all know what the worth of british intelligence information is, based on the experience of tony blair.
we have told our british colleagues that you're playing with fire and you will be sorry. britain in turn accused russia of playing fast and loose with international security. we cannot ignore what has happened in salisbury. we cannot ignore russia turning a blind eye to the use of chemical weapons in syria and in salisbury, and we cannot ignore the way that russia seeks to undermine the international institutions which have kept us safe since the end of the second world war. this confrontation between britain and russia is not over yet, not by a long chalk. james landale, bbc news. a fiery exchange between russia and the uk at the un security council. well, chris buckler in washington told me neither country seems to have provided more evidence over who was responsible for the poisoning. in a way, this was a series of prepared statements, of claim and counterclaim, of accusation and denial, with both countries determined to make their point. it's worth remembering this was a meeting that was called
for by moscow, that's what they wanted, and there was an attempt here to raise concerns, to raise questions and also plant a lot of doubts. saying that, if you watch that meeting and you watch just the expressions of those sitting around it, i don't think any of the countries would have changed their minds about what's happened here. the uk and many other countries, including america, including france, including many other countries, they all believe russia was responsible for this, russia continues to deny that and i don't think that's going to change in the weeks coming. the uk very much sticking to its position. the opcw is investigating, we're going to get the findings next week, but then russia is simply going to reject them? part of that is a frustration russia wants to be involved in that investigation. they say they have a right to be involved in it. they've passed a series of official notes demanding to be part of that investigation. i think it's inevitable having not
been a part of the investigation there's a good chance they will reject whatever it comes outwith. of course, the uk will continue to push, saying they believe russia was involved in this so in an odd kind of way, no matter what this investigation says, it isn't going to matter, the results of it, because fundamentally these two countries are in two different corners. we have the uk and many of their allies standing against russia and they will both continue to say, yes, russia were involved and russia will continue to say, no, it's got nothing to do with us and the uk has to look at itself. let's take a look at some of the day's other news. nearly two weeks after his arrest, catalonia's former leader, carles puigdemont, will be released on bail. a german court has ruled against extraditing him on rebellion charges, but says he could still be sent back to spain to face corruption charges. spain accuses mr puigdemont of encouraging rebellion when he lead catalonia's push
for independence last year. brazil's former president has until friday afternoon to turn himself into police and begin serving his 12 yearjail term for corruption. luiz inacio lula da silva was requesting to remain free during his appeals process, but on wednesday, a judge ruled against that — ruining his chances of running in october's presidential election, which he was the favourite to win. six activists have been jailed in vietnam for attempting to overthrow the state. their sentences are between seven and 15 years — the harshest in years as the communist country tightens its grip on critics. those jailed include lawyers accused of holding human rights training and pushing for a multi—party democracy in vietnam. and patients had to be evacuated when this intense fire broke out at a hospital in istanbul, in turkey. the blaze started on the roof of the building.
flames then rapidly engulfed the hospital's exterior cladding. officials say there are no reports of casualties so far. a court in seoul will sentence the former south korean president park geun hye for her part in a corruption scandal which led to her being removed from office. she faces 18 charges including bribery, abuse of power and coercion. prosecutors have demanded 30 years in prison and a fine of about 146 million dollars, for the former president. our correspondent in seoul, laura bicker, looks back at the downfall of a leader, and the extraordinary protests that led to her impeachment. week after week the streets of seoul were bathed in candlelight. they gathered in their millions to overthrow a leader involved
in a huge corruption scandal. the peaceful movement gathered pace and strength, and proved too powerful for south korea's president. the charges facing park geun—hye are tied to her relationship with friend and adviser choi soon—sil. she used her presidential connections to pressure huge businesses, including electronics giant samsung, for millions of dollars in donations to foundations she controlled. president park apologised twice, but her approval ratings fell to just 5% and opposition leaders worked to gather votes to impeach her. they were eventually successful. her now dwindling number of supporters were distraught. but most saw it as a victory
for this young democracy. people power had finally cut all ties with authoritarian rule. park geun—hye was the daughter of park chung—hee, who seized power in a coup in 1961. he ruled for 18 years until he was gunned down in 1979. she entered the political arena amid the global financial crisis in 2008. a worried older generation craved stability and remembered her father's authoritarian rule. she won the presidency with a slim margin of 51%. her downfall has rocked the political elite in seoul, and stoked anger over ties between government and big corporations. it's hoped the verdict will help usher in a new era. if we're doing good then people power will back us, they will be our allies, but if we are doing bad then
they will punish us, and impeach us, and accuse us and criticise us. park geun—hye is unlikely to be in court four her sentencing, but it will be watched closely by those who have long hoped for justice. laura bicker, bbc news, seoul. and laura bickerjoins us now, live from seoul. what most people in south korea expecting today? will she be jailed and what will that mean for the nation? prosecutors are seeking a 30 year jail term, nation? prosecutors are seeking a 30 yearjail term, it is unlikely they will get that. her co—conspirator, her aid will get that. her co—conspirator, heraid and will get that. her co—conspirator, her aid and friend who was at the centre of the scandal got 20 years. certainly, those who spent 17 weeks on the streets will be hoping she
will get a significant jail term. she will not be there for her sentencing, we understand. she hasn't turned up to any of her court hearings and that certainly has disappointed many who wanted to see justice done. i think the main thing for people here in south korea is they want the links between the comedy established links between the government and conglomerates to and. they want the government to be more transparent. it is hoped that today's verdict acts as a turning point which says those days of the past of corruption and bribery and the government doing whatever they want, are over. and of course we are watching that verdict, accepting it just past 2pm local time in the sole. it appears that south korea has a lot of things to content with, a lot of political upheaval at home, is there a sense that if she is
jailed that a line will be drawn under the domestic political issues at least? i think when it comes to the people power that you saw their, the people power that you saw their, the 17 weeks on streets, the fact that they managed to overthrow the president. i spoke to one politician, i said does this worry you or a knew that people can overthrow the president? he said it heightens me to see the democracy in action but yes it is worrying, because if they are corrupt, politicians know now, if they are corrupt and go wrong and abuse their power, people in south korea will act and they have done so before and been successful before. i think there is a feeling that they will try to draw a line, but there is a lot to do because there are are still many conglomerates and still this idea, that those massive companies are still not transparent enough. i think there is a feeling
here that they want that to change, the culture to change and that may ta ke the culture to change and that may take more time than just one verdict today. it is going to be a busy day fee you and your team watching that inafew fee you and your team watching that in a few hours from now, thank you. you're watching newsday on the bbc. still to come on the programme: one of bollywood's biggest stars jailed for poaching a rare blackbuck antelope. salman khan has been sentenced to five years in prison. also on the programme: the malaysian government cracks down on so—called fake news with massive fines and jailtime, but critics say it's an attack on free speech. 25 years of hatred and rage as theyjump up on the statue. this funeral became a massive demonstration of black power, the power to influence. today is about the promise
of a bright future, a day when we hope a line can be drawn under the bloody past. i think that picasso's works were beautiful, they were intelligent, and it's a sad loss to everybody who loves art. welcome back. this is newsday on the bbc. i'm sharanjit leyl in singapore. i'm kasia madera in london. our top stories:
at a meeting of the un security council, russia dismisses the allegation that it poisoned a former double agent living in england. a court in south korea is expected to deliver a heavy punishment to former president park geun—hye, in one of the nation's biggest corruption scandals. let's now look at some of the front pages from around the world. the south china morning post, in hong kong, says beijing might be forced to compromise into opening its markets as it tries to defuse those trade tensions with the united states. the post suggests another option is to cut import tariffs on american products, which could meet us demands to narrow the trade gap. and the japan times has a dramatic front page picture, as another powerful eruption is observed at mount shinmoe in southwestern japan, with ash sent spiralling hundreds of meters into the sky. a "cesspool" tainted by dumped
sewage is how the government in the philippines described the island of boracay today, when they announced that they would be closing the island to tourists for six months. boracay is one of the best known holiday islands in the philippines, famous for its white beaches and stunning sunsets. local officials estimate that the island attracts 2 million visitors last year, and it pumps roughly $1 billion into the philippine economy each year. then this week, the announcement came that the island would be closed to all tourists. since the announcement, low—cost carrier airasia has suspended all of its domestic and internationalflights to boracay until further notice, and fears are growing for how the thousands of residents who rely on tourism will survive six months of forced closure. kiko rustia owns a bed and breakfast. basically, the closure is going to
start april 26 and that is roughly 21 days from now and yet we still do not have any concrete plans as to what they really planned to do to the island. i know that their intentions are to rehabilitate the island but there has not been any design that was shown to us, low—budget, we do not know anything about the whole project and basically, everyone he was in limbo because the island survives on tourism and once they close the island from tourist is, how are we going to survive? where are we going to get our income? —— tourists. jose clemente is president of the tourism congress of the philippines, representing hoteliers and tourism operators. he told me it's been a long—term issue. the problem has been there for many yea rs. the problem has been there for many years. there has been some neglect, they have not been as responsible —— we have not been as responsible as
we have not been as responsible as we should have been but that being the case, we are now putting all our effo rts the case, we are now putting all our efforts into operating and creating boracay as a very sustainable destinations. so that tourists who booked holidays are now going to have to cancel their travel plans. what can be done for them? we have beenin what can be done for them? we have been in discussion with some of our stakeholders on the island and a lot of them are willing to do a full refu nd of them are willing to do a full refund for those with vacations that would be disrupted by this, or we can also help them to holiday in other holiday destinations in the philippines. but obviously it is incredibly painful for people like kiko rustia, the bed—and—breakfast owner we just heard from. boracay has some 17,000 people, as well as 11,000 construction workers. what happens to them, as well as those working in the tourism sector? our
primary concern is the yes, address the workers that will be displaced. as of yesterday, the government has laid out some plants that nothing really concrete as of yet, so from the side of the private sector, we are going through the weekend to make sure that a lot of these people still make some sort of living while the island is closed. the malaysian government is coming down hard on so—called fake news, with fines of up to a $123,000 and as much as six years' jail for anyone caught spreading false news. the new legislation covers digital news and social media. critics have called the bill an attempt to stifle dissent. michael vatikiotis is the regional director of singapore's centre for humanitarian dialogue. he's in london and a short time ago, i pointed out that the definition of fake news in the the law is rather vague. yes.
i think it's very much focused on the prime minister's main concerns about the corruption scandal that surrounds him. which he's always denied... but i think the way in which the media has focused on the scandal, has forced the government, which already has a battery of laws that limit media freedom, to try and find something to go after those who would make these accusations. so how does this law differ from the laws that are already available in malaysia? it makes me wonder. to what extent, unlike the other laws, which are really quite restrictive, sedition, for instance, from the colonial era. this one is so broad that the flipside may be that it may be open to legal challenge as well, because if the government itself, and we've seen in other countries of the region, government's attempts to accuse the media of purveying false news, fake news.
if the government itself is unable to stand those charges up, they could be challenged in court. there has already been considerable public outcry at the courts. what exactly are they doing about this? what we have seen in malaysia in recent years is the courts are becoming a bit more active, there have been recent court cases, court decisions, that have defended constitutional rights, and not so much on the government's side. i think what we might see in malaysia is a broadening of the crackdown in the media. it could well be challenged in the courts. having said that, if we look at the election, it is unlikely the opposition will make much headway and this just speaks to the prime minister's insecurity and the feeling that he is being targeted. the election has to take place before august. what's the chain of events?
this is a very highly anticipated election. because of a number of economic challenges facing malaysia. it is unlikely the opposition will win. around the region, this is notjust a trend confined to malaysia, it's another sign that the gains that democratic government have made over the last 20 years in malaysia, and the region as a whole, are being slowly eroded. you say it's notjust malaysia, but this is particularly stringent when it comes to this law? well, yes. but if we look at cambodia and also the philippines, there have been very severe crackdowns on the media. especially in the philippines, the targeting of quite well—known media organisations. i think this is, in turn, drawn off from president trump's
administration's description of the media and the use of the term fake news. it's been embraced by these leaders in south—eeast asia and this is unfortunate. one of bollywood's biggest stars, salman khan, has been sentenced to five years in prison for poaching rare blackbuck antelope. the case dates back to 1998. khan, who's 52, has appeared in more than 100 films. his lawyer has said they will appeal the sentence on friday. from delhi, rajini vaidya nathan reports. he's one of the world's highest—paid actors. salman khan is known as the bad boy of bollywood, both on and off—screen. today he was in court, after a judge found him guilty of killing two blackbucks, an endangered breed of antelope. the case dates back to 1998, when he was shooting for this film, hum saath saath hain.
few celebrities are as worshipped or idolised as salman khan is here in india. his cult status is so huge, that it's unlikely that this conviction will dent his popularity or damage his career. this isn't his first brush with the law. in 2015, he was found guilty of killing a homeless man near his house in mumbai in a hit—and—run, but was acquitted later that year. salman khan's lawyers say he'll appeal the sentence and apply for bail, but tonight, one of bollywood's biggest stars is behind bars. rajini vaidyanathan, bbc news, delhi. for me and the whole newsday team, i buy. —— bye—bye. hello. thursday always was set to be one of the best days of this week
and so it proved, and our weather watchers were very much out in force, probably encouraged by the fact that it was such a glorious day all the way from scotland to the south coast and across the irish sea and into northern ireland, but that's really rather cruel to use that particular picture to bring you the message that it will be on friday another glorious day for many parts of the british isles because, i'm afraid to say, that belfast and indeed much of northern ireland, it won't be that way for you, and the seeds of the destruction of your glorious friday were there being sown on thursday with this veil of cloud moving in from the atlantic and as we get into the first part of friday, well, the rain will already be there, and how, across northern ireland, and it may already be flirting with the western side of scotland as well. but at least underneath that veil of cloud, it won't be such a cold start to friday in the west as it will be in the east because your skies will be that bit clearer. and it's that time of the year where if the skies are clear, the heat will dribble away
and you start off with a pretty cool start your day. there, the bigger picture, one of the benefits of having that low pressure out towards our west, on its eastern flank, we are sucking up all this mild air from the western part of the mediterranean and from iberia. so eventually, as you will see, our temperatures really will respond to that. but, i'm afraid, out towards the west, there is no disguising the fact that once the rain has set in, it will probably keep on coming across northern and western parts of scotland. certainly for the greater part of the day for northern ireland and for the western fringes of wales. here, the temperatures may struggle, just about getting into double figures. but further towards the east, somebody is going to see 16 or 17 degrees somewhere across the south—eastern quarter. from friday into saturday, we'll push that initial pulse of rain away. but we've still got a linkage, actually, that frontal system bringing the prospect of yet more rain, somewhere across eastern and central parts of the british isles in the first part of the day. i think northern ireland, central and southern parts
of scotland, maybe the western fringes of wales and the south—west, could get away with a dry day. there is some uncertainty but i think one of the things that we can say about the weekend is that the temperatures for many of us, because of that essentially southerly flow, will stay in double figures and again, there isjust this prospect on sunday of a little bit of rain for some, but many could well stay dry. and, as i say, on the mild side. i'm kasia madera with bbc news. our top story: russia has made a strongly worded speech at a meeting of the security council to discuss the poisoning in the uk. it said britain was "playing with fire" in accusing moscow of carrying out the attack. in response, britain said its actions stood up to any scrutiny and likened russian
requests to take part in the investigation to an arsonist investigating his own fire. a court in south korea is expected to deliver a heavy punishment to the former president in one of the nation's biggest corruption scandals, which could see herjailed for 30 years. and this story is popular on bbc.com prince charles and the duchess of cornwall taking a stroll along the beach at the gold coast. the royal couple, on a tour of australia after opening the commonwealth games, saw a demonstration of a rescue drill by young lifesavers. that's all from me for now. stay with bbc news. and the top story here in the uk: the five—time world darts champion, eric bristow, has died at the age of 60.