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tv   BBC News  BBC News  April 8, 2018 1:00pm-1:58pm BST

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this is bbc news. i'm ben brown. the headlines at 1: an unjustifiable use of "instruments of extermination" — the pope speaks out after reports of at least 70 people being killed in syria in an alleged chemical attack. we have received many patients who have suffered from symptoms compatible with exposure to chlorine gas. the us describes the reports as "horrifying" and says russia "ultimately bears responsibility" for the alleged attacks. the foreign office wants an urgent investigation. ministers deny any link between the rise in violence in london and police cuts. labour have accuse them of having their head in the sand. the foreign secretary borisjohnson describes jeremy corbyn as "the kremlin‘s useful idiot" — the labour leader hits back saying mrjohnson has "made a fool of himself" over russia. the authorities in germany say there's no indication of an islamist link to an attack that left two dead and 20 injured. also in this hour:
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northern ireland win their first medal of the commonwealth games. 18—year—old rhys mcclenaghan gets gold in the pommel horse. and olivia breen produced a commonwealth record to claims wales‘ third gold medal. the tales of violence and extremism, and murder and terrible things happening. where we are today should not be compared with the ideal world, but with where we were. and tony blair reflects on the good friday agreement — 20 years on from its signing in northern ireland. that's in a0 minutes, here on bbc news. hello, good afternoon
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and welcome to bbc news. the syrian government and its russian allies have denied allegations that they used chemical weapons to attack the rebel—held town of douma in eastern ghouta. reports suggest that up to 70 people have been killed in what appears to be a chemical attack. unverified footage from rescue workers shows a number of bodies, many of them women and children. the us state department has described the reports as "horrifying" and said that, if confirmed, it would demand an immediate international response. here, the foreign office said there should be an urgent investigation. the pope has condemned the attack as an unjustifiable use of "instruments of extermination". lebo diseko‘s report does contain disturbing images from the start. the victims of an alleged chemical attack, according to volunteer
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rescue workers in douma. this footage, supplied to the reuters news agency, and not independently verified by the bbc, apparently shows medics desperately trying to help children and families. syria's government says the allegations are a fabrication, and staff from a medical relief organisation on the frontline say they are worried about what could have been used. we have received many patients who suffered from symptoms compatible with the exposure to high concentration chlorine gas. also, their symptoms were deteriorating in a fashion that is not compatible with pure chlorine gas exposure. and that is why our physicians are concerned about exposure to nerve gas in low concentration. what is not disputed is the ongoing bombardment of douma, the last remaining rebel stronghold on the outskirts of damascus. weeks of assaults from the air and the ground as the president's troops, backed by russia, try and reclaim control of the town, and that is perhaps why the us has
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been quick to blame both, saying the regime of president assad and its backers must be held accountable, and any further attacks prevented immediately. it said the us called on russia to end an unmitigated support immediately and work with the international community to prevent further barbaric chemical weapons attack. but amid the blame and denial, it is the most vulnerable who suffer most, with the end to this conflict seemingly nowhere in sight. lebo diseko, bbc news. earlier i spoke to matthew morris from the red cross has been monitoring the events from damascus. what we can't be clear about is exactly what has happened, but we've seen the same pictures, the same videos, that you've been hearing back in the uk, that you've been seeing and hearing
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back in the uk. and we are extremely concerned and distressed about these reports. what we can be absolutely crystal clear about is that there is no time and place for any kind of attack with chemical weapons. the use of chemical weapons is prohibited under international humanitarian law. and of course there have been many alleged chemical attacks in syria during the course of this horrific conflict. it's been one of the most gruesome parts of the conflict, in a sense. yes, and depressingly it's been a call we've had to renew, that... what i've just been saying is that this kind of attack is completely unacceptable and illegal. there's no time or place for it, and we have been reminding all sides fighting across syria, across the different front lines, across different communities, that the use of this kind of attack is unacceptable. we've been seeing in damascus — we've been hearing and seeing — that there's been obviously an increase in fighting
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since friday afternoon, more violence in and around the city of douma in the eastern ghouta, but also mortars landing within damascus city itself. so another surge in violence and another increase in fear amongst civilian populations, who are clearly not taking part in this fight. and this area, eastern ghouta, and douma in particular, have been so hard fought over in recent weeks, and we have seen some really horrific violence there. yes, and i myself arrived in damascus on thursday, and there have been perhaps ten days, two weeks, of calm, relative calm, because of the discussions that were clearly going on between the sides fighting, and what that may lead to, but quite clearly what happened on friday was that this all broke down in, clearly broke down, and there was this increase in fighting. we could hear the sound of explosions and aircraft
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overhead and, as i say, mortars coming in to the city, so this conflict is now in its eighth year and there is no end in sight. that was matthew morris speaking to us that was matthew morris speaking to us earlierfrom that was matthew morris speaking to us earlier from the red cross in damascus. here, the home secretary amber rudd says rising violence on britain's streets is not caused by falling police numbers. writing in the daily telegraph, she said evidence did not back up claims that cuts to resources were the cause of increased crime. the government has outlined a new strategy to tackle serious violence, including a new task force, and tougher controls on the purchase of knives and corrosive substances in england and wales. andy moore reports. amber rudd said the spate of recent attacks in london reflected a wider pattern of violence in major cities across the uk. she said she'd be launching what she called a serious violence strategy tomorrow, and chair a task force that would bring together key representatives to tackle the problem.
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she also rejected claims there were not enough police officers on the streets. she said in the early 2000s, when serious violent crimes were at their highest, police numbers were also rising. the government has announced that a new offensive weapons bill will be introduced next week. further restrictions will be placed on the sale of knives online, preventing them from being posted to residential addresses. while certain other weapons, like zombie knives and knuckledusters, will become illegal to possess in private. the planned legislation also includes a ban on the sale of corrosive substances to under 18s. carrying acid in a public place will be a criminal offence. this is a really essential piece of legislation for the policing and for the public and communities. it will allow us to control the purchase by people under the age of 18 and it will allow us to have much more control as to who carries it in a public place
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and whether they have good reason to or not. labour said tough talking by the government was not enough. it needed to give the police the resources they needed to keep people safe. andy moore, bbc news. a little earlier i spoke to simon harding, an associate professor of criminology at the university of west london, who gave his thoughts on amber rudd's remarks. i can understand why the home secretary has made that statement. there is no direct equation between reduced police numbers and a rise in violent crime, particularly the type of crime we are seeing, which is interpersonal violence. in many ways, for young gang—affected or gang—affiliated young men who are out for revenge or retaliation, they are probably going to commit that offence or do that regardless of whether or not there are police on the streets. so visible presence of policing is perhaps incidental to them, maybe even irrelevant to them. public reassurance is what is given by visible policing on the streets. it helps to reduce the fear of crime. one issue, however, is perhaps
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around community engagement, and i think there is a need to for neighbourhood policing that engages with the local community, engages with young people, and perhaps allows for tension monitoring to take place. so i think we need to make sure we keep that. what do you think then is behind this — i mean, do you see it as an upsurge in violence in london in particular? is it down to gangs, and if it is, what is driving that? a lot of people speak about social media as a real driving force. we know it is wider than just gangs. there are issues of fights outside pubs, clubs,
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betting shops, domestic violence. it is broader thanjust gang crime. but we have seen this upsurge before londoners might perhaps recall 2007, 2008, where we had a particular spike of violent crime in the capital, again largely driven by an upsurge in gang crime. since then we have seen a number of changes. the first of which is the evolution of street gangs. in many ways, the people involved are getting younger, at one end, and older at the other end of this gang spectrum. so not evolving or maturing out, but getting stuck in the gang. this makes the gang is very competitive, and in many ways more violent. we have also seen changes to drug dealing and drug supply, whereas in years gone by, if you had stocked drugs, you would have gone perhaps to a housing estate, hung around until somebody met you. nowadays, you can dial dealer, 2a hour deals, someone will drive to your house on a bike are more
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tired and deliver. these boys will be carrying drugs and money, and knives, so this has i think increased the number of people carrying knives out on the street. thirdly, we have social media. it is very easy for gangs to posture and present themselves online, with videos, perhaps provocation to other rival gangs, and this has the capacity to widen the net and bring other people who are not gang involved into the orbit. they make commentary on what they have seen, this perhaps brings further commentary, and are ratcheting up effect. lastly, what about stop and search? we spoke about police numbers, but a lot of people say, bring back real stop and search and that could make a difference. i think it does have to be used. in as long as it is done in a targeted way, in a careful and respectful way, i think it can help. we have police officers now wearing body worn cameras, and they will record any interaction with somebody, but what underpins this is the need for the government and the police to connect with the communities and get
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their support for whatever action it is they are looking to take. that was simon harding, associate professor of criminology speaking to me a little earlier on. the foreign secretary, borisjohnson, has described jeremy corbyn as the "kremlin's useful idiot" over his response to the nerve agent attack on sergei skripal, the former russian spy living in the uk, and his daughter yulia. the writing in the sunday times, he said the labour leader was giving moscow "propaganda" false credibility by refusing to "unequivocally" back the government's view that russia was responsible for the attack in salisbury. labour said mrjohnson had "made a fool of himself" by misrepresenting what he had been told by chemical weapons experts. earlier our political correspondent susana mendonca spoke more
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about foreign secretary's previous comments on the source of the nerve agent attack. last week he said there was no doubt the substance found in salisbury had been made in russia, and then we heard from the scientists who had been examining that substance saying that they couldn't confirm whether or not it had been made in russia. so that put borisjohnson in quite a difficult position, and the russian government has been using that against him over the past few days. so today we have an article that borisjohnson has written, where he is criticising notjust the russians, but also bringing jeremy corbyn back into the fray. of course there was that criticism ofjeremy corbyn a few weeks ago, that he wasn't clear enough in his opposition to russia and the assertion that russia was involved in that chemical attack, sojeremy corbyn, he has said...
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sorry, borisjohnson has said that jeremy corbyn was "the kremlin's useful idiot," so not particularly useful language. and labour has said it is actually borisjohnson who has made a fool of himself by misinterpreting what he was told by the scientists, and we have also heard from angela rayner in the past few minutes who said that borisjohnson is in fact russia's useful idiot, as far as she is concerned. susana mendonca reporting. the headlines on bbc news: the pope condemns the use of what he called "instruments of extermination" following reports of at least 70 people being killed in syria in an alleged chemical attack. ministers deny any link between the rise in violence in london and police cuts. labour have accuse them of having their head in the sand. the foreign secretary borisjohnson describes jeremy corbyn as "the kremlin's useful idiot" — the labour leader hits back saying mrjohnson has "made a fool of himself" over russia. 0n. those are our headlines.
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sport now, and for a full round—up from the bbc sport centre, here's adam wild. good afternoon. what's more success to tell you about for scotland, wales and northern ireland in the commonwealth games on australia's gold coast. mark stewart has added to scotland's tally of medals, claiming gold in the points race, the final points to be contested in the final points to be contested in the velodrome. he had to be helped by his team at the finishing line, the race taking its toll. he beat the race taking its toll. he beat the australian campbell stewart to finish top of the podium. that follows the success of scotland's duncan scott to won gold in the men's 100 metres duncan scott to won gold in the men's100 metres freestyle swimming, chasing down the likes of south africa's chad luke coulson and south africa's chad luke coulson and south africa —— australia's kyle chalmers, who tied for silver. me and steve spoke before the race about things we wanted to try to work on, building the race through the first
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50, then doing what i do best and bringing it home. i think anyone from line one could have won that. i would like to give a hand to them first. i tried things out in training, and no better stage to try new things than the commonwealth games, so, yes, i new things than the commonwealth games, so, yes, lam absolutely buzzing, trying to swim my best in every single event i am doing, and so every single event i am doing, and so far, so good anyway. a little earlier northern ireland won their first medal of the games and it was called for 18—year—old rhys mcclenaghan, who beat england's 0lympic mcclenaghan, who beat england's olympic champion max whitlock in the pommel horse. the two finished with identical scores but it was who was given the gold by the judges. i honestly have no words and i know that that is very cliched to say. that i have no words. the sensationalfeeling i have at the minute is unbelievable. have you ever performed like that in your life? in training, yes, not in competition. but it goes to show that all of the hours and dedication i put into training, it paid off, 100%.
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0livia breen of wales lacked the gold in the long jump, with the commonwealth games record of four metres 86 —— she leapt to gold. lots of medals won today and at, as i said, full details of those on the bbc sport website. play is about to get back under way in augusta for the final round of the first men's major of the year, the masters. patrick reed has a three shot lead over night but rory mcilroy is not too far behind. this eagle for the matter it was just one of the highlights of this third round. he will begin the afternoon on the under, but the american reed responded in some style, two eagles on his back name keeping him at the top of the leaderboard. lee is under way at about three o'clock. —— play
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gets under way. patrick has a three—shot lead so i feel all the pressure's on him. he has to go out and protect that and he has a few guys chasing him who are pretty big—time players. you know, he has that to deal with and sleep on tonight, so, you know, ifeel i can quote there and play like i have got nothing to lose. so there it is, reed and mcilroy reading the way, but plenty of big names behind them. plenty of coverage on bbc five live, and on bbc two from 6:30pm. two games of the premier league, arsenal taking on southampton and later west ham going to chelsea. 0ne matches already under way in the scottish premiership champions elect celtic could move within two points of victory against hamilton academical, currently all level at new douglas park. celtic almost took the lead straight from the kick—off through moussa dembele, but their dominance paid off when callum mcgregor opened
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the scoring with less than three minutes played. it seemed routine enough for celtic, until hamilton struck back in the 18th minute to stop the match stands all level, 1-1. stop the match stands all level, 1—1. britain's james degale has regained his ibf super middleweight title with a victory in las vegas. he locked the —— lost the belt in a shock defeat by the american backing the sector and said he would —— back in december and said he would consider retiring if he lost again, but despite a cut on his right eye he did enough, winning on all three of thejudges' he did enough, winning on all three of the judges' scorecards. sebastian vettel will start the bahrain grand prix in pole position, qualifying three tenths of a second ahead of kimi raikkonen. lewis hamilton will start from ninth after a penalty for changing the gearbox on his mercedes. the race gets under way at four o'clock, coverage over on five
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live sports extra. that is all your sport for now. much more throughout the afternoon here on bbc news. many thanks, adam, see you later on. people in hungary are going to the polls today, with the prime minister, viktor 0rban, hoping to win another term in office. he's been in power since 2003. in his campaign, he presented himself as the defender of europe and hungary from muslim migrants — but critics say he is a racist and an authoritarian. early signs suggest that voter turnout will be the highest in any hungarian election for 15 years. 0ur correspondent nick thorpe's in the hungarian capital budapest. nick, very high turnout. lovely weather as we can see, probably encouraging that. a pretty important election? very much so, yes. just a note on the turnout. 42% by one o'clock here, well up on previous
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yea rs, o'clock here, well up on previous years, so we o'clock here, well up on previous years, so we might end up with something like 70%. the reason that is important is on the whole viktor 0rban and his fidesz party have been very much appealing in the past weeks to their core supporters, pushing those issues that believe are very popular, things like keeping migrants out of hungary, maintaining hungary's national sovereignty, fighting for a kind of european union in which national sovereignty, the national parliament, maintain or even win back a lot of their power. the opposition, fighting on a very different wicket, as it were, so $0011 different wicket, as it were, so soon after the sports news, arguing about emigration, all the young hungarians and middle—aged hungarians and middle—aged hungarians leaving the country to work in countries like britain and other countries in the eu. also very widespread allegations of corruption against this government. we will wait and see when we get the final result, just how much those have hurt the prime minister and his party in this election. as we were saying in the introduction,
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migration is very much the theme of mr 0rban's migration is very much the theme of mr0rban's campaign and migration is very much the theme of mr 0rban's campaign and indeed his premiership recently. does that strike a chord with many voters, do you think? certainly people i've been speaking to this morning, fidesz voters, they have been echoing that, saying they really echoing that, saying they really echo mr 0rban's line that they don't wa nt echo mr 0rban's line that they don't want hungry to become, as he has been saying, an immigrant or even an mixed society. hungary has very few people from other cultures or places living here. only 2% of hungarians we re living here. only 2% of hungarians were actually born outside the country, so very different to the european norm, and brawl fidesz voters, voters for mr 0rban, very much saying that is the way they wa nt to much saying that is the way they want to keep the country —— pro fidesz voters. 0thers saying they are fed up with a wave of xenophobia and hatred in the state—run media and hatred in the state—run media and a lot of the commercial media close to the government, and they would like a different atmospheres. they see one of the reasons people
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are leaving the country, it is not just because wages are better in europe, but because they don't like the atmosphere here and hungry. thank you very much indeed, nick thorpe in budapest. german authorities say a man who drove a van into people outside a restaurant in the city of muenster, was a german citizen with no apparent links to terrorism. two people were killed and the driver shot himself dead at the scene. 0ur europe correspondent bethany bell reports from muenster. the van drove into a crowd in a popular area of the old town of muenster. it was a sunny afternoon and people were out sitting at cafes and restaurants. the driver of the vehicle, a german citizen, died after shooting himself in his car at the scene. he hasn't yet been officially identified.
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the authorities say there's no indication that this was an islamist attack. translation: the perpetrator who recklessly sped into a crowd of people is, according to our investigations, a german citizen, not a refugee, as has previously been reported. german media reports say the driver had a history of mental health problems. police have searched his apartment. well, this part of town would normally be full of people out enjoying themselves on a saturday night but now, police have cordoned off the entire area. people who live here have been evacuated and a number of them are spending the night in a theatre just down the road. the incident comes at a time of heightened concern afterjihadist attacks in britain, france and spain. the local police urged people not to speculate and wait for official information. germany's chancellor angela merkel says she was deeply shaken by the incident. she said everything was being done to help the victims and their relatives. bethany bell, bbc news, muenster. the cambridge analytica whistleblower, christopher wylie has
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told the bbc that the question of britain leaving the european union should be revisited. he claims that the uk may not have voted for brexit had it not been for what he called "cheating" by the leave campaign. mr wylie says that a canadian data company — which has been linked to cambridge analytica — received funding from vote leave and played a very significant role in the referendum result. what i'm saying, and i say this as someone who supported leave, i'm saying this as a eurosceptic myself, but this is a fundamental change to the constitutional settlement of britain, the foundation of low of britain, and what i'm saying is that the foundational law of britain, and what i'm saying is that if we can't go back to brexit, if this is a one—time decision, we need absolute clarity that the decision made by the british people was made fairly and complied with the law, and so if that means we have to go back to the british people and ask for clarification, i think the british people should
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have a say and make sure that what we are doing is with the consent of people, that's what i'm saying. 0k... i want a democratic mandate for brexit, that's what i'm saying. that was christopher wylie, the cambridge analytica whistle—blower, speaking to andrew marr. time for the weather with simon king. hello there. we've got mixed fortunes today across the uk. in northern and western parts it is largely dry and bright, with sunshine. certainly it has been a dry start to the day across scotland, if you look at this weather watcher photo this morning from fife. a different story don't watch the southeast. early morning rain, still quite cloudy conditions in kent. the rain should, though, largely cleared away from here, but there will be some rain and frost in central and southern areas across this afternoon, all courtesy of this weather front. further north and west, though, a slack pressure system, so fairly quiet conditions really with some sunny spells. we will keep those spells and a few showerss cropping up we will keep those spells and a few showers cropping up
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later on across scotland, northern ireland, north—western parts of england. some of those could be heavy, perhaps even thundery. rain in the southeastjust edging a little further north and westward, into the east midlands, up in towards east yorkshire as well. temperatures lower than yesterday across the southeast, 12 or 13 degrees here with some light winds and sunny spells in northern and western areas, feeling just a bit more pleasant than yesterday. overnight tonight, we will continue with lots of cloud in the southeast and elsewhere with light winds and clear spells there will be some patchy mist and fog developing into the early hours temperatures tonight down to about 2-5 temperatures tonight down to about 2—5 celsius in northern areas, less cold in the south east with nine celsius. that is because we have more clout, outbreaks of rain in east anglia, the east midlands and central and southern parts of england. rain gradually petering out into the afternoon. elsewhere on monday, sunny spells again in the north and west, still some heavy showers in scotland and northern ireland, and temperatures again up in double figures, 1012 degrees. in the tuesday, low pressure in charge
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and that will keep things pretty u nsettled and that will keep things pretty unsettled —— ten to 12 degrees. it will bring some outbreaks of rain for many on tuesday, particularly england and wales. very wet start to the day. rain gradually clearing away towards the west, brighter skies eventually in the south—east, but the best of the sunshine i think will be on the far north—west of scotland, northern ireland, with that sunshine. it will feel quite chilly along the eastern coast, 7-9dc, but chilly along the eastern coast, 7—9dc, but in the south—east temperatures up to about this. with areas of low pressure close by it will be quite unsettled at the rest of the week, but it will feel quite mild with us brighter spells. that is all from me. goodbye. hello, good afternoon. there's been widespread international condemnation of a suspected chemical attack in syria. the foreign office has called for an urgent investigation and the us state department said that if confirmed, it would demand an immediate international response.
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rescue teams and health workers in the rebel—held town of douma in eastern ghouta say at least 70 people were killed, with some putting the number far higher. but syria has called the allegations of a chemical attack a "fabrication", as has its main ally, russia. this report from our middle east correspondent, martin patience, contains distressing images from the start. this was the scene at an emergency clinic in douma. medics hosing down children after an alleged chemical attack. these pictures were filmed by activists on the ground. some children were barely conscious. this babyis children were barely conscious. this baby is alive, but struggling to breathe. the medics are doing what they can, but they are overwhelmed,
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working in a war zone without enough medical supplies. we received many patients who suffered from symptoms compatible with exposure to high concentration chlorine gas, also the symptoms were deteriorating in a fashion which is not compatible with pure chlorine gas exposure, and that is why earth physicians are concerned about exposure to nerve gas in low concentration. syrian government troops on the outskirts of douma. they are closing in. both damascus and its russian ally described claims of a chemical attack is a fabrication. they are carrying out air strikes. this footage was filmed by syria's civil defence, known as the white helmets. they run into the aftermath of an
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air strike. they find an injured man. he is carried to safety. this is daily life in douma. the us state department has called foran the us state department has called for an immediate investigation. it says that if this is confirmed as a chemical attack, the syrian regime and its backers, including russia, must be held accountable. that position has been echoed by the foreign office. the question is, what would any international response be? one year ago, we saw, under similar circumstances, we saw us president donald trump carry out air strikes us president donald trump carry out airstrikes in us president donald trump carry out air strikes in the country, but in recent days, he has been saying that he wants to pull troops out of syria. thank you very much indeed. martin
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patients reporting. ministers have rejected claims that the rise in violence in london can be linked to police cuts. —— martin patience. labour have accused them of having their heads in the sand. it comes as the government prepares to outline a new strategy to tackle serious violence. susana mendonca reports. sorry, we do not have that report but we will bring it to you when we can. the foreign secretary, borisjohnson, has stepped up his criticism ofjeremy corbyn over the poisoning of a former russian spy in salisbury. mrjohnson's described the labour leader as "the kremlin's useful idiot" for refusing to say unequivocally that russia was responsible. labour said mrjohnson had "made a fool of himself" by misrepresenting what he was told by chemical weapons experts. ospreys, the birds of prey, were almost extinct in england and wales, but are now making a comeback in some parts of the country.
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last week, a pair of the nesting birds arrived back in cumbria after spending the winter in a warmer climate. judy hobson has the details. this is foulshaw moss, one of the few places in england and wales where you might catch a glimpse of a very rare pair of breeding birds. well, the ospreys are nesting safely in the distance, in the first set of trees. you can't actually see them from here unless you have a telescope, but we can show you some webcam footage. this is of the male arriving a couple of days ago because these birds have spent the winter in west africa. there are just 30 pairs of mating ospreys in england and wales. six are in cumbria. they mate for life and this pair have been coming back here for five years and have raised eleven chicks. people love to follow them. they build these huge nests right in the top of trees. they are quite bold, if you like. and they have got this fantastic highwayman's mask, fantastic black and white markings. over the next few weeks,
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around 7,000 visitors are expected to come here to foulshawjust to see if they can get a glimpse of the ospreys. i thought i'd nip across the border from north yorkshire and have a look at them. it was cool. it was really... it looked really nice. this is a conservation success story. they're thriving now in scotland and are slowly starting to spread south of the border. judy hobson, bbc news. act now to the news that managers have rejected claims that the rise in violence in london can be linked to police cuts. —— back now to the news that ministers. a high visibility police presence on london's streets after a week that has seen a spate of violent deaths. but the home secretary has rejected claims that falling police numbers are to blame. and she is being backed up by cabinet colleagues. go back a decade. serious violent crime was a lot higher than it is today, but so were police numbers,
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so for anyone to suggest that this is caused by police numbers, it is not backed up by facts. tomorrow the government will answer a serious violence strategy to focus on early intervention. it will also unveil a new offensive weapons bill which will further restrict the sale of knives online, make so—called zombie knives and knuckle—dusters illegal to possess and introduce a new offence of possessing corrosive substances like acid in a public place. the move has been welcomed by police chiefs. this is a really essential piece of legislation for policing and for the public and communities. it will allow us to control the purchase by people under the age of 18, and it will allow us to have much more control as to who carries it in a public place, and whether they have good reason to or not. labour says police officer numbers have been cut by 21,000 since 2010 and it would be naive of the government to argue that this has not had an impact, and with many young people involved in recent stabbings and shootings, labour says wider cuts to public
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funding may also be playing a part. it is notjust about police numbers, it is about community services as well, youth service, children's centres, social workers and local councils seeing significant cuts to their budgets as well. with more than 50 lives lost in london alone this year to violent crime, the mayor of london is calling a summit this week. it is not yet clear whether the home secretary will attend. at the commonwealth games in australia there have been more medals for the home nations, including northern ireland's first gold for rhys mcclenaghan in the pommel horse. joe lynskey reports. i can't believe it. it takes a special touch to raise a teenage champion. this is northern ireland's first gold of these games. rhys mcclenaghan called it his proudest day, and at 18 he'll hope
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it's just the start. his poise on the pommel horse was enough to beat his idol, max whitlock, settling for silver. i honestly have no words. i know that is cliched to say that. but, no, the sensation of feeling i have at the minute is unbelievable. max whitlock missed out, but his england team—mates made up for it. there was gold on the rings for courtney tulloch, while georgia may fenton won the uneven bars. they will hope it lifts them to olympic glory. while in the swimming pool, the scots are up and running. this is going to be very close indeed! duncan scott sealed their first swimming gold medal this week. he had to beat chad le clos to do it. the south african's father feels the pain just the south african's father feels the painjust as hard. england's siobhan—marie o'connor dominated the medley. a new champion on the 200 metres individual medley, siobhan—marie o'connor of england.
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very good swim. wales won their third gold medal in the long jump, olivia breen leaping to glory. in the hammer, england's nick miller heaved his way to gold. a new british record took every emotion. it is more sedate on the bowling green, but it means just as it is more sedate on the bowling green, but it meansjust as much it is more sedate on the bowling green, but it means just as much to scotland. victory over australia might give the triples team gold. england have been giving out gold at the basketball. i'd fill time, anderson proposed on court. the way to make a even sweeter. the next news on bbc one is at 5:35. bye for now. hello. you're watching the bbc news channel with ben brown. the time is 1:42pm exactly. this tuesday marks the 20th anniversary of the good friday agreement in northern ireland. the deal brought an end to the troubles in northern ireland and began power sharing at stormont.
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but the uncertainty over the irish border as a result of brexit and the current political deadlock between the ruling parties has cast doubt over the legacy of the good friday agreement. on the eve of the anniversary commemorations, bbc northern ireland's political editor mark devenport spoke to tony blair — british prime minister at the time of the agreement. he asked him if he was concerned the achievements of the deal were in peril as a result of recent developments. we are celebrating the anniversary of the good friday agreement, the belfast agreement, and ijust think it's important that people remember what things were like before we had the peace process, before we had the agreement. i'm of a generation, you are agreement. i'm of a generation, you a re pretty agreement. i'm of a generation, you are pretty much of a generation that remembers those times, remembers waking up every day to the tales of violence and extremism and murder
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and terrible things happening, deep divisions and sectarian hatred. now, the truth is the agreement was never going to simply the day after usher ina going to simply the day after usher in a brief new world and everything was going to be fine. but where we are today should be compared not with the ideal world but with where we were, and when you compare that, you realise that it was a huge achievement of everyone concerned to bring about the agreement, and secondly, it's worth keeping. and it would be dangerous and foolish to put it at risk. obviously it did deliver peace, and that was the main aim. but in terms of the political system it setup, that seems to have been prone to deadlock, we have no assembly, no executive. do you think it is time to reform it, do nuts and bolts review? when i look at the issues that are currently interrupting progress at stormont, they seem to be the very types of
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issues we were dealing with all through my 10—year is as prime minister, and after the good friday agreement, i was constantly involved in every single stage of the negotiation and process and probably in the 10—year is i was prime minister i must visited northern ireland probably more times than all my predecessors put together since partition, so it was never going to bea partition, so it was never going to be a situation in which there weren't constantly going to be issues that divided, that still had a deep cultural significance for example, and would require working on, but nowadays i see a lot of what is happening in different parts of the world and you realise that wherever there is a peace process, the work doesn't end at the moment you have an agreement, it carries on probably for a generation, maybe two generations, but it is better to do that then go back to the time of conflict. how much responsibility, then, do you put on the current
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government, have theresa may into david cameron taken their eye off the ball too much? i don't allocate responsibility for what has happened, but i urge attention in the future. this requires the full focus of government at certain points in time, and for example with this impasse that there is the moment, i can't believe it's not possible to find a way around it. it is very similar to the types of issues we used to deal with, and you have to keep working at them until you find a way through. now, it's not easy, on the whole issues around brexit composite things for a variety of reasons, but nonetheless, it is still worth doing. do you think that the fact that the theresa may is relying on the dup makes it harderfor her to be may is relying on the dup makes it harder for her to be the may is relying on the dup makes it harderfor her to be the kind of independent broker that you were? does she need to bring in some sort of outside mediator?” does she need to bring in some sort of outside mediator? i think she can do it, because to be fair to her, i'm sure she wants to keep the good friday agreement and she wants to make sure it works satisfactorily,
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but i do think it is important to realise there were points of time certainly in that ten years, because remember we went through the setting up remember we went through the setting up of the new northern ireland police service, decommissioning drumcree, there will always things happening. and at a certain point, the authority of the prime minister is necessary in order to get people to move and to come into some form of alignment. so i don't... i think it's just constant work, that's all i'm saying, and i sometimes say to people but now i study a lot of what has happened in the balkans, i work in the balkan state with my institute, and you can see for example there it was 20 years ago, roughly the same anniversary, that the dictatorship in serbia was removed, that kosovo was liberated. but even today, there are still huge problems. today, you've got
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fortu nately problems. today, you've got fortunately young leaders in serbia and albania who are determined to make it work, and i hope they will make it work, and i hope they will make it work, and i hope they will make it work. and both of them want a future in the european union. but my point is very simple. in exactly the same way, the end of the conflict didn't signal nirvana. the whole world didn't suddenly change. what it did do was give you an opportunity over time to put in place changes that are part institutional and then deeply cultural, and that requires time. you are concerned, you made it clear ona number of you are concerned, you made it clear on a number of occasions, that brexit could really threatened matters. is that maybe too much of an exaggeration? this was tested, this argument, in the supreme court, and they said that brexit was not necessarily incompatible with the good friday agreement. of course, but the thing is this. i am deeply opposed to brexit for all sorts of reasons to do with the uk, its place in the world and the economy and so on and so forth. but, and if we do brexit, we are going to have to make
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it work, and we are going to have to make the good friday agreement work whatever is happening with brexit. however, the people on the other side of the argument have got to face up to a very simple point, which is that because at the heart of this agreement was this notion of recognition of national exasperation is, an open border between north and south was a very important part of that, and the truth is the republic of ireland and the uk ever since partition have always been in the same relationship with europe together. so far half a century we will both outside of the institutions of europe. we joined will both outside of the institutions of europe. wejoined on the same day in 1973, that wasn't a coincidence. we didn't just the same day in 1973, that wasn't a coincidence. we didn'tjust happen to choose we joined on the same day, wejoined on the to choose we joined on the same day, we joined on the same day because of the convenience and the symmetry of doing it together. we've then been pa rt doing it together. we've then been part of europe for 45 years together. all of those ties have
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taken on a european dimension to them. 45 years of trading, of crossing the border, freedom of movement of people, of goods, etc. once the uk is in a different relationship to europe from the republic, it is frankly obvious, it isa republic, it is frankly obvious, it is a statement of the obvious that you are going to have a challenge. i'm not saying the challenge can't be overcome, but these brexiteers to simply say, i do know what your talking about, it is ridiculous. of course you've got a problem, and northern ireland then becomes for the first time ever the border between the uk and europe. that is what's changed. so it's not a mystery as to why there is a problem and a challenge to be overcome, and it's not going to be easy, because the government, this government here in the uk having decided that it's going to take a site of the single market and customs union, have intensified that challenge. if you stayed in the single market and just got out of the political structures
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and stayed in its economic structures, there wouldn't be such a problem. does this have the potential to reignite violence and conflict, do you think, or not? not of itself it weren't, but if what it does is provide significant disruption to that idea that at the heart of the good friday agreement is the recognition of national exasperation is, if it disrupts that because the border becomes a hard border, you have to have some form of border checks and so on, freedom of border checks and so on, freedom of movement becomes more difficult, then it's got the potential to cause tension. now that shouldn't ever justify or end up in violence, but it will give a different complexion to the nationalist aspirations. that is why if i was a unionist in northern ireland, i find is why if i was a unionist in northern ireland, ifind those unionists who are opposed to membership of the european union, i find that a really strange consideration when you think of the
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interests of northern ireland must be with remaining, with britain remaining part of the eu, because it makes life so much easier with the border. you had a very close partnership with bertie ahern at the time of the agreement. you'd is made about the situation now in which there does seem to be tension in that relationship between dublin and london that there hasn't been for many years? yes, i'm worried about it, because that relationship, and it, because that relationship, and it wasn't just a personal relationship between myself and bertie ahern, it was also that the two countries were natural allies. and if you think back in time, we most certainly had not been natural allies. and i think the fact that the republic of ireland also when it joined the european union, it really did upgrade itself as a country, and frankly even after the financial crisis and the eurozone crisis, when you think what the republic did, it is immensely impressive, having come through all that tour mile and now
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it is back on its feet again and moving forward, and you see how culturally it has changed, who could have imagined the current taoiseach becoming the taoiseach, if you go back 40 or 50 years. so there is a whole set of changes that have happened which i think are basically very positive changes, and they happened partly because we were both pa rt happened partly because we were both part of that family of european countries, and it gave as an equality and a partnership element to our relationship that was very different. now, as i say, we're going to have to work. my only point about this is not to start going over the top and saying, if we do brexit, we are going to scrap the good friday agreement and return to conflict. i'm not saying that. and city saying something that is when you think about it quite obvious. it is going to pose a big challenge and it's going to mean that this government here is going to have to
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work very hard to overcome that challenge, not just the work very hard to overcome that challenge, notjust the immediate challenge, notjust the immediate challenge of brexit, but the consequences of that as they reverberate through the years ahead. and i asked you about the conservatives' relationship with the dup. i should ask you about your own party, because of his not so long ago sincejeremy corbyn sacked his northern ireland minister over brexit. what has been the role of labour in this? i hope that the labour in this? i hope that the labour party even under this leadership will support the good friday agreement. the only thing they've got to remember is that we would never have got the good friday agreement if it hadn't been clear that we understood and accepted the legitimate aspirations also of the unionist community, and people forget this now, but the very first speech i went to make when i became prime minister back in may 1987, i think it may have been the first
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really big speech i gave was in northern ireland to the unionist community. and i did that very deliberately in order to say to them, we are here to find a just solution, but we are not here to ta ke solution, but we are not here to take one side rather than the other. isjeremy take one side rather than the other. is jeremy corbyn take one side rather than the other. isjeremy corbyn capable of that? he is perceived by the unionists to be on one side. let's see. that was tony blair talking to mark devenport. let's join that was tony blair talking to mark devenport. let'sjoin ben roach the latest weather forecast. as long—lasting has started to feel as if spring has sprung, and for some of us today is another beautiful springlike day. this picture has come from cornwall, but it hasn't looked like that everywhere. some areas contending with some cloud and outbreaks of rain at the moment. here in norfolk you can see the difference. you can
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see from the satellite picture we have this stripe of cloud working across the south—east, and you can see that kent is now in a little sunshine, so fairly bright through the afternoon, but elsewhere southeast area stained grey and damp. generally a lot of cloud, sunshine for parts of the south west and wales, but the odd hefty shower across northern ireland as well, maybe the odd rumble of thunder, and temperatures not as high as the last few days, but double digits. during receiving and overnight, grey and damp towards the south—east, some fog developing across irish sea coasts and north wales. where we keep some clear spells, maybe in one 01’ keep some clear spells, maybe in one or two places, it will get cold enough for a touch of frost, but most of us holding up above freezing. tomorrow the fog should tend to ease away, stained grey and damp across the south—east and some of that will fringe westwards into the midlands and perhaps east wales,
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but elsewhere, spells of sunshine and a scattering of cloud, and again for most of us. low pressure in charge as we get deeper into the week, sitting down to the south and that will spin frontal systems in oui’ that will spin frontal systems in our direction from time to time, but what it is also going to bring us is an easterly wind. often through the winter, and easterly wind is a cold wind, but the wind we will be getting over the next few days is not coming from a cold place. so generally mild through the week ahead, but the one exception, close to the north sea because as the wind comes off the chilly see, it will feel a little bit cold. a mixture of rain at times and some sunshine, tuesdays of rain across northern england and into southern and eastern scotland, could be thundery downpours pushing into the south west late r, downpours pushing into the south west later, but elsewhere some sunshine coming through, temperatures in double digits, but confirmation of that cold feel for the likes of aberdeen, edinburgh and newcastle. and these eastern areas
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close to the north seat, misty and murky and drizzly at times, and further south and west, some brighter skies and some higher temperatures as well.
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