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tv   BBC News  BBC News  April 15, 2018 2:00am-2:31am BST

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welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. our top stories: clashes at the united nations, as the us warns syria it will carry out more missile strikes — if necessary. if the syrian regime uses this poisonous gas again, the united states is locked and loaded. syria and russia have condemned the strikes — calling them an illegal act of aggression. but president assad says he's now more determined than ever to keep fighting and defeat his opponents. in other news, huge anti—government protests in hungary, as tens of thousands demand a re—run of last week's election. hello and welcome to bbc news.
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america's envoy to the united nations has warned president trump could authorise further attacks on syria, if the assad regime used chemical weapons again in future. nikki haley was speaking after the us, britain and france launched an initial round of strikes, in response to last week's suspected chemical attack on the town of douma. the russian president, vladimir putin, a close ally of syria, said he condemned the action "in the most serious way". our north america editorjon sopel starts our coverage. from a french warship in the eastern mediterranean to a british raf base in cyprus to the uss monterey in the red sea, days of planning was replaced by execution, with the bombing and missile strikes. the president said britain, france and the us had
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marshalled their "righteous power against barbarism and brutality." a short time ago, i ordered the united states armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of syrian dictator bashar al—assad. and he singled out syria's two principal backers. to iran and to russia, i ask, what kind of nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children? the nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep. in damascus last night, flashes, bangs, and streaking missiles lit the night sky. those launching the attack seemed as keen to define what this mission wasn't as what it was. this was not about intervening in the civil war. it is not about regime change.
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as i discussed with president trump and president macron, it is about a limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region and that does everything possible to prevent civilian casualties. daylight reveals the extent of the destruction. this is all that's left of the scientific research centre near damascus, one of the targets that took the greatest pounding. at a pentagon briefing this morning, the defence chief said all targets had been hit with no casualties suffered. we're still conducting a more detailed damage assessment, but initial indications are that we accomplished our military objectives without interference from syria. i'd use three words to describe this operation, precise, overwhelming, and effective. but in damascus this morning, regime supporters were celebrating a success in repelling american aggression. perhaps more accurately, this strike was more limited than they'd anticipated.
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this apparently is president assad strolling to work today, although we don't see a close—up of his face. if he is able to walk tall, it's only because of the support he's receiving from the russians. today at the un they turned theirfire on britain, france and the us. translation: the us and its allies continued to demonstrate blatant disregard for international law. but as permanent members of the security council, they must be especially firm in protecting the un charter. that was positively restrained compared to what syria's ambassador had to say. translation: i say that you a liars. you are spoilers, you are hypocrites, you are attempting to see failure in actions of this organisation which do not pursue your interests. tonight, some of the french jets returned home. along with the british and the americans, they are hoping this isjob done. but now the world waits to see if there will be retaliation or any
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further use of chemical weapons. jon sopel, bbc news, washington. the bbc‘s chris buckler in washington told me how the administration assesses the outcome of the air strikes. inside washington there has been some sort of satisfaction that this has been, in their words, a success. they feel this has achieved many of its aims. it was a limited strike. if you consider the battle that has been inside the white house of what they should do in syria, i suspect they feel they have achieved something. of course, there are others, including political opponents of president trump who will be saying in the long—term what have you actually achieved? this is not dissimilar to strike from one year ago, whenever there were missiles sent and whenever there was destruction and whenever there was a message, but president assad did not seem to listen.
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you are hearing people starting to talk again about what happens next. certainly at the un security council you got the impression that they were certainly feeling that further military action was a possibility. but it does feel that the ideas of diplomatic discussions that might lead to some progress in syria, that is something quite else. i was having a look at some of the reports coming in and i think john mccain was tweeting and released a statement in support of president trump's actions. is that the kind of thing that has been happening in washington? i think at the moment many feel that what has been done has been measured. that is the important thing from their point of view. saying that, there are democrats who feel that if there was to be wider military action or a greater focus on what happens in syria, there needs to be a greater strategy. from the administration's point of view they have the idea, they like this whole idea of working alongside the uk and france and coming up with a joint strategy to address some of these issues.
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the problems had not gone away. if you listen carefully to what the administration have been saying, they have been talking about the fact that they have degraded the chemical weapons programme in syria. they have not got rid of the threat of chemical weapons. that is something they accept. they are still looking for evidence outside of syria. to say they have evidence of some of that indicates, according to them, but notjust chlorine but potentially sarin was used in douma. that gives cause for concern. as a result, i think there will be pressure on america, the uk, and on france to have some kind of an idea of what will happen in syria in the future. they are going to have to act, i suppose, as a watchdog in a way. that creates a real division
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with russia and iran. syria is a faultline in that relationship that is not going away. let's talk to barak barfi, a senior research fellow at new america institute. hejoins me now from detroit. thank you to join us. thank you tojoin us. we thank you to join us. we are talking about president trump tweeting out" mission accomplished".|j about president trump tweeting out" mission accomplished". i would be a rare wary of having the same message as president bush had. the united states and its allies went only after the chemical weapons facilities. we don't know that even tomorrow that president assad will use chemical weapons again, because he has shown that attacks by the united states do not change him. surely this is more of a deterrent than the last time, because the last time there were not as many used,
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for example, those were targeting the methods of deployment. this has been directly targeting the chemicals themselves. 59 missiles last year against about 100 this year. the united states really didn't take out any of the regime and its allies military capabilities, it did not take out the resume's canned —— man in control or their air assets, which are symbolic, they did not take out paramilitary organisations that the iranians support. there did not do much other than say if you are going to use chemical weapons we will attack you sometimes, but we are not going to be able to roll back your military capabilities. so it is not such a big problem for you. beyond that, what else can the us do, because anything else would risk getting involved more than the united states has the appetite for 01’ even united states has the appetite for or even the west has the appetite for. many, many utterly so rotten united states could have done. it
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could have hit the iranians in syria, it could have hit the proxies, specifically the foreign shi'ite who come into the country becoming from iraq and pakistan —— shia. the morale would decrease, you would see defections, dissension in the ranks. they would have been low cost because you are attacking foreigners who do not have the capability to retaliate against you. surely that would be an escalation, as it were. it is the kind of thing that could, even if russia was relu cta nt to that could, even if russia was reluctant to get involved, just the other day you had the russians, the iranians, and the turks in ankara, just last week, attacking iran would be terrible politics. just firing a missile into syria, into damascus, into areas where the regime is, if
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the russians wanted to they could respond. they are not going to respond. they are not going to respond because they don't want a larger entanglement with the united states. it is the same thing with the iranians with hezbollah in israel. the iranians attack, the israelis attack hezbollah in syria. they do not want to tangle with israel at this point of time. had the united states gone after the shia organisations, these foreigners, there would have been a minimal possibility there would have been retaliation. thank you very much, barak barfi, senior research fellow at the american institute. russia has failed to win the backing of the un security council for its condemnation of those missile strikes. 0ur moscow correspondent, steve rosenberg, explains the kremlin‘s reaction. since moscow is president assad's bigas bacca they were never going to
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miss their words about the us led strike on syria. that is why the words we have been hearing had been so words we have been hearing had been so strong. we had vladimir putin took about an act of aggression. we heard the russian foreign minister sergei lavrov saying it was unlawful, unacceptable. we heard a russian senator accusing america of behaving like a school bully. lots and lots of rhetoric but of course, no sign of any military response from moscow or any retaliation. neither want to go to war over syria. we know because the us ambassador in moscow centre today. before the stripy two sides took measures to try to keep out of each other‘s way during the strike —— before the strike. syria is a crowded theatre of war. the danger of this conflict spreading and growing, it still exists. us vice president mike pence has said that washington will not stand by idly as venezuela crumbles. speaking to leaders of the western hemisphere who had gathered in peru for the summit of the americas,
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he said that needed to be done to isolate the country. every free nation gathered here must ta ke every free nation gathered here must take stronger action to isolate the majuro regime. we must all stand with our brothers and sisters suffering in venezuela. and i can promise you the united states will not rest, we will not relent until democracy is restored in venezuela. the bbc‘s katy watson joins us now from lima. you have been following this story in venezuela, will mr pence have the kind of support he is looking for to isolate mr maduro? he has got the support of the people who are at the summit of the americas, barring bolivia and cuba who have voiced support for mr maduro. the vast majority of countries here are concerned about the situation in
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venezuela, especially countries such as brazil, colombia, that has taken ina lot as brazil, colombia, that has taken in a lot of migrants who fled the country, all of the region is deeply concerned about the growing crisis in venezuela. but what can they do, what do they want to do about venezuela? i think that was that what the problem is. they say that they know that they want to do something, but how do they go about it? certainly, mr trump's suggestions several months ago of military intervention put a lot of the into these countries. they don't believe that is something that would ever happen. it is about humanitarian aid, condemning the elections that will be taking place in may, that is something juan manuel santos, the president of columbia, he said they will be free and fair. it is about condemnation, but also a tangible difference. the us has announced they will be giving $60 million of direct aid to
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migrants who have left venezuela in terms of drinking water, shelter, and protection. so it is about pouring money into helping those who left. how you change the regime is the big question that many people are asking. unsurprisingly, mr maduro isn't there, is the? he is consolidating and concentrating on his power at home. yes. he said he would be here, no matter what, but these summit of the americas, the hosts, parilla, a him. he turned around and said he would not come because it would be a of time. in the same day that mike pence has condemned maduro for bringing about a dictatorship, he has been on television saying it has been a com plete television saying it has been a complete failure, this summit. there are two sides to that. he is never going to be seeing eye to eye with the majority of leaders here, certainly. meanwhile, he is cracking on with the elections, despite the fa ct on with the elections, despite the fact there have been accusations
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that they are not free and fair. mike pence met with opposition leaders on friday and that is when he announced the new eight he would be giving to migrants who have left the country. —— eight. the support for the venezuelans who have left and how they tackle mr maduro and perhaps allowing more free and fair elections is the big battle. thank you very much. katie watson in lima. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: we'll have the latest reaction to the western air strikes on syria from the middle east and the us. pol pot, one of the century's greatest mass murderers is reported to have died of natural causes. he and the khmer rouge movement he led were responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million cambodians. there have been violent protests in indonesia,
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where playboy has gone on sale for the first time. traditionalist muslim leaders have expressed disgust, the magazine's offices have been attacked and it is said that staff have gone into hiding. it was clear that paula's only contest was with the clock, and as for her sporting legacy, paula radcliffe's competitors will be chasing her new world best time for years to come. quite quietly, but quicker and quicker, she is seenjust to slide away under the surface and disappear. this is bbc news. the latest headlines: the us ambassador to the un has threatened the syrian government with more missile strikes if chemical weapons are used again. syria and russia have condemned the attack, calling it an illegal act of aggression.
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so the strikes may appear to have been very clearly targeted, but they are being seen by some as a limited punishment on syria. what impact will they have on syria's chemical weapons programme and what do they say about the strategy of america, britain and france? here's our diplomatic correspondent, james robbins. this is what provoked the strikes, last saturday's apparent gas attack on civilians in douma. britain, france and the united states are convinced this was the latest in a long line of assad's chemical attacks and had to be punished. so what was achieved? the strikes sent a deliberate, precise, if limited, message to president assad — you're not the target, your chemical weapons programme is. the united states fired missiles from two warships and from the submarine ussjohn warner. plus, in the air, two b1 lancer bombers.
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the raf flew tornadoes from akrotiri in cyprus, staying out of syrian airspace to fire their storm shadow missiles. france launched missiles from its frigate languedoc, as well rafale and mirage strike aircraft flying from france. so the us was not acting alone, but with two close allies this time, and that's politically important. the targets of all this firepower, syria's chemical weapons production. the main target for 76 missiles was a research and development centre close to damascus. but also a chemical weapons storage site near homs. 22 weapons were aimed there, including the raf‘s eight storm shadow missiles. and target three, a nearby chemical weapons bunker, the main french target for seven of their nine missiles. but has military action damaged prospects for eventual peace in syria ? definitely not according to the head of nato, america's wider military alliance. if you start to normalise the use of chemical weapons, then you seriously risk that chemical weapons will be used more and more.
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for me there is no contradiction between the strikes that took place last night and the efforts to support a politically negotiated solution. still, western strategy is to stay firmly out of syria's war on the ground. today, the syrian army declared all of douma under its control, the town apparently attacked with chemical weapons last weekend and the rebels' last holdout in eastern ghouta. russia with its forces in douma now is helping president assad take back more and more of syria and it is that alliance which will surely dictate much of the terms of any eventual peace. james robbins, bbc news. so how have countries in the region reacted to the air strikes? the bbc‘s chief international correspondent lyse doucet reports from beirut. reaction in this region depends very much on where you stand in syria's
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tangled crisis and everyone in this region stands somewhere. so, from president assad's staunchest enemies, israel, saudi arabia, turkey, there was full support for this military operation. from countries like lebanon and iran, there was harsh condemnation. iran's supreme leader, ayatollah khamenei, described the airstrikes as a crime. but behind this criticism, there's also quiet relief that so far these strikes have turned out to be far more limited than many had expected and indeed what countries like iran had prepared for. in the past week, moving their own forces on the ground to safer locations but there could be another impact, too. what we are hearing from damascus today is even greater defiance from president assad, his supporters and allies. this alliance of syria, iran, hezbollah. they call themselves the axis of resistance and tonight,
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iranian hardliners have begun to refer to western powers as paper tigers. more than 100,000 people have attended demonstrations in the hungarian capital, budapest, against the right—wing government of prime minister viktor 0rban, who was recently returned to power. speaker after speaker denounced what they called mr 0rban‘s theft of the election. nick thorpe reports from budapest. it might be the swansong of opponents of viktor 0rban or the beginning of a new radical resistance of his rule. tens of thousands of hungarians marched from the opera house to the parliament to voice their anger with last weekend's election result. they blamed it on the electoral system mr 0rban and his fidesz party built. they blamed it on his domination of the media and they called for new elections. translation: if we do not fight in a unified way, then we lose this battle. we don't want another 150 years of oppression. we do not want another era of eastern pressure and we do not want to see another wave
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of retaliation like in 18118. but while his opponents protested, the national election committee completed their tally of postal votes. more than 200,000 hungarians in neighbouring countries took part. 96% of them voted for viktor 0rban. the final result gives mr 0rban 67% of seats in parliament. he commands the devotion of the 2.7 million hungarians who voted for him. but while his voters see him as a champion of national sovereignty against communists in the past and liberals in the present, he arouses the disgust of those who believe he's turned the country into a business venture to enrich his own narrow circle. another protest rally has been called for next saturday. nick thorpe, bbc news, budapest.
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thousands of south africans have attended a funeral service at a football stadium in soweto for the anti—apartheid campaigner winnie mandela, who died earlier this month. in a moving eulogy, her daughter zenani said it was mama winnie who'd kept nelson mandela's memory alive during his long detention under apartheid. the bbc‘s nomsa maseko was there. there are big crowds here at orlando stadium for winnie madikizela—mandela's final send—off. the government has declared a state funeral for mama winnie. it is complete with a gun salute. president cyril ramaphosa is giving the eulogy. all of these people are from different political parties, but mainly from the governing anc and julius malema's economic freedom fighters. they seem to have put aside their political differences to give mama winnie a send—off she deserves. they're singing liberation songs,
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and the sound is reverberating through the stadium. most of the songs they are singing about are about mama winnie's resilience and her fight for the liberation of black south africans. nomsa maseko in johannesburg. the top story: diplomats at the un from washington, paris and london have begun a new attempt to persuade the security council to hold an independent investigation into chemical weapons attacks in syria. three countries that carried out missile attacks on suspected chemical sites on saturday have circulate it a draft resolution to other council members. russia so far has been towed such an enquiry. —— vetoed. and you can get in touch with me and most of the team on twitter, i'm @nkem|fejika. thanks for watching, goodbye. hello there.
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if scenes like these have left you wanting more spring warmth and sunshine, well, i have to say, the second half of the weekend probably won't live up to the promise of the first. that is how saturday ended across north yorkshire. 0rkney shrouded in a bit of low cloud but some blue skies overhead as well. sunday does look a little bit different because of this area of low pressure, which is now pushing its way in from the west. it will strengthen up the winds. this frontal system will also bring some outbreaks of rain northward and eastward across the uk. so, sunday, a cloudy day. quite a breezy day as well. there will be some rain at times but not all the time. it is by no means a complete washout. we will, though, see some rain into the south—west, parts of wales, northern ireland, through the first part of the morning. that rain pushing its way across the midlands and northern england and southern scotland through the day. it will be quite on and off, quite sporadic, it will not be raining all day.
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as the main band of rain clears we'll be left with showers pushing into the south—west. very windy across northern ireland. the brightest of the weather across the north—east of scotland, i suspect, and perhaps the highest temperatures. inverness could get to 16 or 17 degrees. some showers drifting north and east through sunday night but by monday morning most places will be dry with some clear spells. temperatures not dropping too far, six or seven or eight degrees. that's about it, as we start the new working week. during monday, not a bad—looking day for many. we will see spells of sunshine. always more cloud and a few showers across scotland. the cloud will thicken up in northern ireland later in the day. outbreaks of rain here as well. particularly in the late afternoon. the wind is still pretty brisk in those western areas. temperatures not as high as they were on saturday, no, but 13, 1a, 15 degrees will not feel too bad if you get some sunshine. that relatively warm feeling will stick with this as we move out of monday and into tuesday. low pressure to the west, high pressure to the east, squeezing between the two we have this south—westerly wind. across northern ireland and scotland
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there could be some pretty wet weather on tuesday, outbreaks of rain, which could spill down into north—western england and northern wales at times. further south and east we'll see the best of the sunshine and the highest of the temperatures — 19, maybe 20 degrees. that's a mere taste of what's to come. as we get into wednesday and thursday, we will start to import some very warm air indeed from the near continent. watch these deep orange colours spreading across the map. how high will the temperatures get? perhaps 25 in the south—east, plenty of other places not far behind, so there is more spring warmth on the way. this is bbc news. the headlines: the united states has warned syria it will carry out further missile strikes if the government of president assad uses chemical weapons again. the american ambassador to the un, nikki haley, told the security council the us was "locked and loaded". the strikes have been described as hooliganism by the russian ambassador vassily nebenzia. he said there'd been a blatant disregard for international law. the un secretary general, antonio guterres, has appealed
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for restraint in what he called "dangerous circumstances". there've been huge anti—government protests in the hungarian capital, budapest. tens of thousands of people were demonstrating against the right—wing government of prime minister viktor 0rban. a week ago, his party won two—thirds of the parliamentary seats with half of the national vote. now on bbc news — dateline london.
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