welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: state television in syria says air defences have shot down missiles fired at an airbase near homs. there are other unconfirmed reports that missiles have also been intercepted over an airbase near damascus. a bbc exclusive with russia's foreign minister, who says relations with the west are worse than the cold war. during the cold war, there were channels of communication, and there was no obsession with russophobia. donald trump hits back at the former fbi directorjames comey, who claims he was morally unfit to be president. and a taste for toxic waste. the scientific breakthrough that could help tackle plastic pollution. hello.
first for you, breaking news from syria in the past hour or so, with unconfirmed reports of missile attacks on two airbases. the pentagon has said there is no us military activity in the area. it is worth noting that the syrians blamed an airstrike last week against the t—a airbase on the israelis. there was no official comment then from the israelis. this time, syrian state tv is claiming that government air defences shot down missiles above the shayrat airbase in the province of homs. and a media unit for the hezbollah militia, backed by iran and fighting alongside the syrian regime, claims missiles aimed at dumair military airport, north—east of damascus, have also been intercepted. staying with syria. russia's foreign minister has told the bbc that relations with the west are worse than during the cold war. sergei lavrov said the us, uk and france should have waited for an independent investigation into the chemical weapons attack
in syria before launching missile strikes. this from our diplomatic correspondent james landale. the missiles launched by american, british and french forces at the weekend were aimed at syria's suspected chemical weapons facilities. and this is just some of the destruction the missiles caused on the ground. but russia's foreign minister said the attacks on his syrian allies had also left relations between russia and the west worse than the cold war. in a bbc interview, sergei lavrov accused the western allies of having a phobia about russia, which he described as "genocide by sanction". we lose basically the last remnants of trust to our western friends, who prefer to operate
on the basis of very weird logic. they punish first in douma, in syria, and then they wait for the inspectors of opcw to visit the place and to inspect. but, as journalists were allowed into douma to film life returning after months of fighting, it emerged the inspectors from the organisation for the prohibition of chemical weapons had not been allowed in — for what russian and syrian officials said were security issues. at the opcw headquarters in the hague, western diplomats accuse russia of deliberately blocking the inspectors and even tampering with the evidence — something russian officials denied, promising the inspectors would be allowed in on wednesday. we are obviously keen to make sure that the inspectors have every means that they can to carry out theirjob, and carry out their investigation as soon as possible. and we see no reason why they should not be able to get to douma. eu foreign ministers backed
the missile strikes, threatened further sanctions on syria, but called yet again for a political solution. we're seeing more people dying, and it is true that the solution to the conflict seems to be even more far away than ever in the past more than seven years of conflict. this afternoon, britain and the us kept up the pressure on russia, publishing new information about what they described as a malicious cyber attack on the west. now, security official said this russian campaign predated the salisbury and syria chemical attacks, but they said they were on high alert for possible retaliation. but, for now, supporters president assad in damascus are celebrating the capture of the eastern ghouta suburb — a victory in which chemical weapons seem to have played a part. james landale, bbc news. russia has now declared that international experts will be allowed access on wednesday to the site of a suspected chemical attack in syria. britain and the united states have
accused moscow and syria of trying to conceal facts and prevent inspectors gathering information on the douma attack. our chief international correspondent lyse doucet is in damascus with the very latest. well, that site of the suspected chemical attack is just a short drive from where i am in the centre of damascus. and the chemical inspectors have been waiting here since saturday for the syrians and the russians to make good on that promise, to give them unrestricted access. what we're hearing outside in european capitals is accusations the syrians are blocking this visit. what we hear here in damascus is that the syrians are saying absolutely not, we have to prepare the visit, that they've been meeting the chemical inspectors, that they need to prepare the ground when it comes to security. never mind that russian military experts were already on the scene. chemical inspectors themselves are saying absolutely not a word. they know how sensitive their mission is, and they don't want to be saying
anything in public. but the last we heard from the russians is that the visit will go ahead on wednesday, and it comes not a day too soon. let's take a look at some of the other stories making the news: british and us cyber security officials have issued an unprecedented joint alert, warning that russian hackers are actively seeking to hijack essential internet hardware. a white house official said the access moscow has gained can also be used for destructive attacks such as switching off electricity grids. hundreds of firefighters in australia have been battling to get a large bushfire under control on the southern outskirts of sydney. unseasonable hot weather, strong winds and a lack of rain has made the situation worse. it is thought the blaze, which started on saturday, was deliberately lit. an american pastor has gone on trial in turkey accused of helping what ankara describes as terrorist organisations. andrew brunson was detained in october 2016 for allegedly backing the attempted coup and kurdish militants.
he and the american government say the charges are baseless. president trump has hit back at the former fbi director james comey, accusing him of committing many crimes during his time as head of the bureau. among much else, james comey said in an interview to promote his memoirs that mr trump is morally unfit to be president. our north america editor jon sopel has the story. donald trump this morning left a washington that has been hit by flash—floods and torrential rain. and last night, the former fbi director had a bucketload of his own that he was seeking to pour over the president's head. the interview... james comey has a book to sell and, it would seem, scores to settle, after the way he was unceremoniously fired. and, on questions of character, he didn't pull his punches in his interview with abc's
george stephanopoulos. i don't buy the stuff about him being mentally incompetent or early stages of dementia. he strikes me as a person of above—average intelligence, who's tracking conversations and knows what's going on. i don't think he's medically unfit to be president, i think he's morally unfit to be president. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage, general mike flynn... a key episode concerns michael flynn, the president's first national security adviser. he was under criminal investigation for lying about his contacts with the russians. at a one—to—one meeting, the fbi director alleges the president asked him to drop the case. was president trump obstructing justice? possibly. i mean, it's certainly some evidence of obstruction ofjustice. the white house didn't wait for the interview to air before taking careful aim at the former fbi boss. james comey continues to spread false information. the guy's known to be a liar and a leaker, and so there's not a lot about james comey that we would find to be very surprising.
undermining james comey‘s credibility is deliberate strategy. if there are ever impeachment proceedings brought against donald trump for obstruction ofjustice, then the former fbi director will be a key witness, so shred his reputation now, and maybe his words will count for less later on. butjames comey is only one source of the president's current legal headaches. in a courtroom in new york, the president's personal lawyer was appearing, after the fbi raided his offices last week, seizing bank accounts and files. michael cohen was a mr fixit for the president. one of those he paid off, to the tune of $130,000, was the former porn star stormy daniels. her arrival in court had film crews falling over themselves — literally. woah! she was paid that money in return for her silence, after she allegedly had a brief affair with donald trump — an allegation that he denies.
it is hard to know which is the more dangerous to the president, james comey and the special counsel investigation, or the porn star payoff and the fallout from that. jon sopel, bbc news, washington. the british government has admitted terrible mistakes in the treatment of commonwealth migrants. home secretary amber rudd has announced new measures to help members of the so—called windrush generation, who came to britain as child migrants between the 1940s and ‘70s. many say they have been threatened with deportation from the uk, or refused access to healthcare, even though they have lived and worked here for decades. this from our community affairs correspondent adina campbell. # london is the place for me... they were invited by the government to rebuild post—war britain 70 years ago, and marked the beginning of commonwealth immigration. but now, some of the children of the windrush generation, have been detained and nearly deported for not having paperwork to prove their right to remain in the uk. children like painter
and decorator anthony brian, who came to britain from jamaica when he was eight years old. last year, he was held in a detention centre twice for nearly three weeks. it was a shock, because i've always thought i was legal, i was british, i've been here since i was eight. i didn't give it another thought. i thought they were mixing me up. unfortunately they weren't mixing me up. it was me they were after, and it was me they were locking up. those who arrived before 1973 were legally entitled to remain in the uk. but the home office did not keep records, and changes to immigration rules introduced six years ago, when theresa may was the home secretary, have led to some of this group finding it difficult to prove their legal right to stay. after weeks of intensifying pressure to intervene, today the government apologised.
i do not want any of the commonwealth citizens who are here legally to be impacted in the way they have, and frankly, some of the way they have been treated has been wrong, has been appalling, and i am sorry. but there were heated words from all sides. can she tell the house how many have been detained as prisoners in their own country? can she tell the house how many have been denied health under the the national health service? how many have denied pensions? how many have lost theirjob? this is a day of national shame! her response to this problem now is far too passive — just a task force that relies on the windrush generation raising their problems with her. that's not good enough. both sides of this house need to accept the need for a proper debate about immigration, an open and honest debate about immigration, and if we did that, we might come to the proper conclusion that it's notjust
the windrush generation, but it's generations over centuries. tomorrow the prime minister, theresa may, will hold a meeting with commonwealth leaders to discuss the issue. i would like to see them start treating ourjamaican citizens like they are somebody, and not nobody. that's all. i'm not asking for much. because we deserve it. we've worked, we've built up this country, and we'd like to see it build us up as well. you know what i mean? it works both ways. anthony bryan is still waiting for legal paperwork to confirm his right to stay in the uk. adina campbell, bbc news. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: as chemical weapons experts wait to gain access to the site of a suspected attack in syria, we follow the cbs reporter who has seen the area for himself. 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, where playboy has gone on sale for the first time. traditionalist muslim leaders have expressed disgust. the magazine's offices have been attacked and its editorial staff have gone into hiding. it was clear that paula's only contest was with the clock, and as for a 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: state tv in syria says air defences have shot down missiles fired at an airbase near homs. there are other unconfirmed reports that missiles have also been intercepted over an airbase near damascus. in an exclusive interview with the bbc, russia's foreign minister has said relations with the west are worse than during the cold war. as we've been reporting, chemical weapons experts have now been told they will get access on wednesday to the site of a suspected chemical attack in douma. but cbs reporter seth doan has already been there, he is the only american network correspondent in syria — and was taken to the area by syrian government forces. this was rebel territory until two days ago. today, we made it to the very house where the suspected chemical attack took place.
translation: all of a sudden, some gas spread around us. we could not breathe. it's smelt like chlorine. syrian forces recaptured this area from rebels over the weekend. that means they now control this building where this video was taken. and this is your brother here? this man's brother is seen in the activist video, lifeless and foaming at the mouth. he told us how his brother tried to wash off the chemicals. how did the chemicals get here? translation: the missile up there on the roof. we asked him to take us to where the missile allegedly hit. he took took us here and pointed here. we found a missile neatly resting. syria says there was no chemical attack. the us, france and the uk, blames syria. since the coalition airstrikes, bashar al—assad's government has tried to show it was unaffected, today highlighting military gains.
this is exactly what the government wants us to see, syrian forces here in douma and back in control. rebels had run damascus as a suburb since 2012. this was apparently a bomb—making factory for rebels here in the heart of douma. you can see the makings of mortars. and you can see this bin, homemade grenades. the human toll of the fighting was evident in the main square this afternoon. hundreds of thousands of civilians have been living here, many without food. you can see the desperation here, just hoping for some bread. we asked this mother of five why she did not leave if the fighting had been so bad. "we tried more than once," she told
us, "but the rebels would not let us go." nine days authority passed since the chemical attack. if weapons experts to make it to the building, they would find a scene that has been tampered with, and eyewitness accounts which can be confusing and contradictory. cbs news for bbc news, damascus. british troops entered the nazi concentration camp at bergen belsen in germany 73 years ago this week, saving the lives of thousands. one of them was hetty verolme. in 1945 she was interviewed by the bbc, just days after the liberation. she returned recently to belsen and spoke again to the bbc. our correspondent jeremy cooke reports. for hetty verolme, this is a walk back in time. back to a place of darkness and the place of death. we were jews, that's why we were brought here.
hetty, has come back to belsen. archive: beyond the barrier, the smell of death and decay, of corruption and filth. hetty was here when british troops marched through the gates exactly 73 years ago. 52,000 people died here. if you gave up hope that you wouldn't live, that the future was gone, you would be dead in two days. hetty was 13 years old when she and her two brothers were deported from holland to belsen, along with their parents. as the camp was finally liberated, she found the strength to tell her story to the bbc. hetty, this is extraordinary, listen to this. hetty verolme... the tape is still in the archive. hetty‘s own voice from a lifetime ago. she's speaking in german,
a story of suffering and despair and hetty still remembers her father's death. but hers is a story of survival and here she is in the film footage of a liberated belsen. that's me. that's you right there? yes. that is amazing, look at your smile, hetty. if you could say something now to that girl, what would you like her to know? if my parents were dead. you'd want her to know that her parents, your parents... my parents were still alive. and miraculously they were alive.
hetty‘s family were among those who survived the holocaust. for her, there was a new life in australia, motherhood, a successful business. but for so many other children, their story ended here. young people, they don't know what the holocaust is. when i'm not there any more, i hope that somebody will, like you, remind the world, that it did happen. it did happen. jeremy cooke, bbc news, bergen—belsen. the launch of nasa's tess planet—hunter has been postponed and it will not now lift off until wednesday at the earliest. the telescope was due to go up from cape canaveral in florida at 18:32 local time
on a spacex falcon 9 rocket. but the flight was stood down some three hours before lift—off. spacex said it wanted some additional time to understand an issue related to the guidance, navigation and control of its vehicle. the new york times and the new yorker magazine have won the pulitzer prize for public service — one of the most coveted awards in americanjournalism. the publications were honoured for revealing the harvey weinstein sexual misconduct scandal. kendrick lamar has become the first rapper to win the pulitzer prize for music. his award marks the first time a genre other than classical orjazz has been recognised by the pulitzers. he won the prize for his album ‘damn‘ released in april last year. he won five grammys for the same album. plastic pollution of the oceans is one of the great environmental problems of our time. now scientists have engineered an enzyme which can digest a key type of plastic, used to make drinks bottles and other products. it could offer a new way to recycle
millions of tonnes of plastic. our science editor, david shukman explains. plastic waste is filling the oceans. products used just once will last for decades or even centuries. i filmed this scene in turkey a few years ago. but there are ways of using plastic again. this plant in dagenham helps turn old plastic milk bottles into new ones. and now this lab at portsmouth university has gone much further, discovering how an enzyme can actually eat away the fabric of plastic itself. what is really special about this enzyme, it digests something man—made and most enzymes digest things like, maybe, grass stains or things like that, on clothing, but this material has only existed for the last 50 years, so to have an enzyme evolve that actually eats this man—made material, it is really stunning. what this research offers is a totally new way of dealing with plastic that goes into bottles like this. the enzyme has been discovered to have the ability to break down the plastic into its two key
ingredients and that would make recycling far easier. magnified 3000 times and speeded up over several days, these images captured the enzyme digesting the plastic. and the scientists have taken it's original structure and modified it to work even faster. biochemistry student harry austin and his colleagues have been cutting up samples of plastic bottles and then adding the enzyme to see its effect. they are delighted with the results. very exciting for us in the labs here. it is fantastic. and with our collaborators in america and brazil as well, fantastic move. sojubilant. we can actually see what it is capable of doing, in terms of the breaking down of the plastic itself. it is amazing. so will this help tackle plastic waste? tonight, for the one show, surfers against sewage collected
all this from british beaches. the recycling industry likes the new enzyme but says it is not enough. it does only focus on one type of plastic. there are many different types of plastic that are used in our packaging and in our products. retailers are working hard to try and reduce the numbers of different types of plastic that they use, but there is a long way to go. it took some very clever science to make plastic as long—lasting as it is. now, there is a new scientific effort to find ways of dismantling it and the latest research is just the start. david shukman, bbc news, in portsmouth. you can get more on the news at any time on the bbc website. and you can get in touch with me and most of the team on twitter. i'm @bbcmikeembley. that's it for now. thanks for watching. hello.
the long—awaited spring warm—up has almost arrived. from wednesday, with high pressure close by, most places will be dry for a few days with some good sunny spells around and it'll be much warmer, temperatures widely into the high teens, low 20s, and in some spots, a bit warmer than that as we look at a selection of temperatures from probably the warmest day on thursday. so not everyone will get to 25, 26 degrees but i think most places will be having the warmest weather of the spring so far. but we're not quite there yet. we have one more weather system affecting us. and as tuesday begins, that will be giving some quite wet and windy weather to some northern and western parts of the uk. it's blustery across the board though during tuesday and any temperatures, nowhere particularly cold as the day begins. let's take a closer look at this weather system — it's pushed in by an area of low pressure to the west of us and this weather front becomes slow—moving and will clear on through much of northern ireland and scotland during the day as it brightens up but we keep cloud and outbreaks
of rain for parts of northern, western england and wales and this is how it looks at 7, 8 o'clock in morning. a lot of cloud for south—west, england, seeing a bit of patchy rain during the day, more especially some outbreaks of rain in wales, north—west england. look how much of it is clear through northern ireland, even at this stage, to last, some early sunshine for many of us. in scotland, there are some heavier bursts to content with, especially in the hills of south—west scotland and the strongest winds will be northern ireland and western scotland, gusting up to 50mph at times. but it's blustery wherever you are. scotland, northern ireland brightening up. catch an afternoon shower, it could be heavy and possibly thundery. that area of cloud covering much of northern england, the midlands, wales and the south—west, delivering a bit of patchy rain in places. best of the sunshine, eastern counties of east anglia and south—east england, albeit quite hazy at times, and the highest temperatures here at near 20 celsius. as wednesday begins, don't be surprised by a bit of early rain for parts of northern ireland, northern england and scotland but as pressure continues to build
in, we push that away and more of us see the sunshine. a good deal of afternoon sunshine on wednesday, and it is warmer as a result and some spots are breaking the 20 celsius mark by several degrees in places. high pressure to the east of us is drawing in warm winds from the continent with a good deal of sunshine, though we are going to see a bit of patchy cloud coming back to parts of northern ireland, northern england, wales and the south—west during thursday, so don't expect clear blue sky. the best of the sunshine will be in central and eastern parts of england but we have certainly got the warmth on thursday and the vast majority are going to be dry. and again, temperatures may be peaking in some spots into the mid—20s but most of us will be enjoying the warmest weather of the spring so far. this is bbc news. the headlines: from syria there are unconfirmed reports of missile attacks on two airbases. the pentagon has said there is no us military activity in the area. there is no comment from the israelis. syrian state tv is claiming government air defences have shot down missiles above the shayrat airbase in homs province.
and the hezbollah militia claims missiles aimed at dumair military airport, near damascus, have been intercepted. russia's foreign minister says relations with the west are worse than during the cold war. in an exclusive interview with the bbc, sergei lavrov described the recent missile strikes on syria as an outrageous aggression. us and british scientists have created a plastic—digesting enzyme that can help in the fight against plastic pollution. the enhanced enzyme has the ability to break down pet, one of the most popular forms of plastic, used to make bottles and other types of packaging. the discovery could offer a new way of recycling plastic.