welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is nkem ifejika. our top stories: hand—delivered to the white house. a personal letter from kim jong—un, as president trump confirms the singapore summit is back on. i think we're going to have a relationship and it will start onjune 12. after weeks of political uncertainty, italy has a new prime minister. giuseppe conte leads a controversial populist government. europe, mexico and canada pledge to hit back at america's new tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, promising retaliation. the german state of bavaria imposes a new law requiring a christian cross in the entrance to every public building. and vogue arabia defends its decision to feature a saudi princess as a symbol of women finally winning the right to drive. hello.
the meeting between the united states and north korea is back on, for now at least. it follows the delivery of a letter from the north korean leader during a meeting at the white house between president trump and a close aide of kim jong—un. in a hint of the negotiations behind the scenes, mr trump said he believes the north korean leader wants denuclearisation but also other things along the line. chris buckler is in washington. the white house made a point of doing everything but rolling out the red carpet to welcome a former north korean intelligence chief. in the past, the united states has accused kim yong—chol of crimes and an attacking that killed dozens of south korean seamen. but today he was whisked through security to meet
the president inside the oval office. and there, behind closed doors, he was handed the much talked about letter from kim jong—un. they emerged side—by—side after more than an hour of discussions. a remarkable sight given that last year the two countries appeared close to conflict. but after all that talk of war, there were brief smiles. it seems they're prepared to discuss peace after all. the summit is back on. we'll be meeting onjune i2 in singapore, it went very well, it's really a get—to—know—you kind of situation. and i think it'll be a process. i never said it goes in one meeting, i think it's gonna be a process. but the relationships are building, and that's a very positive thing. it's onlyjust over a week ago president trump sent his own letter, cancelling the summit based on what he called north korea's "tremendous anger and open hostility. " but the last two days of talks between kim yong—chol and us secretary of state mike pompeo seem to have improved relations.
but it's not clear whether they have really agreed on an aim or even what denuclearisation means. do you think kim is committed to doing denuclearisation? i do think so, he'd like to see it happen. he wants to be careful, he's not going to run and do things, but i told him, "to be honest with you, look, we have sanctions on, very powerful sanctions, we would not take sanctions off unless they did that. if kim jong—un‘s letter did make a difference, it was the gesture, not its contents. president trump hadn't taken it out of the envelope by the time he waved goodbye to the north korean leader's right—hand man. the comings and goings of diplomacy can be difficult to follow at this white house. let's take a look at some of the other stories making the news. the united states has vetoed a un security council resolution calling for measures to protect palestinians. the arab—backed draft deplored any disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by israel
and the firing of rockets from gaza against israeli civilian areas, though it didn't name hamas. visa says its card payment service is returning to normal following a system failure which left many customers across europe unable to pay for some of their purchases. the company has apologised for the hardware failure and said it had no reason to believe it was the result of a malicious attack. it's emerged that five big cats reported to have escaped from a flooded zoo in western germany had not in fact left their enclosures. the apparent escape of two lions, two tigers and a jaguar sparked a major search. local residents had been told to stay indoors. shares of the brazilian state—controlled oil company, petrobras, have fallen by nearly 15% following the resignation of its president. pedro parente stood down following nationwide strikes by truck drivers. oil workers had demanded mr parente‘s resignation and called for an end to the company's policy of setting prices at market rates. giuseppe conte has been sworn in as italy's new prime minister.
he'll lead a cabinet assembled by the country's two main populist parties. they are the anti—establishment five star movement and the right—wing league, and they've promised radical change. the swearing in follows months of political uncertainty, which has worried brussels and spooked financial markets. jenny hill sent this rome. jenny hill sent this from rome. it's the moment europe's been waiting for, a new italian prime minister. giuseppe conte, a law professor with no political experience. and, sworn in one by one, a new government, an anti—establishment coalition. it almost didn't happen at all. paolo savona, first choice for foreign minister and fierce critic of the euro, was rejected by the italian president. after desperate talks, a compromise was made, for giovanni tria, a more moderate academic who will now oversee italy's finances. an end to uncertainty, then,
but perhaps the drama is onlyjust beginning. the new government already controversial. it's promised to deport half a million migrants, to lower taxes, spend more on welfare. one thing to keep in mind is that italian governments hardly ever last the entire five—year legislature. there is no reason to believe that this will be any different, especially because you have two wildly different parties in this coalition. there's the far right league, which has a very tough stance on immigration, with the five star movement, which really has a little bit more left—wing sympathies, so that is an issue between them. translation: the new government, it will be fine. even if i voted for berlusconi, it will be fine. we must change, at least we must try. translation: i hope this government will start well. we're living in a rather special moment, so i hope anyone can do well, can do better. we will see, but at least we should test them. the eurozone will be watching.
the government rejects austerity, plans to spend its way to growth. all smiles today, but this country, with its huge debt, may yet have to do battle with the likes of brussels and berlin. jenny hill, bbc news, rome. spain also has a new prime minister after mariano rajoy was ousted in a vote of no confidence. his conservative people's party had been fined for its involvement in a corruption scandal. he will be succeeded by the opposition socialist leader, pedro sanchez, who will form a new government. but it's unclear how his party will govern, as it only has a quarter of seats in parliament. our europe editor, katya adler, is in madrid and has this assesment. this is huge news for spain, because it's the first time in this country ever that a prime minister has been unseated by a no—confidence vote in parliament. that said, there's already a brand—new prime minister ready
and waiting to take over as of tomorrow. so even though this is a highly unusual situation, there is no sense here at all of panic crisis. quite unlike italy, what a dizzying political circus there for a few days, threatening to infect the whole of the eurozone. it has been a very stormy week in europe. don't forget also this blossoming new trade war between the european union and its closest ally, the united states. and all of this has an effect on brexit negotiations. david davis, the uk's chief brexit negotiator, has spent a lot of time travelling all around europe to woo eu leaders and try to persuade them to give the uk a better brexit deal. but every time a european government falls, as it has done in italy and here in spain, he has to start his charm offensive all over again with a brand—new guise in government. canada has joined the european union in filing a challenge to us tariffs on steel and aluminium with the world trade organization. the eu's trade commissioner, cecilia malmstrom, said the us
was playing a dangerous game. she said the tariffs would have consequences for the global economy. nick bryant has been to a steel town which has fallen on hard times to see how the measures have been received by president trump's supporters. bethlehem, pennsylvania used to be a powerhouse of the us steel industry. then it became a rust belt powerbase of donald trump. after the closure of its main steel plant 20 years ago, many people here felt like economic castaways, stranded in a globalised economy that left them behind. in the presidential election, bethlehem voted republican for the first time since the 1980s. we actually had 30,000 people working here at one time... former steelworker tom sedor doesn't even like donald trump, but he loves the imposition of these tariffs. i think they're gonna really help the economy, help the general public. i think it's a good thing, and i don't think the sky is going to fall. you're not worried about the impact of a trade war? i'm not worried about the impact.
it's been done before and it hasn't hurt. it's actually 30—a0 years too late. the trump administration claims it's protecting us national security, but this is more about protecting the us steel industry and protecting rust belt towns. donald trump believes he is rewarding his loyal supporters, and does not seem that worried about angering america's closest allies. tonight, the president singled out the european union for criticism. if you take the european union, and you see the kind of tariff they charge, and then we don't, that's called not fair trade. i want fair trade. but the european union is not taking it without a fight. it's retaliating and calling donald trump's actions a dangerous game. this is further weakening the trans—atlantic relations and it increases the risk of severe turbulences in the market globally. protectionism can never be a solution, and this will hurtjobs here in the european union, but also in the us. harley—davidson motorbikes
are on a tariff target list of american imports compiled by the eu that also includes iconic goods, such as levi jeans and whiskey. there's been a rapid response from america's neighbours, canada and mexico, imposing tariffs on $13 billion worth of us exports. tonight in the uk, the prime minister stressed her deep disappointment, calling it an unjustified decision. words reiterated by her trade secretary. it is very, very unfortunate if we get into this tit—for—tat position, especially with one of our closest allies. nobody wins in a trade war, there are only casualties. port talbot steelworks in wales has battled for its survival in recent years. now comes more uncertainty for its workers. it is another kick in the teeth basically. after all we've gone through, we've worked hard to establish ourselves in the global market again, and now this has been presented, or thrown into our lap, through no fault of our own.
britain exports some £360 million worth of steel to america each year, and industry chiefs warn that tariffs could have wider, devastating effects. newsreel: bethlehem, pennsylvania, where every christmas, a huge star glows from a hilltop. where every other night in the year, the sky is lit by the hungry furnaces of little steel. it's way too late to save bethlehem's steel plant, the american industry's heyday is a thing of the past. but us unemployment dropped today to its lowest level in 18 years, fuelling the sense of rust belt revival and emboldening donald trump. nick bryant, bbc news, pennsylvania. there's lots more on our website, including plenty of reaction from across the globe, plus five reasons why trade wars aren't easy to win. just head to bbc.com/news
or download the bbc news app. the us defence secretary, james mattis, has accused china of trying to intimidate and coerce its neighbours by deploying missiles in the disputed south china sea. speaking to south—east asian defence ministers in singapore, general mattis said beijing's actions call into question its broader goals. china's policy in the south china sea stands in stark contrast to the openness of our strategy. it promotes... what our strategy promotes, it calls into question china's broader goals. china's militarisation of artificial features in the south china sea includes the deployment of antiship missiles, surface—to—air missiles, electronicjammers, missiles, surface—to—air missiles, electronic jammers, and more recently the landing, our craft leanne wood island. despite china's
claims to the contrary this is tied directly for military use for the purposes of intimidation and coercion. china's militarisation of the spratlys is also indirect contradiction to president xi's 2015 public assurances in the white house rose garden that they would not do this. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: saudi women's rights campaigners hit out at the latest cover of vogue arabia. the queen and her husband began their royal progress to westminster. the moment of crowning in accordance with the order of service, by a signal given with great guns of the tower shall be shot off. tributes have been paid around the world to muhammed ali, who has died at the age of 7a. outspoken but rarely outfought, ali transcended the sport of boxing, of which he was three
times world champion. he was a good fighter and he fought all the way to the end, even through his illness. yes, he did. uefa imposes an indefinite ban on english clubs playing in europe. today is the 20th anniversary of the release of the beatles' lp sergeant pepper's lonely hearts club band, a record described as the album of the century. this is bbc news. our main headline: after a top north korean official delivers a letter from kim jong—un to the white house, president trump says the proposed summit is back on forjune 12. that historic summit is being held in singapore. with less than two weeks to go, how is the city state getting ready for the big event? karishma vaswani has been finding out.
defence chiefs from all over the world gathered in singapore this weekend for the top security summit in the region and singapore is taking no chances with this event. a massive contingent of police sealed off the venue. i was here just yesterday and there was nothing. this security apparatus has literally turned up overnight. singapore is very used to getting ready for these sorts of events very quickly. all of this is a dress rehearsal for the summit of the century between president trump and north korea's kimjong—un which will be held in singapore in just under two weeks. singapore is no stranger to hosting these sorts of high—profile meetings. in 2015, it was the venue for the historic china—taiwan summit. one of the reasons it was chosen was because it had good relations with both sides. singapore has a reputation for being efficient and safe and positions itself as a neutral
player on the global stage. and for someone like president trump, it doesn't hurt that it also boasts a picture perfect skyline for those photo opportunities. and behind the scenes, some preparation is already under way. everything is being done, you know, on a very, very low—key manner but, you know, things in the background, it is happening, you know? we already know of a lot of activity is going on right now. you know, the singapore government is very efficient, we are known for efficiency, so it is just a matter of time, you know? everyone is going to be able to see how efficient we are to putting something like this up, you know, in a very short span of time. away from the serious stuff, singapore is also getting ready to have some fun. meet the trump and kim cocktail — a blend of bourbon and soju, inspired by the men the drinks are named after. after all, if this summit is successful, a toast to world peace may well be in order. that does not look very good!
venezuela has released almost a0 opposition activists who'd spent months in detention. but many of them are still banned from giving interviews, posting material on social media and from leaving the country. the opposition, which boycotted last month's presidential election, has demanded the release of all political prisoners. lebo diseko has more. an invitation for dialogue, says venezuela's government. a token gesture by a dictatorship, says its critics. this is the first of the 39 opposition activists to be released, seen here at a press conference organised by the state shortly before being allowed to go home. translation: we formally announce the beginning of this process and will continue working and we will gradually announce more measures of this nature. one person who wasn't released was leopoldo lopez, one of president maduro's most vocal critics. he is pictured here on house arrest
before being taken by police and placed in detention. venezuela is in crisis. last year, there were months of running street battles between police and opposition protesters angry about changes to the constitution. it is facing tough sanctions from the us, eu and canada, as well as neighbouring countries who say they are concerned about democracy. and its economy is on its knees, meaning queueing forfood and basic necessities is a daily reality. the opposition boycotted the recent election which saw mr maduro voted in for another six years. he promised to free some political opponents, to overcome the wounds left by last year's tension. but as his country teeters on the brink of collapse, more work may need to be done to heal its bitter divide. lebo diseko, bbc news. the german state of bavaria has
introduced a controversial new law which requires all public buildings to display a christian cross in theirfoyer. the man at the centre of the law, regional premier markus soeder, says the crucifix is at the heart of bavaria. but critics have slammed him for politicising a religious symbol to woo far—right anti—islamists. tiffany wertheimer‘s report contains flash photography. this will be a common sight in bavaria from now on. as of friday morning, nearly all government buildings in the south—eastern german state must display a crucifix. as the law came into effect, its mastermind, premier markus soeder, was not even in bavaria. he was at the vatican enjoying a private audience with the pope. soeder says the cross is at the heart of bavaria's identity, but the new law has left germans divided. translation: i think it is a good thing because it is a part of our tradition and i am a religious person. translation: i don't need
to hang one on the wall. sometimes i even feel a bit uneasy about the cross. but i am of the opinion that everyone should be able to decide for themselves. markus soeder is the leader of bavaria's conservative christian social union. it's the sister party of angela merkel‘s christian democratic union. with state elections looming, critics say the crucifix law is designed to claw back votes from germany's afd party, whose supporters are generally right wing and anti—islamic. translation: it's a move by the election campaign. the afd talks a lot about christian values and i think markus soeder had to do something before the regional election next october, in order to win at all costs. outrage at the law has come from far and wide, including the head of the german bishops conference, who said the move was never discussed
with him and he doesn't support it. soeder has also been mocked. the state premier of neighbouring baden—wurttemberg compared this photo of him to a vampire film. in an effort to wind back the critical lashings, the bavarian government said while it is compulsory for buildings like police stations, courts and government offices, it is merely a recommendation for schools, museums and theatres. an invitation for dialogue, says venezuela's government. a token gesture by a dictatorship, says its critics. vogue arabia has defended its decision to feature a saudi princess on its cover as a symbol of women in the kingdom finally winning the right to drive. the magazine has been criticised for ignoring the contribution of saudi women campaigners, some of whom were arrested recently. laura westbrook reports. vogue arabia's latest edition has not got quite the reaction it was hoping for. it is because of who was chosen to be on the cover. the saudi princess whose family is lauded for being the "driving
force," while activists who fought for women's right to drive remain behind bars. that's wrong, say human rights activists, because not mentioned are campaigners who helped draw international attention by driving illegally and posting videos online. just weeks before women in saudi arabia are allowed to drive, some activists were labelled as traitors and arrested. given the significant loosening of certain restrictions on women's activities on saudi arabia in recent months, including the forthcoming ending of the ban on women driving, it's perplexing why both women and men engaged in campaigning for such positive developments are now being targeted by the authorities. one activist, manal al—sharif, who has left the country, was interviewed by vogue. on twitter, she urged people not to forget three leading women's rights campaigners who are still in detention. but vogue stands by its choice.
its editor describes the cover as: the man on the left, the crown prince mohammad bin salman, was behind the decision to lift the driving ban. he took on the country's powerful clerics to do so. cinemas and theatres were recently reopened after a ban which lasted three decades. and back in september, women were allowed into a sports stadium, previouslyjust for men, to watch a concert for the first time. the reforms are part of the royal family's plans to modernise saudi arabia and improve its reputation. as the royalfamily is being celebrated for bringing about this change, pressure will grow on them to acknowledge those who campaigned and are now faced with draconian sentences. now, the excitement for the football world cup in russia has built up so much it has reached into space.
these russian cosmonauts are testing out the official world cup match ball onboard the international space station. adding a more acrobatic edge to the beautiful game, anton shkaplerov and oleg artemyev showcased some of the possibilities for zero—gravity football. unfortunately, they won't be able to make it home for the opening match against saudi arabia. a reminder of our top story: donald trump has re—instated the proposed summit with kim jong—un after cancelling it last week. his change of heart followed talks with a senior official from pyongyang who hand—delivered a personal note from the north korean leader. the president says the planned meeting in singapore could be an historic turning point. and you can get in touch with me and most of the team on twitter. i'm @nkem|fejika. goodbye. hello there.
friday was another day when we had plenty of thunderstorms around but this time they were mainly focused across the northern half of the uk. flashing away across the north of wales, northern england, northern ireland and scotland, where we had some localised surface water flooding issues as well. what catches my eye on the satellite picture at the moment is this area of cloud extending out from europe across east anglia. it is bringing outbreaks of rain. most of it's quite light but i think this will have a bearing on the weather forecast across eastern counties of england, as i'll explain in a moment. for the time being, a few splashes of rain for the next few hours across some of these eastern counties. not as murky a night as it has been, particularly across southern england, although around coastal areas there are still some patches of mist and fog. perhaps a few patches of mist, too, around the pennines and north midlands, we have the most humid air. thunderstorms developing through today. i think they will be mostly in scotland. one or two for northern ireland, one or two for east anglia. so this is how the day starts.
we will see this cloud and light rain working in across parts of norfolk, moving across lincolnshire and in across yorkshire. that might get to northumberland and durham as well later in the afternoon. what that area of cloud will do is stop temperatures rising so high. further north we can see some sunshine, with heavy thundery showers for scotland. a risk of localised flooding here, but it's not certain these showers will develop across eastern england. that cloud that i showed you might actually stop the showers from falling here. there could be a few thunderstorms, though, to the south in east anglia. southern counties of england and across southern wales, this is where the driest weather is going to be with the best of the day's sunshine. the heaviest of the downpours, i'm pretty sure, will be across scotland and maybe into east anglia. those showers will fade away through the night. on sunday, a lot of dry weather for the second half of the weekend. not completely dry. a few showers around. northern england, parts of southern scotland, the favoured areas for catching those showers. quite a bit of cloud around the north sea coast of scotland. the best of the sunshine further south with a ridge of high pressure
keeping the weather settled here. and it will be a bit warmer. temperatures could reach 25 degrees around london and the south—east. on into the early stages of next week. this area of high pressure to the north—west of the uk is going to start to draw in some north—easterly winds. there will be some cloud coming onto the north sea coast. it might well start out cloudy on monday before that cloud tends to thin out. it will burn back to a degree, to the coasts, with some brighter and sunny spells, but it will certainly be a bit cooler and fresher. temperatures in london around about 20 degrees on monday. that's your weather. this is bbc news — the headlines: after receiving a letter from kim jong—un, president trump says the summit between the us and north korea will take onjune 12 in singapore. mr trump held talks with kim yong—chol — the highest level representative from pyongyang to visit the white house since 2000. europe, mexico, and canada have rejected america's new tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.
canada said it would join the european union in filing a challenge at the world trade organization. washington claims the policy would safeguard national security. giuseppe conte has been sworn in as italy's prime minister, ending a period of political deadlock. the leaders of two anti—establishment parties who nominated him will serve as ministers. the president had previously rejected his pick for finance minister. the spanish prime minister, mariano rajoy, was forced out of office this week. one pressing issue facing his successor is the future of the northeastern region of catalonia, where an unsanctioned