welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories — calls for the sacking of guatemala's head of emergency services after the agency failed to act on warnings of eruptions of the fuego volcano. the death toll rises to 99. president trump grants clemency to a grandmother serving a life sentence after a plea from reality tv star kim kardashian west. britain's grenfell tower inquiry hears from the man who lived in the flat where the fire started. and, the salamander, the conservationists and some mexican nuns. we'll tell you about the unlikely alliance to save the axolotl. with 99 people now confirmed dead around the erupting fuego volcano in guatemala, opposition politicians are calling for the head of the emergency response
agency to be sacked. they believe the agency failed to respond to advance warnings. dozens of people are still unaccounted for. volcanologists, monitoring increased activity from fuego, say they warned officials to evacuate the area, but it didn't happen. will grant reports from one of the worst affected areas, los lotes. the tiny community of los lotes stood no chance. flimsy shacks of tin and corrugated iron offered residents no protection when the awesome power of volcan de fuego thundered through their village. everything was buried under the river of lava and ash. homes, livelihoods, loved ones. some are still looking for survivors, but it is an increasingly forlorn task. instead, the desperate search has turned to the morgues. wendy hernandez has lost
everyone she held dear, her entire family gathered for her mother's birthday was wiped out in minutes. her mother, sister, nephews and what's breaking her heart most of all, her two teenage daughters. translation: alll could hear was screams. i begged her to tell me what was going on. but she did not respond. with each passing day, this disaster isn't easing, but worsening. it is now almost impossible that anyone still searching for lost loved ones will have any success, except perhaps in retrieving their bodies for burial. the emergency services are working around the clock, but barely coping. the president says in this poverty—stricken nation, there isn't a single extra peso available for the relief effort. and amid it all, fuego is still active. a recent alarm prompted fresh panic among local people,
who fled any way they could. they say in latin america, hope is the last thing you lose. but in guatemala, that hope is fading fast. will grant, bbc news, los lotes, guatemala. one of the world's most active volcanoes, kilauea on hawaii, is also still erupting. but despite the almost constant eruptions, hawaii has seen no fatalities. andrew plant reports. it has been erupting for more than a month — hawaii's kilauea volcano, its molten rock boiling through multiple fissures here. the coastal communities on hawaii's big island are now largely evacuated. by tuesday, 117 homes had been destroyed. but overnight, the lava kept flowing. it is thought another 80 properties have now been lost. we are monitoring activity, operations are still ongoing, as far as watching the vulnerable
communities and the roads out there, assisting folks and recovering whatever they can before any more inundation takes place. the eruption started on may the 3rd, destroying homes and livelihoods here, but predictable, expected even, and so far, no—one has died. kilauea never builds up the violent pressure that has claimed so many lives in guatemala's explosive eruption. scientists say this eruption cycle started in the 1980s and cannot say when the molten lava will die back down. when it does, though, many here will need to rebuild their homes swallowed by almost five weeks of flowing lava. andrew plant, bbc news. dr erik klemetti is a volcanologist and associate professor at denison university in ohio.
i asked him why guatemala has been such a disaster, and hawaii so much more contained. the biggest difference is just that they erupt in very different styles. fuego, the eruption there produced...it was an explosive eruption, where you had clouds of volcanic ash, gas and rocks coming down the side of the volcano at hundreds of kilometres per hour and hundreds of degrees c so that the people who lived around the volcano did not have a lot of time to get out of the way as opposed to hawaii where the lave flows and the molten rock that are moving right through it like cold honey, thay look like they are moving fast but they are really sticky so people can get out of the way of those eruptions. the eruption at fuego is just a much more violent form of eruption that can really catch people off guard. kilauea never really builds up that massive pressure the fuego does. and i have seen these descriptions of pyroclatic flows,
really unlike anything else on earth. they are pretty unique because they are moving through air but they carry a lot of debris and at very high temperatures so if the debris does not end up burying new or knocking down the building you're in, the high temperatures is what is going to do you in instead. and it seems to be a difference between a lava flow at kilauea of something moving at hundreds of metres an hour as opposed to fuego a few hundred kilometres an hour? yes, so that is the big reason why at kilauea there has not been any fatalities is that, as the eruption has progressed, people have been able to get out of the way and emergency manafers have been able to get people out of places that might be in danger well before the lava flow gets there. what do you make of these calls in guatemala for the head of the emergency response agency to be sacke? the accusation that the agency failed to respond adequately to warning? that is always a tough one.
when you're monitoring volcanoes, the signs for a big eruption or small eruptions might be very similar. you have earthquakes, you have releases of gases, you have inflation and you have kind of two things you're trying to balance — the timing of the eruption and size. and it is hard to get them both. this was an atypically large eruption for fuego so it would be challenging to say anyone could have predicted that it was going to be an eruption that unfolded like this. i appreciate it's a tough one but what do you expect eminently from fuego and from kilauea. kilauea right now looks like it isjust going to keep on doing the same pattern. no signs the lava flows will end any time soon. we might expect that for weeks or months. at fuego, it tends to have these eruptions every once in awhile. this is actually the second eruption it's had this year so i expect more explosive eruptions, maybe not as big as this one but it will continue that pattern.
president trump has granted clemency to a 63—year—old grandmother who was serving a life sentence in prison for a first—time non—violent drug offence. it's just a week since the reality tv star kim kardashian west visited the president in the white house to lobby for alice johnson's release. our north america correspondent chris buckler gave me more details from washington. alice mariejohnson was involved in a cocaine conspiracy. what she effectively did was she passed on messages between drug dealers, between those who were distributing the drugs and those who were supplying them. it's what's sometimes called here a "telephone mule" and she received a life sentence for her part in that conspiracy but her family and friends have been campaigning for some time, arguing that that was a harsh sentence, that she was a first—time offender, somebody who had not been involved in a violent offence. and they got the backing, quite recently, of kim kardashian west, the reality tv star, who found herself able not to just get into the white house but even to get inside the oval office
to take that case directly to donald trump himself, and it seems kim kardashian west simply became interested in the story after watching a video on social media. nonetheless, it does seem like her influence has had an effect on the president and within days of that meeting he has commuted her sentence. talking about effects on the president, that very publicly today, he did not get the backing of another senior republican? yeah, there's a lot of people talking about the use of pardons and the use of clemency by donald trump and that is because of his comments earlier this week on twitter, when he talked about whether or not he would have the power to pardon himself. he said he would and that has been backed up by his lawyer — who's been doing the rounds, rudy giuliani, on a number of television interviews. so this question about whether or not donald trump could pardon himself is one that has caught a lot of attention here, particularly with the american media focussed on this ongoing investigation into allegations of russian meddling, allegations of collusion in the 2016 presidential election.
of course, donald trump says that he has done nothing wrong and therefore would not need to use the power of pardon and, beyond that, he makes very clear that he believes that whole enquiry is a witch—hunt but other members of his republican party are being asked that question, including paul ryan, the speaker of the house, and what's really interesting is he believes it is not about a question of whether or not he could use a pardon but whether or not he should. i don't know the technical answer to that question but i think, obviously, the answer is he shouldn't and no one is above the law. so there you get a real sense there of paul ryan trying to dismiss this. he has also been talking about some of the other things that donald trump has been tweeting about, and been asked specifically about those, specifically this idea that potentially there was a spy in the camp of the trump campaign, sent by the fbi, and whether or not the fbi were misusing their powers by doing so. paul ryan has been speaking to a senior republican who has been in one of the house committees that has been looking at this whole issue
and he says that there is no evidence for it, really contradicting what donald trump has been saying himself. so you get a sense of the tensions that are imerging between the president and his party. stay with us on bbc news. still to come — remembering the life and legacy of robert kennedy — a memorial service is held to mark his death 50 years ago. 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, the great guns of the tower shall be shot off. tributes have been paid around the world to muhammad 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 sgt pepper's lonely hearts club band, a record described as the album of the century. this is bbc news. the latest headlines: calls for the sacking of guatemala's head of emergency services after the agency failed to act on warnings of eruptions of the fuego volcano. the death toll rises to 99. president trump grants clemency to a grandmother serving a life sentence — after a plea from reality tv star kim kardashian. the public inquiry into the fire
at a london tower block a year ago has heard from the man who lived in the flat where the fire started. at least 72 people died in the grenfell tower disaster. behailu kebede‘s lawyer told the inquiry that his client had been made a scapegoat by parts of the media. tom symonds reports. it's nearly a year now. the tower is slowly being covered up. but there's an unwavering determination to remember those who called it home, with these words appearing today. one of those residents was behailu kebede. his kitchen was where the fire started. this is him making the first 999 call. g re nfell tower. his lawyer said he fled barefoot, phone in hand, using it to film the first flames.
but press reports, including this prominent article in the london review of books, reported that he'd packed a suitcase first. elsewhere, it was suggested his fridge had exploded because it was faulty. "garbage," said his barrister. he'd been scapegoated. he is a good man. he did nothing wrong. on the contrary, he did the right thing from start to finish. now he wants privacy for himself and his family. chanting justice. . . now! kensington and chelsea council has also been blamed and invaded by protesters... we wantjustice! ..for commissioning the fatal refurbishment of grenfell tower. today, we heard the council's early defence. without seeking to prejudge the evidence, i venture to suggest that you will find that there was nothing unique about the royal borough of kensington and chelsea, which meant that the fire was destined to take place within its boundaries rather than somewhere else.
but the refurbishment was overseen by the independent tenant management organisation, which looked after council housing in the borough. so, while tmo is a specialist in the management of social housing stock, it is not a specialist design or construction company and had no in—house expertise in these areas. so it contracted out to a string of companies, including these four. victims‘ lawyers say this is developing into a carousel of blame. passed between all the bodies and companies involved. barrister michael mansfield wanted the inquiry to take a shortcut, to draft immediate recommendations to improve safety for social housing tenants. this man lived on floor 15. right now, we are talking, people are at risk in towers. they are at risk even in houses. the risk is not...
it doesn't become the same as the grenfell tower. it's not about grenfell tower any more, it's about the uk. the families of those lost at grenfell and the survivors have been placed at the heart of this process, but they face a long wait for this inquiry‘s considered answers to their many questions. tom symonds, bbc news, at the grenfell inquiry. a service of remembrance has been held at arlington national cemetery to mark the assassination of robert kennedy, 50 years ago. family, friends and dignitaries paid tribute to the senator and former us attorney general — shot dead as he campaigned for the presidency in 1968. the bbc‘s tim allman reports. it was a moment when a different type of america seemed possible. robert kennedy had won the california primary and was one step closer
to the white house. moments later, he lay mortally wounded on the floor of a hotel kitchen. another kennedy brother killed by an assassin‘s bullet. 50 years later, his life and legacy were remembered by some who never knew him and some who miss him most. you share our deep sense of loss and our happy memories. your presence is deeply moving and a tribute to the love that my father inspired. thank you for remembering. it was at arlington, the place where he was buried just a few feet from the grave ofjfk, that this service took place. many here, convinced that the words of robert kennedy a more relevant than ever. we can do it all over again but we had to do it the way he did,
speaking to everybody, stating the same thing to everybody. with a heart full of love and an outstretched hand. this was a service dedicated to a life cut short, a legacy incomplete. but it was also dedicated to the ideas of robert kennedy, what his grandson called his belief in a truer, kinder tomorrow. tim allman, bbc news. just days now before the summit between president trump and the north korean leader. the outcome potentially of huge significance to many other countries. japan will be watching particularly closely. prime minister shinzo abe will be speaking to mr trump before the summit, but there's
still concern that any deal between washington and pyongyang may not suit tokyo. rupert wingfield—hayes reports. air raid siren wails japan is afraid of kim jong—un‘s nuclear missiles. so much so it began last year doing something it has not done since world war two — practising air raid drills. america is afraid of this. north korea's huge new hwasong—ili missile. so far it has been tested only once. but japan fears these intermediate range missiles and kimjong—un has hundreds of them. the question now is if a trump—kim deal will include all of north korea's missiles orjust the ones that can hit the united states? prime minister shinzo abe is hoping his close personal relationship with president trump will guarantee japan is not left out. but numerous rounds of golf have not stopped mr trump from opening a trade war with tokyo. a scene in the past 3a years, but
this is a unique president. that they have seen. and i am afraid that president trump is undermining the law of the united states. how worried is shinzo abe? worried enough that he has flown to washington, dc again today to tell president trump to not forget about them. do not do a deal on missiles and nuclear weapons that leaves out japan. and he wants one more thing. to find out what happened to japanese citizens abducted on the orders of kim jong—un‘s father in the 1970s and 1980s. megumi yokota was just 13 when she disappeared on her walk home from school in 1977. for two decades her family heard nothing. then in 2002 north korea made a stunning admission — it had kidnapped megumi and 12 others. five were allowed
to return to japan. pyongyang insisted that megumi and the others were dead. her brother says her family have never believed that. "we believe my sister is alive and suffering in north korea," he says. "they told us that she died in 1993 but others saw her alive “119911. north korea sent back her ashes that dna tests showed they were from a different person. so we think north korea is lying". if megumi is still alive, she is now 53 years old. her family have waited four decades for her to come home. the singapore summit has given them new hope that she could still return home. this is an unusual one. conservationists from a british zoo have formed an unlikely partnership with an order of mexican nuns to save a critically endangered
amphibian from extinction. the axolotl is a salamander that is unique to mexico. but it has been almost wiped out by pollution and over—fishing. however, scientists say the nuns could hold the key to saving it. our science correspondent victoria gill sent this report from lake patzcuaro in central mexico. lake patzcuaro, central mexico. the only place in the world where you just might find a critically endangered axolotl local known locally as the achoce. this vast lake used to be teeming with this species of axolotl, but now the scientists studying them have set out traps to catch them and this is a half kilometre long line with 100 traps and they're hoping to find just two or three that they can take some samples from. scientists are here on a mission to prevent these strange amphibians from being wiped out completely. deforestation, which is dragging down sediments to the lake, and we have as well pollution — we were talking now to make it official that the species is close to extinction,
so it was really we arrive right at the last minute. this emergency effort involves rearing the axolotls in captivity. and that's where some unexpected experts come in — the sisters of the immaculate health, who run a true sanctuary for this species. translation: it's a lot of work and a great deal of sacrifice. but it's worth it, to work with nature and to protect what god has given us. we're going to take another dna from rubbing the tongue... but while conservationists and their devout collaborators work together to save a species that's disappearing from the wild, axolotls are bred in their thousands in laboratories around the world. most people study them because of their ability to regenerate, and it's remarkable. so let's take the limb gets bitten off here, above the elbow. what will happen is, the limb willjust regenerate a perfect mirror image of the limb on the other side. and so many people hope that we can
identify some latent ability to regenerate in human tissues by studying and understanding how the axolotl regenerates. this is real good. does it work? for the cough? for centuries, these healing abilities have fuelled a belief that consuming axolotl can cure almost any respiratory element. and the original recipe for this remarkable medicine? developed by the sisters themselves. nuns here started breeding the animals 30 years ago to sustain the supply of this ancient remedy‘s key ingredient. that's what makes them such axolotl experts. now, the quiet dedication of this religious community could provide a future for a creature from which we have so much to learn. victoria gill with that report from mexico. jerry maren, the last surviving actor to play a munchkin in the original wizard of oz film, has died in california at the age of 98. maren portrayed one of the 124 members of the munchkin lollipop
guild in the classic 1939 film. the role saw him become known as the "lollipop kid" after handing a lollipop to dorothy — played by judy garland. many years later he delighted fans with this rendition of his song. #we # we represent the lollipop guild, the lollipop guild, the lollipop guild. # and in the name of the lollipop guild, we wish to welcome new to mind can land... he has died at the age of 98. and you can get in touch with me and most of the team on twitter, hello there. good morning.
the weather looks very sluggish over the next few days into the weekend as well. so it is going to be difficult to get the detail right. wednesday, most places had a warm, summer's day. not much cloud around at all. over the next couple of days, in the south, there will be more cloud around. maybe one or two heavy and thundery showers. on the whole, most places will be dry. a fair bit of cloud across eastern areas on wednesday but this is the cloud coming in from the near continent that threatens a few heavy and thundery showers, notjust overnight — perhaps into thursday as well into the southern parts of england as well — not many of them, most places will be dry. more cloud will feel humid around southern areas and around the coast there could be patches of cloud on the cooler side but generally temperatures into the low 20s as they were on wednesday. we could scrape an isolated sharp shower across western scotland and western northern ireland, if those form, they will fade overnight, still one or two showers into the south—west of england and south wales. again for eastern areas,
turning misty and more areas of low clouds and patchy fog too. it will improve through the day on friday and again we have the risk of a few showers here and there. same sort of areas around southern england and wales and clipping the far north—west of the uk, but large parts will be fine and dry and it will feel warm in the sunshine again. always cooler around those north sea coasts because we have an onshore breeze, once again high pressure to the north of the uk and lower pressure to the south and it's around that that we are seeing storms, heavy rain, maybe over the continent through the english channel and the threat of one or two heading into england and wales on saturday. the risk is still there, across the western side of ireland, cooler along the north sea coast. during the second half of the weekend this area of low pressure is closer and the weather front too, it threatens to bring with it heavy rain. still could be a few sharp showers across scotland and the chance of one or two for northern ireland but again some spells of sunshine and temperatures into the low 20s.
looking ahead into monday and tuesday, again, most places will be dry. briefly we may see some high—pressure arriving on tuesday, but then we see atlantic winds after that. maybe a change on the way. this is bbc news. the headlines — with 99 people now confirmed dead around the erupting fuego volcano in guatemala, opposition politicians are calling for the head of the emergency response agency to be sacked. they believe the agency failed to respond to advance warnings. dozens of people are still unaccounted for. an american grandmother serving more than 20 years injail on a non—violent, first—time drugs charge, has been released. she has been granted clemency by president trump, responding to a plea from reality tv star kim kardashian west. she met him at the white house
last week to lobby for alicejohnson‘s release. britain's grenfell tower inquiry has heard that the man who lived in the flat where the fire started was not responsible for the tragedy. behailu kebede‘s lawyer said his client alerted his flatmates and neighbours as soon as he saw smoke — and that claims he left the building to burn were a nasty lie. now on bbc news, haedtalk.