tv BBC News at Six BBC News July 30, 2018 6:00pm-6:31pm BST
a landmark ruling means life support can be withdrawn from some patients without the involvement of the courts. if the family and doctors agree, food and liquid can be stopped for patients in a persistent vegetative state, ending families‘ legal battle. for all the families in this situation, they don't want to have to go to court and say they want someone to die. they want them back. but if they can't have them back, they don't want them in a nursing home for years and years and years unable to do something. we'll be looking at what the ruling means for the thousands of those affected. also tonight... the funeral takes place of the dawn sturgess, the victim of novichok poisoning in wiltshire. are things getting better for northern rail passengers as it reintroduces many services, we speak to commuters across the north of england. the dawn of a new era, as zimbabwe goes to the polls for the first time after nearly a0
years of robert mugabe. and geraint thomas prepares to come home to wales — his mum says its not sunk in yet. i don't think he really understands what he's just done. he doesn't understand that the whole of wales is behind him either. and coming up on bbc news. britain's andy murray says it's like "starting from scratch again" as he prepares to return to tennis, having pulled out of this year's wimbledon. good evening and welcome to the bbc news at six. the courts will no longer have to decide if life saving support should be withdrawn from patients in a persistent vegetative state or who are minimally conscious. providing both families and doctors agree, food and liquid can be
stopped to allow such patients to die. until today's ruling by the supreme court, it has often taken years for cases to drag through the courts, increasing the anguish of the families of the thousands of people affected, being kept alive in nursing homes and hospitals through medical intervention. sophie hutchinson reports. cathy's brother was severely brain—damaged in a hitand run accident when he was just 16 years old. he then spent eight years in a vegetative state. she says the family had to go through the painful process of asking the court to allow food and water to be withdrawn so that he could die. and that's one of the difficult things about going to court, i had to swear an affidavit saying that i wanted my brother to die. i didn't want my brother to die, i wanted him to get better but i wanted him not to have been knocked over in the first place but i couldn't have any of those things and
that's the thing for all the families in this situation, they don't want to have to go to court to stay that they want someone to die. they want them back and if they can't have them back they don't want them in a nursing home for years and years and years. today's landmark ruling by the supreme court means that when families and doctors agree, they will no longer need to seek permission from judges. that means they can decide whether life—sustaining nutrition can be withdrawn from a loved one in a persistent vegetative or minimally conscious state. today's ruling is hugely significant for potentially thousands of families who find themselves in some of the most tragic situations. those who agree with doctors that their loved ones should be allowed to die. they can now make that decision in the quiet of their home in hospital or elsewhere without the strain of having to go to court. it's estimated there are tens of thousands of people living in a vegetative or minimally conscious state in the uk. patients with almost no prospect of recovery who are kept alive with artificially administered food and water, some for decades.
those who represent families have welcomed the new ruling. it's a really good decision for a sensible and compassionate society, to allow doctors and families to get on and make decisions on behalf of their patient in their best interests. the hillsborough victim tony bland was the first patient in england who the courts allowed to die by having food and water withdrawn. since then there have been 100 such cases and some are concerned that removing the safeguard of asking the courts‘ permission could be dangerous. these decisions are very difficult, they need to be made by specialists. diagnoses are often wrong, the courts have overturned decisions before, and this is why we feel that this severely compromises the lives of these vulnerable patients. but where there is disagreement between families and doctors, the courts will still have the final say. cathy is adamant, though, that if court
can be avoided, it's a kindness. sophie hutchinson, bbc news. our legal affairs correspondent clive coleman is outside the supreme court now — why have seniorjudges changed their mind about this? behind each of these cases is a family tragedy. back in the 19905 in the case of tony blair and the judges felt that they had to impose a safeguard so even when relatives and doctors agreed that the withdrawal of food and water with the best interest the patient doctor still had to go to court to get a court order allowing that to happen. in the intervening period there has been an emphasis on personal autonomy, what the patient once and thatis autonomy, what the patient once and that is why relatives are now asked not what they want of course but what their loved one would've wanted if they had known how bad the prognosis was. another three factors ithinki prognosis was. another three factors i think i play, first the court are aware in the intervening period the
medical understanding of these dreadful conditions has increased and become much more sophisticated. doctors have a greater and more detailed guidance and also we have the mental capacity act which provide significant attractions for those who lose mental capacity. taking all that together i think thatis taking all that together i think that is what gave seniorjudges here the confidence to hand back the decision on withdrawing food and water to clinicians acting with an consulting with relatives so the best decisions can be made on behalf of people in these really awful situations. rail services in the north of england that were scrapped in may during a timetable shake up have started to run again. but angry commuters have still faced cancellations and delays across manchester, merseyside, lancashire and yorkshire. our correspondent danny savage is at preston station. how has the new timetable gone down?
it has been an interesting day, still some delays. back in may be introduced that new timetable and that was followed by chaos, the council dozens and dozens of services. introduced an emergency timetable until today when they tried to put 75% of those services back in. we spoke to commuters across the area about how they have found the last few weeks and today. just after seven this morning and lorna fitzpatrick is waiting in burnley for her daily northern service to leeds. it arrives on time, but lorna says the new timetable means more stops and more passengers. i have this dread every single morning because i know that the train is probably going to be late and i'm probably not going to get to work on time, as usual. train announcement: on behalf of northern, i'd just like to apologise for the... every single aspect of my life revolves around this train and i'm just absolutely sick of it. i'm at the end of my tether. it's had such a massive impact on my life, my professional and my personal life. and i can't be the only one in this situation. northern says a more gradual
reintroduction of its timetable will ensure a more stable and reliable service. but again today there were delays and cancellations. the mayor of greater manchester says enough is enough. today i have called on the prime minister to intervene because passengers in the north can't keep running the daily lottery of turning up to the train station hoping they will be able to get to work on time. they deserve much better than this. and that was reflected at this company in manchester. who are having to build their working day around the delays of staff commuting on northern. there's usually lots of calls at 8:30am people saying they're going to be delayed, they are going to be late. there is a bit of chaos rearranging meetings, say if we've got a pitch where we are going to be trying to win new work, it is having a huge impact on us being actually able to win new business and grow. northern blamed a shortage of drivers for the chaos back in may. they say training has now happened the unions disagree. you are operating services on overtime, that says to me and to our members
and i suspect to passengers that you haven't got enough staff in the first place. there were certainly fewer complaints on social media about the trains today, but the commuters we met believe the real test will be in september. that is because that is when the introduced the other 25% of services which they have not yet put back into place. that will happen in september and that is when commuters returning after the summer holidays as well. we have repeatedly asked northern railfor an as well. we have repeatedly asked northern rail for an interview northern railfor an interview on camera and they have declined to give one. the funeral has taken place of dawn sturgess, who was poisoned by the nerve agent novichok in wiltshire three weeks ago. among those attending was her partner, charlie rowley, who was hospitalised in the same poisioning. miss sturgess died after coming into contact with novichok which may have been discarded during the attack on the former russian spy sergei skripal and his daughter in march. jon kay reports. killed by novichok.
today, dawn sturgess was remembered as an innocent victim and as a fun—loving mum of three. her private funeral service included james blunt‘s song beautiful dawn and the track from fame, i'm gonna live forever. it is a very emotional experience. the vicar who conducted the ceremony told me dawn's ii—year—old daughter was among those to address the congregation. she just said how much she loved her mum and how much her mum had loved her. which resulted in a round of applause from everybody in the crematorium, just to say how marvellous she had done that and how courageous she had been. the vicar said despite earlier advice about possible contamination risks, he was able to touch the coffin during the blessing and pallbearers carried it
into the crematorium as normal. charlie rowley, who was poisoned with novichok at the same time as his partner, sat on the front row as family and friends paid tribute to the ali—year—old. i'd like people to think of dawn not in a sad sort of sense, in that she has passed, but in a happy sense in that she was a lovely person and very helpful to anyone who was in need of help. tonight, work continues here to establish where the couple came across the deadly poison. meanwhile, the hostel where dawn sturgess had a room is in the process of being reopened. at her funeral, prayers were said for this entire community, where so many are still in shock. john kay, bbc news, salisbury. a man acquitted of rape has lost his appeal to remove any reference to the case from his enhanced criminal records check. the teacher — who can't be named — was found not guilty seven years ago. when he applied for a job following his acquittal, details of the allegation and verdict were included in his criminal records certificate.
the supreme court ruled that the disclosure of the acquittal was proportionate given his application for a job as a lecturer. the home secretary has insisted he does not support the death penalty but has stood by his actions in the potential extradition of two islamic state group terror suspects. sajid javid came under criticism after it emerged the uk has dropped its demand for assurances that the two men won't face the death penalty if they're sent for trial in america. alexanda kotey and el shafee elsheikh were captured in syria injanuary. in zimbabwe the polls are closing in a general election that marks a new era for the country, the first since its former leader robert mugabe was forced to step down last year after almost forty years in power. there were long queues at polling stations where the main opposition party is hoping to defeat the ruling zanu—pf party. our africa editor, fergal keane, reports from the capital harare. one
just a year ago, they believed democracy was a sham. a rigged exercise. democracy was a sham. designed to keep an ageing tyrant in power. but today felt like something very different. african laughter and the high hopes of long—suffering people. i would like if everyone was employed today, i would like some clinics to have medicine. i would like people to go to school. more schools, more clinics, morejobs, for everyone. this day, i'm very hopeful for a new zimbabwe. i'm very happy that i'm able to make a change, my decision is being considered for zimbabwe. so i'm happy and hopeful. it was peaceful across zimbabwe. in the rural areas of matabeleland. and in midlands province, where the man who overthrew
the old regime cast his vote. once an enforcer for robert mugabe, he's gambling voters will thank him for bringing change. i'm happy that the process of campaigning was peaceful and voting today is peaceful. i have no doubt that the end process of the entire electoral process will remain peaceful. in the capital harare, stronghold of the opposition movement for democratic change, its young leader nelson chamisa arrived at a local school to vote. he's campaigned energetically for months. how's it going? is it going well? very good. very good, he said. nelson chamisa just after voting. it is chaotic, but it is democracy. as zimbabwe has never known it before.
a few moments later, i caught up with him again. will you accept the result, even if you lose? i've told you that we are not losing in this election, we are winning this election. so i'm not interested in impossibilities. so you're confident? we will win this election. that is a free and fair election. particularly in the rural areas. it is a done deal. to try and ensure it is free and fair, hundreds of local and international observers have been deployed. as an observer, are you happy, broadly, with what you have seen? yes, so far, so good. and we trust that it will end like this. the coming days will reveal the winner and may prove the ultimate test of zimba bwe's democracy. fergal keane, bbc news, harare. and we can speak to our correspondent shingai nyoka in harare now. there have been problems with elections in the past in zimbabwe, intimidation,
fraud — how's it been today? many of the observers have been saying that it is better during the course of this election. the elections management body held a press c0 nfe re nce elections management body held a press conference earlier to give their assessment on how voting was going. they said that there had been a high voter turnout and that there was very little in terms of reports of violence. we have heard some reports of irregularities, though, of registered voters' names missing from the electoral roll as well as claims that large groups of people we re claims that large groups of people were bussed into certain polling stations. what the observers have said, though, is that they are still assessing the situation, they need to figure out whether these anomalies, these irregularities, will affect the outcome. this is a
very important election, zimbabwe need to deliver credible polls. the world is watching, zimbabweans are watching. but many people agree that this was one of the most peaceful elections that the country has had. i've covered elections here for the last 20 years or so and we were able to go into some of the rural areas that we weren't able to. and the opposition movement for democratic change was able to campaign in those areas. the question now is, will they be able to accept a result? our top story this evening. a landmark ruling means life support can be withdrawn from some patients without the involvement of the courts. and still to come, the crowds keen to congratulate the new hero of the tour de france. deontay wilder, saying talks are in
progress over a meeting with tyson fury in december. more than 50,000 people have now fled their homes in california, as the 12,000 firefighters battle to contain a number of wildfires which have swept across parts of the state. eight people are now known to have died, including four firefighters. the blazes in california are among around 130 major fires currently burning across the us and canada. james cook sent this report from lakeport in northern california. the fire season is no more. california is now ablaze all year round. in the past six years, not one month has passed without a major wildfire here. just now, 17 are burning up and down the state, causing problems for battalion chief paul fleckenstein and his team. the fire that's coming up behind us is a little enthusiastic right now.
it's reacting to the wind and the fuels. it's coming up from the bottom below us, mostly the thermal column is carrying it up, it's catching the brush, you can hear it cook off the moisture, that's the crackling part. then it's picking up the embers and throwing them kind of where we're not looking for them to go right now. across north america, tens of thousands of firefighters are battling to save life and protect property, setting controlled burns like this one and hacking away at the undergrowth to try to deprive the wildfires of fuel. it is relentless and often dangerous work. quite how dangerous was underlined again, with the death of brian hughes, the 33—year—old captain of the arrowhead hotshots. he was fighting this blaze near yosemite national park when he was struck by a falling tree, the fourth firefighter to die in california's current wildfires. this is the latest threat, fire
advancing on the town of lakeport, adding to the evacuations. 50,000 people in the state have now fled their homes. but staying can be deadly. in the mountains of shasta county, where this village was reduced to ashes, police say they found the body of someone who had refused to leave. these pictures of the fires sweeping in were filmed by a helicopter pilot. they show it jumping the sacramento river, leaving two young children and their great—grandmother among the dead, and the fear here is that this is what the future looks like. james cook, bbc news, in northern california. a look at some of today's other stories. the home office is to launch an independent review of modern slavery laws after its own research revealed the crime costs the uk up to £45 billion a year. the report estimates that each instance of the crime costs around £330,000 including support, lost earnings and law enforcement. pope francis has accepted the resignation
of australian archbishop philip wilson. it's after the 67—year—old was found guilty in may of concealing child sexual abuse. he's the most senior member of the catholic church to be convicted of the offence. doctors are calling for women in england to be allowed to take medication at home to have an early abortion, instead of having to go to a licensed clinic or hospital and then travel home and risk the process happening during the journey. the royal college of obstetricians and gynaecologists believes the change would avoid distress to women and bring england's policy in line with wales and scotland. our health correspondent jenny walrond has more. i know you've just come back from our scan, and that shows that... in england, women coming for an early abortion using medication must take all the drugs in clinic. the royal college of obstetricians and gynaecologists say they should be allowed to take the final medication at home, as now happens in scotland and wales. sarah, who we've renamed
to protect her identity, is terminating her pregnancy after her contraception failed. she lives too far away from the hospital to be sure she'll be home before the abortion begins. luckily i have a family member who lives close to the hospital. it's distressing enough to come and do it anyway, let alone the fear of not making it home. somebody else who i know didn't make it home, it happened in the car. she still struggles with that. it's not an uncommon story. women who live a long way from hospital or who have to use public transport sometimes experience severe bleeding and cramping on their way home. my friend had to help me walk from the car to his flat... it made me feel like every person who passed me knew what was happening... i remember feeling ashamed of myself and that maybe the pain and humiliation was necessary. . . under the 1967 abortion act, pregnancies can only be terminated on licensed premises. early medical abortions in the first nine weeks of pregnancy involve
a combination of two drugs. the scottish and welsh governments now allow women to take the final dose at home. and there are calls for england to follow suit. we believe that this is significantly improving the well—being of women who are requesting termination of pregnancy in scotland. and they really value the opportunity to be able to take that second part of treatment at home. the change is supported by the royal college of gps and the british pregnancy advisory service, which runs abortion clinics and sexual health centres. but the anti—abortion group spuc says women should have medical supervision throughout a termination and are concerned that they could be coerced into having abortions by abusive partners. they've launched a legal challenge in scotland. we believe the policy is outside the scope of the 1967 abortion act, so it's as simple as that. in terms of the ethics of it, we believe that abortion is never justified.
in this case, however, it trivialises abortion, it makes it seem as if it's an easy step for women to do, but it also puts a woman's health at risk. the department of health and social care says that its priority is always to make sure that care is safe and of a high quality and that it will continue to monitor the evidence surrounding home use. jonny walrond, bbc news. landmarks across wales were lit up in yellow last night to celebrate cyclist geraint thomas' tour de france win. discussions about how to mark the double olympic gold medallist‘s achievement are underway in cardiff, but the champion says he doesn't expect all this to change him. from the welsh capital, sian lloyd reports. the city waiting for geraint thomas to come home. flags have gone up at cardiff castle. behind the scenes, plans are being made to give him a hero's welcome. plans are being made to give him a hero'5 welcome. i am not from wales, hero's welcome. i am not from wales, i moved recently here. but i am
really proud of him. i think it's great for wales and getting recognition and everything but i haven't seen many things to celebrate it as much in cardiff in the city, so i would like to see more hyped up things for it. ijust think it's amazing that geraint thomas has won the tour de france and it inspires the kids to get onto their bikes. i was watching the tour de france and i want to know when is he coming back to cardiff, geraint thomas. we don't know yet but when we do we will let you know. all right, thank you. some lucky fans did get to meet him immediately after his win in paris. i am going to enjoy tonight and the next few weeks and looking forward to getting back to wales and seeing everyone. so excited for him, you know. i don't think he really understands what he'sjust done. the whole of wales is behind him. at home they're talking about building a legacy on
the back of geraint thomas's win. over the past few years there has been an increase in interest shown by peoplejoining been an increase in interest shown by people joining cycling been an increase in interest shown by peoplejoining cycling club been an increase in interest shown by people joining cycling club staff but that hasn't translated into people using bikes more everyday. there is a gold postbox in the city to celebrate thomas's olympic triumphs. but now they have more ambitious plans. the biggest tribute we could pay to cycling and to geraint is to put in place high—quality cycle lanes and infrastructure so everybody has a chance to cycle in cardiff, notjust the champions. that goal will take some time to achieve that first, this city and its cyclists want to welcome geraint, and the yellow jersey, home. let's have a look at the weather. it felt very different over the weekend, but with our lot of rainfall in some places in parts of rainfall in some places in parts of northern ireland with a month's worth of rain injust a of northern ireland with a month's worth of rain in just a few hours.
still some showers around today, some of them heavy but for the rest of the week the showers should tend to ease and gradually it will be getting warmer once again. showers across central areas of england, northern england, is done scotland as we go through this evening and then overnight, showers coming back into the south—west, wales and the south—east. jump was to start the day in the south—east tomorrow. they should scoot off into the north sea. and then eastern areas should have a largely dry day. further west, the odd shower, certainly more cloud for northern ireland and western scotland, pretty windy here as well and temperatures in the centre of glasgow getting up to about 17 whereas down towards the south—east, back into the mid—20s. wednesday should be a dry day for pretty much all parts of the country. just the odd shower but most places seeing some sunshine. it does cloud over
later in the dave and northern ireland, some patchy rain cannot be ruled out here by the late afternoon. 27 degrees in london. you can see already which way those temperatures are headed. and that continues towards the end of the week. this weather front will bring a bit of rain across the north—west, high pressure building down towards the south, which will once again allow us to tap into some very warm airfrom the allow us to tap into some very warm air from the south. northern areas keep that slightly cooler, fresher feel from the atlanta. northern parts of the country, temperatures possibly up to the mid—20s. further south, back up to 32 degrees. we waved goodbye to the heat wave at the weekend but it could be on the way back. judges have ruled that food and drink at the withdrawn from unconscious patients without going through the courts,... there have been further cancellations of
northern world —— northern rail services, after a new timetable lead to severe problems. the polls have closed in the first presidential election in zimbabwe since robert mugabe was overthrown last year. eu observers said voting in some areas was totally disorganised. california's deadly wildfires continue to spread, but officials say that firefighters have made some progress against parts of the blaze. millions of people in england are