welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. i'm reged ahmad. our top stories: is this their final battle — kurdish fighters in north—eastern syria launch a major assault against what remains of the islamic state group. elizabeth warren makes it official, launching her bid for the white house, promising to champion ordinary working people. prosecutors are appealing against the acquittal of 27 suspects in tunisia's 2015 terror attacks. seven men were jailed for life. the queen's husband, the duke of edinburgh, surrenders his driving licencejust weeks after a crash that injured two women. hello and welcome. the battle against the spread of the so—called islamic state has
raged on for years, but now a spokesman for the kurdish—led alliance in north—eastern syria says its forces are launching their final battle against the group in the tiny pocket of territory it still holds around the village of baghouz, near the iraqi border. the announcement comes just days after president trump said he believed the end of the self—declared is caliphate could be announced in the coming week. but, as sebastian usher reports, the threat still remains in the region. gunfire. the us—backed sdf has played a key role in the war against is in syria. its biggest victory was to drive the jihadists out of their de facto capital, raqqa. in the past few months, it's picked off one town, village or hamlet after another in the corner of north—eastern of syria, which is fighters have been driven. all that's left for the jihadists there are a few square miles next to the iraqi border.
a far cry from the caliphate the group once declared across huge swathes of syria and iraq. the sdf delayed its final attack until thousands of civilians in the area could get out. now they say a decisive battle is under way. the united states military, our coalition partners, and the syrian democratic forces have liberated virtually all of the territory previously held by isis in syria and iraq. last week, president trump said the total defeat of is could be defeated within days. that certainly suits his agenda of withdrawing all us troops from syria. but he's been criticised before for declaring final victory over is prematurely. caution is still needed. is holds other slivers of territory in syria, further west, while its sleeper cells remain active. and it's the same story in iraq. the group's ability to continue a guerrilla insurgency persists. the fate of its hostages,
such as the british journalist john cantlie, remains unclear, as does that of its leader, abu bakr al—baghdadi. its most effective foe, the sdf, faces an uncertain future, if and when its us backers leave. sebastian usher, bbc news. professorjoshua landis is director of the center for middle east studies at the university of oklahoma. he joins me now from norman, oklahoma. thank you for your time. thank you. we hearing this is the final battle for the kurdish led alliance but how important is it? very important, symbolically because this is the end of the taylor fritz, the territory that isis took so is it a gallery in 2014 and 15 and building a state the size of great britain —— caliphate. that is what distinguished isis from
other groups like al-qaeda. it was it tried to set up a pro— defied state, caliphate, and i doubt it announced himself at the mosque pretending to be the successor to the prophet muhammad —— albert da rty. the prophet muhammad —— albert darty. this is what created so much publicity across the globe and so with its destruction, president trump is trying to declare victory —— al—baghdadi. and he wants to leave and that will of course open up leave and that will of course open upa new leave and that will of course open up a new chapter because isis is still very much alive as a terrorist organisation. it has spread to yemen, nigeria, libya, afghanistan again. it has spread around, they are not gone, there are about five to play attacks in iraq every week by isis. -- five deadly attacks. donald trump as you say is trying to leave the region. is that explain the timing for this attack right now? yes, he is trying to wipe it
out so he can get down to withdrawing. he has geared up his new presidential campaign and this is clearly going to be an important platform, is i'm going to finish the war in syria, i'm not going to fight endless middle east wars like my predecessors did. i'm going to bring the troops home. he is to win battles in afghanistan, and this is important, it is popular with the american people because the us has been something like $5 trillion fighting wars in the middle east. the benefits of which are not visible to the american people who wa nt visible to the american people who want better schools and roads so he is trying to make that a part of his campaign and declare victory and get home. but probably the end of the caliphate but not the end of islamic state so if this battle, ——if it is successful, what will be the in syria after that in terms of islamic state 7 syria after that in terms of islamic
state? there will undoubtably be attacks and what it requires is a state and a police force, a military, to take america's place and at first trump thought this would be turkey but of course turkey wa nts to would be turkey but of course turkey wants to destroy the ypg, america's kurdish partner, that america does not want them to come into north syria which means the syrian army would be the natural substitute for the us but america has spent the past eight years fighting syria, hoping to be a of bashar al—asaad the last thing that the us can do is make a deal with syria to step in with the kurds in this means america will leave really without an alternative to itself and that could be raggedy and could leave an opening for isis to regroup. professor, there is a much more complexity in the region to analyse, thank you for your time. pleasure. us senator elizabeth warren has officially launched her bid to become the democratic
presidential nominee. shejoins a growing list of democrats keen to take on republican president donald trump in 2020. the massachusetts democrat made the announcement in the working class city of lawrence. the man in the white house is not the cause of what is broken. he is just the latest and most extreme symptom of what's won wron in america. a product of a rich system that props up the rich and powerful and kicks to honour the one else. —— what's gone wrong.. the cost of couege what's gone wrong.. the cost of college has nearly tripled and 40% of americans could not find $400 to cover an emergency. that is millions of hard—working cover an emergency. that is millions of ha rd—working people cover an emergency. that is millions of hard—working people in this country whose lives would be turned upside down if the transmission fell
out of their car or somebody got sick and missed a week at work. the middle—class squeeze is real and millions of families can barely breathe. it is not right! cheering and. here's chris buckler in washington, with more on elizabeth warren's campaign strategy. very much trying to set herself aside from president trump, who she is presenting as somebody who is wealthy and privileged and essentially the elite, and she tried to present herself as someone of the working people. in fact, she even walked onto the stage with that anthem of working women, 9 to 5, playing. it gives you a sense that elizabeth warren is trying to rally the grass roots of ordinary people, choosing that old manufacturing town of lawrence to show again that she was alongside those people who, in the past, had fought for workers' rights and had fought for workers' pay. i think we have had this
antagonistic relationship between her and donald trump. donald trump has referred to her time and time again as pocahontas. he likes to give nicknames to some of his political opponents and this nickname, pocahontas, comes from her claims that she has, in her past, some native american heritage. but how she has used those claims has been really controversial. he, for example, the president encouraged her and challenged her to take a dna test, which she said she would do. that immediately had a response from the cherokee nation, saying that that is not how you actually establish tribal citizenship and that that was a bad idea. they have also been critical of how she claimed native american citizenship in the past at university, and it gives you an idea that really she does face a challenge for some of those claims. at the moment, as i say, the field is wide open. kamala harris has had a good start, she is another candidate, she was accomplished and articulate in her cnn special in which he spoke to
people who are potential voters and again, cory booker is out on the campaign trail, he is in iowa, speaking there again trying to get across his message, kirsten gillibrand, any club are shy, we will expect her to launch a campaign, all senators who potentially have a chance of winning a democrat nomination —— amy klobluchar. the other thing to mention hisjoe klobluchar. the other thing to mention his joe biden, klobluchar. the other thing to mention hisjoe biden, the former bp, who has not announced whether he is prepared to make a run for the presidency in 2020. he could be a leading candidate if he decides to run but at the moment there is no front runner and that is why we are seeing all of these democratic candidates really trying to grab attention. chris buckler. in tunisia, state prosecutors have appealed against the acquittal of 27 suspects who stood trial for the 2015 terror attacks. 60 people were killed in those attacks, most of them british. it comes as a court sentenced seven people to life in prison for their involvement in the attacks. the first one hit the bardo museum in tunis. the second targeted tourists at a beach resort near the town of sousse.
bbc world affairs correspondent richard galpin reports. the mass trials here at the courts in tunisia began more than a year ago. now, more than a dozen militants have been sentenced to prison, some for life. but many others have been acquitted. gunfire. it was back in 2015 that tourists were targeted in two devastating attacks claimed by so—called islamic state. the attack here in the popular resort of sousse was the most deadly. a lone gunmen armed with a kalashnikov and explosives —— a lone gunman armed with a kalashnikov and explosives running along the beach, killing holiday—makers at random and doing the same inside a large, crowded hotel. 38 people, most of them british, were killed. police who were nearby failed to intervene and tell it was too late. —— until it was too late. just three months earlier,
there had been a very similar attack at the national museum in tunis. this time, two gunmen rampaging through the building, killing more than 20 tourists and a security guard. following this incident, there were many questions why the tunisian authorities did not do more to ensure holiday—makers would be safe in the country, given the clear threat from islamist militants. as a result, the country's vital tourism industry plummeted and it was only in 2017 that it began to pick up again after security at holiday resorts and other popular areas was improved. richard galpin, bbc news. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: would you buy so—called works of art by a fascist dictator? we'll find out what happened to these paintings at auction. there's mr mandela.
mr nelson mandela, a free man, taking his first steps into a new south africa. iran's spiritual leader ayatollah khomeini has said he's passed a death sentence on salman rushdie, the british author of a book which many muslims say is blasphemous. the people of haiti have flocked to church to give thanks for the ousting of their former president, 'baby doc' duvalier. because of his considerable value as a stallion, shergar was kept in a special secure box in the stud farm's central block. shergar was driven away in a horse box the thieves had brought with them. there stepped down from the plane a figure in mourning. elizabeth ii, queen of this realm and of all her other realms and territories, head of the commonwealth, defender of the faith. this is bbc world news.
the latest headlines: us—backed kurdish fighters in north—eastern syria say they are launching a major offensive against what remains of the islamic state group. us democratic senator elizabeth warren launches her bid for the white house, promising to champion ordinary working people. on saturday, violence erupted in france during another set of demonstrations by the country's yellow vest movement. 0ne protester lost his fingers during clashes in paris. it is the 13th week of marches, which began in mid—november. caroline rigby reports. seen here in black, holding his arms and running for shelter, the protestor‘s fingers were ripped
off by a rubber—pellet grenade which exploded in his hand as he tried to throw it away. according to one eyewitness, the man had been attempting to take pictures of demonstrators breaking down barriers outside the national assembly. for a 13th weekend running, thousands of gilets jaunes demonstrators once again took to the streets of paris. police responded to pockets of violence with tear gas and anti—riot munitions. what began as a protest over fuel tax in november has broadened into a sustained revolt against the rising cost of living and the policies of president macron‘s government. translation: for decades now, we have seen our elected representatives have not been working in the interests of the people. they've been working more for lobbies and other interests. translation: when i see poverty in france, when i see the people abandoned by our government —
and notjust this one, for decades, whether it be sarkozy and all the others — i say to myself that we must act. elsewhere in france, tens of thousands of demonstrators turned out in other cities, from nantes to bordeaux, and toulouse to marseille. in brittany, there was an arson attack on the home of the head of france's national assembly, though it is not yet clear whether it was linked to the latest protests. in response emmanuel macron tweeted: "nothing justifies intimidation and violence towards an elected official of the republic." the president remains under sustained pressure to quell the wider unrest in france. but, while the gilets jaunes continue to feel the political class is out of touch with the wider population, there looks to be little chance of a rapid end to the country's longest—running protest in decades. caroline rigby, bbc news. the duke of edinburgh has voluntarily given
up his driving licence. in a statement, buckingham palace said that prince philip had made the decision after careful consideration. it comes after the 97—year—old duke apologised over a car crash last month near the sandringham estate in norfolk, in which his vehicle landed on its side after a collision with a car carrying two women and a baby. our reporter andy moore gave me more details. according to the one—line statement, it is a decision taken by the duke after careful consideration.
it is an admission he feels he is not safe to drive. we understand from palace sources that it is a decision he took himself, that he just felt it wasn't right. we do know that about five days after the accident he sent a letter to one of the women involved in the incident and he said he was very contrite about the consequences. he said he had been dazzled by the low sun. it was basically an admission he had been at fault. you may also remember that a few days after the accident he was seen with another car. he was driving around sandringham without a seatbelt, and he took a lot of criticism over that. so maybe it's a combination of both. a little bit of bad pr, and perhaps at the age of 97, he's realised it's not safe for him to drive, and there are plenty of other people who can drive him. does this end the matter, or is there an ongoing investigation into that accident? there is an ongoing investigation. he could face a charge of driving without due care and attention. police have completed their investigation. they have sent a file to the crown prosecution service. the crown prosecution service say they will deliver their decision
in due course, and they say they will take into account the decision to surrender his licence. there are some experts in the field who say it is probably less likely that there will be a prosecution if the driver surrenders his licence, as the duke has done. the head of nasa says they plan to send humans to the moon again, but that this time they will stay. the space agency will start with an orbiting lunar outpost designed to send astronauts to the surface, and then build a more permanent structure on the moon. i asked space journalist dr ken kramer to tell us more about nasa's plans. it's been 50 years. we want to go back to the moon. we're developing sls rocket and the orion capsule to do that, and we're also developing a mini space station at the moon that they will launch to, and that's called the gateway. we want to launch the first element of the gateway in 2022, then we'll send an astronaut to go into lunar orbit around 2023, and then we want to test a human lander in 2024.
and then hopefully, if that all works out, we will send the first humans back to the moon in 2024 — i'm sorry, 2028. and, hopefully, europe is going to be part of that, because europe is a big part of the orion capsule programme that will carry the humans to the moon. now, as you say, it's been almost exactly half a century since the moon landing. why the sudden interest now in going back? well, there's been a developing interest. you know, unfortunately, the politicians 50 years ago ended the apollo programme. both of the bushes wanted to return to the moon, but the congress didn't quite agree. now, there seems to be a consensus among many nations, us, europe, russia, and china, that it's important to go back to the moon. so there's been a change in the political mindset about it, and that's what it takes, because we have the technology.
what we need to go to the moon is political willpower and the funding, and so that's what seems to be changing now. we've been hearing a lot about china's expedition to the dark side of the moon. is there a little bit of competitiveness here, with the united states wanting to keep up? oh, absolutely, and i'm really glad china's pursuing their lunar dreams, because that is what's going to spur the western countries into action, i believe. so i'm all for china going to the moon, and definitely, a little bit of competition is absolutely good. hopefully, we'll also work with them, because if we can work together as humanity, it'll cut the cost down, and we can use the resources from each country to land there, and probably send an international crew when we do land on the moon. five paintings said to be by adolf hitler went under the hammer in nuremberg on saturday, but failed to sell. 26 pieces of art were pulled
from the sale because suspicions were raised they could be fakes. the auction sparked outrage, with the city's mayor calling it in bad taste. the bbc‘s tim allman has more. five entirely unremarkable watercolours. that is, until you take a look at the signature. these paintings are claimed to be the works of adolf hitler, aspiring artist and one of history's greatest villains. but a planned auction failed to find a single buyer. they were frightened away by the police and security forces, and because of all the news that all these watercolours and oil painting and drawings would be fakes. this isn't the first time doubts have been cast over art attributed to the former nazi dictator. last month, three other watercolours were seized by police before a planned auction in berlin. hitler was a prolific artist in his youth. in his book, mein kampf,
he claimed to have produced as many as three paintings a day. most of them were destroyed. so how many fakes are we talking about? somewhere betwee 500 to a couple of thousand, which is a ridiculous many, especially, as you know, after the second world war, only 30—something survived. whether these were fake or not, the sale of hitler's paintings is hugely controversial. his shadow looms large, even when it comes to art. tim allman, bbc news. when bbc correspondent frank gardner was paralysed in 2004, after being shot six times, skiing was one of the joys he did not want to lose. he has filed this report from the italian alps on how he skis now, and despite the challenges, he makes it look easy. so how do you still ski if you can't use your legs or, like me, if your legs are partly paralysed ? this is the one thing i didn't
want to give up after i got shot, several years ago. so the answer is in something called a sitski, which is this thing here. the first challenge is getting into this thing. so i'm really tightly squeezed into this here. it is almost like i'm in a kind of giant ski boot, and the whole idea of that is that every movement i do, i'll be able to direct myself. the principle i think is the same as normal skiing, but you're kind of shifting your body weight from side to side. and you have these things, called outriggers, the germans call then flip flaps, and you use them to balance yourself one way and the other. so, yeah, let's try again. so you're probably thinking, ok,
how do you get on and off the chair lifts? and, yeah, you're right, it is quite a feat. you have to get two people to help you. but they slow down the lift, the chair lift just slots in underneath your seat, and off you go. and the thrill of being out in the snow is the same. you're up here in the alps, breathing this incredible fresh air — it is such a buzz. so, even though i'm not using my lower half of my body, i'm getting all the thrill of skiing, despite that. looks like he loves it, and he is good at it as well. you can get all the details of all of our stories about top stories on our website. you can reach me on twitter. i'm @regedahmadbbc. well, the weather is in the process of calming down after all of that
storminess we've had in the last few days. and as storm erik pulls away out into the norwegian sea, behind it, it leaves a legacy of changeable weather. we have got some rain out there right now. it's pretty damp across some central and southern parts of the uk, brought by this area of cloud here. this is a weather front which will be sliding across southern and central parts of the uk. all of this cloud here to the north, actually, that's the remnants of storm erik that we've had in the last couple of days. so here's the forecast through the early hours. bits and pieces of rain across central and southern areas of the uk. clear for scotland and much of northern and north—eastern england there. in fact, a touch of frost first thing on sunday morning, and pretty chilly in belfast, as well, around 2 degrees at 6:00am.
so what can we expect then on sunday? well, the morning is looking cloudy and damp for many of us across the southern half of the uk. but this weather front will be swiftly moving away towards the east, so the weather will improve. but it's going to be a slow process for places like lincolnshire and east anglia. some of that rain could last into lunchtime. now, notice how all the while it's sunny across eastern and central scotland. beautiful day, i think, for edinburgh, for newcastle, aberdeen too. but showers are expected to push into northern ireland by the time we get to lunchtime, and then these showers will sweep across other parts of the uk later on sunday, so hence the mixed bag on sunday. now, as we head into monday, high pressure starts to build from spain and portugal. in fact, it's going to establish itself across much of western europe, which means that the weather will start to settle down from monday onwards, and any weather fronts that do come close to our neighbourhood will actually be diverted towards the north. so this is where all the weather fronts will go.
we are in this window of much drier weather. temperatures of 10 degrees on monday in london, and it's relatively mild. you can see how the jet stream actually meanders around the uk, in fact, at times even north of iceland, into scandinavia. and to the south of that, that's where we start to see the high pressure building, and with the winds blowing around in a clockwise fashion, the warmer air will be reaching the uk. so the summary for the week ahead is a lot of dry weather out, or at least mainly dry. there might be some sports of rain in north—western scotland. mild by day, but the nights with the clearer skies will be chilly, and there might be some fog around too. bye— bye. this is bbc news. the headlines: kurdish—led forces in north—eastern syria say they're launching their final battle against the so—called islamic state group in the tiny pocket of territory it still holds near the iraqi border. the announcement comes just days after president trump said the end of the self—declared is caliphate could soon be announced. us senator elizabeth warren has
formally launched her bid to stand for the white house in 2020, with a speech in which she promised to tackle economic inequality. shejoins a growing list of democrats keen to take on republican president donald trump in 2020. seven men have been sentenced to life in prison for terror attacks in tunisia that left nearly 60 people dead. the attacks in 2015 were claimed by the islamic state group. the first one hit tunis' bardo museum. the second targeted tourists at a beach resort. now on bbc news, click.