this is bbc news, the headlines: two years after the killing of kim jong—un's half—brother in malaysia, murder charges against one of the defendants have been dropped. siti aisyah from indonesia has been discharged from court. welcome to bbc news, she and a vietnamese woman broadcasting to viewers were accused of killing kim jong—nam in north america and around the globe. by smearing nerve agent on his face my name is lewis vaughanjones. our top stories: at kuala lumpur airport. a malaysian court drops murder charges, as one of the defendants charged with the murder of kim jong—un‘s half—brother two syrian forces backed by the us have years ago is acquitted. begun their assault on the last a malaysian court's set to free siti aisyah imminently. enclave held by so—called we'll be live from kuala lumpur. islamic state. families and fighters leave thousands of women and children have the islamic state group's last left the area in recent days — stronghold in syria as the final assault with many is supporters by western—backed forces begins. surrendering to kurdish forces. we have a special report. a day of mourning has been declared in ethiopia after a plane crash killed all 157 people on board. ethiopia declares a national day the boeing 737, owned of mourning after the plane crash by ethiopian airlines, was carrying passengers from more outside addis ababa that killed than thirty countries. it came down shortly after taking off from the capital addis ababa. all 157 people on board. it's the second air crash in five months involving this type of plane. and, thousands protest in moscow against plans to cut off russia's internet from the rest of the world.
let's go straight to the breaking news this hour — one of the defendants charged with the murder of kimjong nam, the estranged half—brother of north korea's leader kim jong—un, has had her charges dropped. indonesian defendant siti aisyah was discharged from court and is expected to be freed shortly, according to her lawyer. let's go live to kuala lumpur now and our south east asia correspondent, jonathan head. jonathan, some fairly dramatic developments. what is going on? today was the day we were supposed to be hearing from the vietnamese
defendant, doan thi huong, is the second woman to smear a liquid on the face of kim jong—nam two years ago at the airport, but in fact it was siti aisyah, the indonesian defendant, who unexpectedly had her charges dropped. the lawyer believes that it was because the evidence against her was not as strong as it was against doan thi huong. critically, there was no security footage of her smearing anything on kim jong—nam's face, or any footage of her going to that toilet to wash off the liquid. that is what is evidence enough to suggest that the vietnamese defendant knew that the substance she was using was dangerous. both have said that they believed they were part of a televised pranks, they had no idea that the men they were working for we re that the men they were working for were north korean agents. siti aisyah's lawyers believe that
because the evidence was weaker against her, that is why they have dropped it. where does that leave the case? what happens next? we don't know get whether the vietnamese defendant is going to testify or not. she is supposed to be giving a sworn statement today in court, the first time we would have heard directly from any of the defendants explaining her role on how she got involved in this extraordinary story. we don't know whether that will go ahead, as far as we know the case against her proceeds. but siti aisyah's lawyers did say, they have separate legal teams, that given the charges being dropped against her that the vietnamese defendant's lawyer may now petition the government to say what they have said all along, which is that obviously this was a political assassination, the north koreans fled for malaysia or in some cases were allowed to leave, and
clearly it is not fair, and so it is possible this case will also go the same way. we are expecting to hear from doan thi huong, who is still on trial, in the next couple of days. remind us why this is such a significant case in the region. well, the assassination was extraordinary. kim jong—nam, the strange half of the north korean leader, kim jong—un, often strange half of the north korean leader, kimjong—un, often travelled around south east asia. he didn't live in north korea any more. but he suddenly died two years ago, and it turned out he had been killed in this extraordinary way. it was very shocking, in an international airport using a deadly nerve agent, very risky for passengers, and for a while, malaysia pretty much broke off relations with north korea, or downgraded them, and it showsjust how far north korea is willing to go to get to people who they believe are hostile to the regime. having
said that, all the people in the region seem to be trying to manage their relations with north korea. we saw kim jong—un their relations with north korea. we saw kimjong—un in their relations with north korea. we saw kim jong—un in vietnam's just at the beginning of this month, being treated as a visiting head of state, with no mention apparently being made of the fact that a vietnamese woman is on trial here for something he is believed to have ordered. thank you, jonathan, i know you will be keeping across things for the next couple of hours. western—backed fighters beseiging the last patch of territory in syria occupied by islamic state say they have now reached the middle of a camp once controlled by the militant group. is once had dreams of a global caliphate, but most of the group's die—hard supporters have now surrendered to kurdish forces. the remaining jihadists are now confined to a tiny piece of land under a mountain outside the village of baghouz. earlier, the bbc was given an exclusive look inside baghouz. our middle east correspondent quentin sommerville, and cameraman jewan abdi,
sent this report. this is the end of the road. beyond here, we are given a first look inside all that remains of the islamic state group's caliphate. is are close enough to shoot. under their black flag — it was raised only the day before — the diehards hold firm. improvised bombs are left behind, but the caliphate is reduced to squalid camps. no—one knows how many remain inside. the men of the syrian democratic forces wait for the final assault. just a mile away, is true believers meet their apocalypse. more than 12,000 supporters, including their children, gave up to kurdish forces in the last week. girl sings.
the daughter of a french is fighter. this is not a lullaby, but a propaganda ballad. she sings of martyrdom and paradise. her extremist father was killed earlier this week. women shout. their hateful ideology, which brought terror here, still pollutes minds. allahu akbar, allahu akbar! "go film the men", they scream, "we are the women of the islamic state, god is great", as they attack our camera. hundreds of is fighters have been killed, but hundreds more have survived the battle to retake the last tiny village of baghouz. they are headed for kurdish prison. many of the islamic state supporters view the surrender not as defeat, but as only a setback.
the is leadership told them to give up. the wives expect to see their husbands again, and those husbands expect to take up arms again. that leadership has already fled, and now, all across northern syria, there are tens of thousands of hardcore is supporters being held together in camps and prisons, and they're waiting for what comes next. allahu akbar! ii—year—old amar, from iraq, told us he wants to be a jihadist. allahu akbar! adiba, a yazidi woman, is revealed casting off is oppression. they burn the abaya she was made to wear. forcibly converted to islam, adiba was passed from one moroccan fighter to another. she says she suffered regular beatings, was raped, and had a child.
nearby, we meet her latest captor, ahmed. "she wasn't a slave", he says. "she lived with my wife and parents". he had taken her after her previous ca ptor was killed. is committed a genocide against adiba's people. now, her life begins again, and the nightmare caliphate ends. but, here in syria, the islamic state group's people and its toxic ideology still cling on. quentin somerville, bbc news, syria. a day of mourning has been declared in ethiopia to remember 157 people killed in sunday's plane crash. the boeing 737 max—8 came down within minutes of taking off from addis ababa on its way to the kenyan capital, nairobi. the passengers came from more than 30 countries.
from nairobi, alistair leithead reports. there is very little left of ethiopian airlines flight 302. this is where it crashed, just moments after takeoff. there were 149 passengers and eight crew on board. from the relatively small area of debris, aviation experts believe it would have plunged vertically into the ground and exploded on impact. eyewitnesses describe the intensity of the impact. translation: it came directly from the sky downwards. we heard a huge explosion, there was no fire before it crashed but once it crashed we saw a huge cloud of smoke. the flight, bound for nairobi, took off from the ethiopian capital, addis ababa, at 8:38am local time. butjust 6 minutes later it
disappeared off the radar. it crashed near the village of bishoftu, just 37 miles from the airport. the cause of the disaster is not yet clear, but the pilot had reported a problem and had asked to turn back. those awaiting its arrival in nairobi saw that the flight was cancelled, then came the terrible news. the airline released details of the nationalities on board. people from 35 different countries. 32 of the passengers were kenyan, 18 canadian, and seven were from the uk. in south london, ben courier heard this afternoon that his father, who had dual british and kenyan citizenship, was among the dead. i found out that nearly everybody had passed away, and it was just a frantic rush to work the phones to try to get any information that we could get. a major international conference is being held here at the un headquarters in nairobi. a number of delegates travelling from all over the world were on the plane.
the executive director of the un's world food programme said a number of his staff and other un employees were killed. tonight, another british person who died has been named as 36—year—old joanna toole, who was heading to that un conference. the aircraft was brand—new. ethiopian airlines, africa's biggest and most successful operator, received its first boeing 737—800 max aircraft last june. the plane that crashed was only delivered in november four months ago. it had flown up from johannesburg this morning. it is the same kind of aircraft that crashed off indonesia last year, operated by lion air. there was a loss of 189 passengers and crew killed, and it also crashed shortly after takeoff. boeing said it was deeply saddened and that a technical team was ready to provide assistance. while all thoughts are with the families of those killed, work has already begun to find out
what caused the crash. the us federal aviation authority says it will be involved in the investigation. earlier i spoke to geoffrey thomas is the editor of airlineratings.com he specialises in aircraft safety. first of all, having an air crash like this is most unusual anyway, with today's safety levels. then to have two aeroplanes, both four months old, to crash the way they have, and a brand—new model of aircraft, as well. so, yes, there are some similarities between the two. it's well and truly too early to say that they're both related. in fact, most safety analysts i have spoken to about this today say they believe they are not related. the indonesian one, the lion air one
in october last year, was about a faulty angle of attack sensor, which sent erroneous data to the captain, who was flying the aircraft, and then it was his handling of that situation as well which impacted the final outcome. the ethiopian crash, while there are some of the fluctuations in airspeed and altitude after takeoff, we do not have the final data on the final part of the flight, but it did, we know, impact with a nosedive into the ground at high speed. the plane disintegrated. whatever was there was then destroyed by fire. so, yes, there are certainly similarities. i am pleased you have teased out the differences in the two incidents, and of course we will stress that it is very, very early. yes. but given that both events have happened, if you were in charge of an airline now, would you be tempted to ground flights until we know more,
or is that an overreaction? well, the chinese have already done that. that was announced, i think, about half an hour ago. they have some max—8s flying in china, which they have grounded. i personally would not. i think it's a premature decision. the aeroplane is thoroughly tested. it's incredibly reliable as an aeroplane. certainly this is a new model, and it has some new features. but this has been certified by the americans, thoroughly tested by boeing. i think it would be an overreaction. if that is an overreaction, what about the investigation? what exactly will it be looking for? where does it go from here? well, the investigation will be challenging, i feel, because the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder could well have been damaged significantly in the impact and fire. they will be racing to get their hands on those. hopefully there is data that can be extracted within the week, and then we can understand more fully exactly what is going on,
and whether the two are linked, and whether there is actually a problem with the aeroplane in the first place. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: india braces for the world's biggest election. 900 million could vote next month, with prime minister narendra modi seeking a second term. the numbers of dead and wounded defied belief, this the worst terrorist atrocity on european soil in modern times. in less than 2a hours then, the soviet union lost an elderly sick leader and replaced him with a dynamic figure 20 years hisjunior. we heard these gunshots in the gym.
then he came out through a fire exit and started firing at our huts. and, god, we were all petrified. james earl ray, aged 41, sentenced to 99 years and due for parole when he's 90, travelled from memphis jail to nashville state prison in an 8—car convoy. paul, what's it feel like to be married at last? it feels fine, thank you. what are you going to do now? is it going to change your life much do you think? i don't know really. i've never been married before. this is bbc news. the latest headlines: two years after the killing of kim jong—un‘s half—brother in malaysia, murder charges against one of the defendants have been dropped. syrian forces backed by the us have begun their final assault on the last enclave held
by so—called islamic state. russians have been protesting in moscow and two other cities against plans to give the kremlin the capacity to isolate the country's internet service from the rest of the world. activists say 15,000 people took part, double the police estimate. eliza philippidis reports. this is all about freedom. last month, russian lawmakers backed plans to stop internet traffic from being routed on foreign servers. the government says it is to improve russian cyber security, but protesters say this latest attempt to control online content puts the country on track to be completely isolated from the rest of the world. they say it would put them on par with north korea, and that it is an attempt to increase censorship and stifle dissent.
in russia, lots of people use a messaging app called telegram. it lets users send encrypted messages to each other, but could be shut down if the bill went through. the app urged users to rally against the bill, saying it would result in total censorship. translation: we are here because anonymity is being liquidated in russia. authorities pass laws that put people injailfor no reason, block online content and access to information. this bill would give increasing power to the russian internet watchdog. it has already threatened action against twitter, and fined google for failing to blacklist sites. social media say 29 protesters were detained at the moscow rally, with banners and balloons confiscated. this man was dragged away by officers.
authorities have not confirmed any arrests. the second reading of the bill is planned later this month. if it is passed, it will go to the upper house of the parliament, and then for a final signing by president putin. bruce mcconnell was deputy under—secretary for cyber security in the 0bama administration and now advises on global cyber security. i asked him if russia's actions were a matter of security or censorship. so it's both. it's a matter of national security. countries have the requirement to protect their citizens, and the internet is a place, as we've all seen, where bad things can come from. so that's one side of it. the other side of it is that, in more autocratic regimes, the government views political stability as part of national
security, so you're seeing that side of it in russia. and will it work? well, you can't cut yourself off from the internet as a country for very long. you need the banking systems, international finance, international information and trade. so it's kind of a one—size—fits—all solution that's not very subtle. but there are other things with it, other services may be blocked, particular services. linkedin has been blocked on and off in russia for some time. you see this around the world, governments trying to manage the downsides of the new technology, while keeping the upsides. how does russia's approach or capabilities compare with, say, china, which is the obvious example that we know much more about? right, so china's approach is more nuanced. they have put a lot more money and people into it, they have been at it longer, so they're able to filter content
both coming in from outside, going out, and internally in the country, because they have a lot of people working on this, and have made a lot of investments. the russians are taking a simpler approach, they're a bit newer at this, they haven't made the investments. india has just announced the dates of its forthcoming elections. more than 900 million people will cast their votes in a rolling poll so large that it takes place over six weeks, with votes being counted on 23 may. prime minister narendra modi's is seeking re—election. india's recent military action in pakistan will play a part in the campaign, but there are other issues, too, that could affect the polls. the bbc‘s yogita limaye reports from kerala. cheering and applause. india's most powerful man. five years ago, he won the biggest majority in nearly three decades. narendra modi enjoys an almost cult following in the country. viva modi!
and now, after a tense time for the people of india, he is projecting himself as the man who can keep the nation safe. influence of terrorists and terrorism has been curtailed and it is going to be curtailed even more! this is a new india. this is an india that will return the damage done by terrorists, with interest! in response to this suicide bombing in indian kashmir in february, the country's air force launched strikes on what it says were terror camps in pakistan. the strong action has bolstered support for mr modi, but national security is only one issue on the minds of people. the prime minister's record on economic growth and cracking down on corruption has been questioned.
one of his main rivals is rahul gandhi, who comes from india's foremost political dynasty, and leads the country's oldest and one—time strongest party. the congress, though, suffered a humiliating defeat in 2014, and for the past five years, they've been trying to regain their influence. in 2019, we will have a government that will make up for all the crimes that narendra modi has done against the farmers over the last five years. there is fresh energy at the congress's rallies, because the party has seen some success in recent state elections. but indian polls are about so much more than just the two national parties. regional players are extremely popular, and could make a big difference to final results. more than 1,800 parties are registered, and hundreds of millions of people cast their vote. in the coming weeks, india's election authorities will need to prepare for a democratic event like no other in the world.
yogita limaye, bbc news, kerala. some quick thinking at a zoo in the us. a deerfell into an icy pond in its enclosure. a keeper lept into the water to rescue a deer in the animal was safely returned. efforts to make one of the world's biggest pa nca kes to make one of the world's biggest pancakes in the russian city of suchy have fallen flat after the chefs couldn't flip it. as they struggled to turn it over, the pancake fell apart, although the crowd still seemed to enjoy tasting it and the record attempt was part of celebrations to mark the start of 0rthodox lent and signify the end of winter. you can reach me on twitter.
i'm @lvaughanjones. good morning. well, sunday morning started off for some on a wintry note. the far north and west of the country had overnight sleet and snow showers. icy stretches on the roads, as well, as you can see by this weather watcher picture in tissington, derbyshire. it was a different story further south across england and wales. yes, there was some sunshine, but gale—force gusts of wind strong enough at times to uproot trees. and it looks as though the winds will be a key feature to our weather forecast throughout this week. potential for severe gales, could also be some heavy rain, particularly tuesday into wednesday. but, fingers crossed, some drier, brighter interludes. you can see a little bump of high—pressure building as we speak, so allowing
for a quieter day today but waiting out in the wings is another area of low pressure to arrive for tuesday. but it does mean this monday morning we start with the risk of a few wintry showers, which will ease through the morning. further north and west, still a windy start but nowhere near as strong as yesterday. and there'll be some sparkling sunshine, so highs around 8—11 degrees will feel a little more promising as the winds are lighter. by the end of the day, though, we'll see gales strengthening in the far north—west, as the area of low pressure moves in from the atlantic. it will bring significant rain, a couple of inches on west—facing slopes for a time, and some strong to gale—force winds. quite likely 40—50 mph inland, on exposed coasts, 50—60 mph. a spell of wet weather moves south and east, clearing from the south—east corner during tuesday afternoon. behind it, we'll see sunny spells and scattered showers, and some of these showers again with some hail and some sleet
and snow mixed in too. now, as we move out of tuesday and into wednesday, we could see the strongest of the winds through the night. to the southern flank of the low as it drifts off into the north sea, we could see a spell of severe gales for a time. that's certainly worth bearing in mind. so if you're going to be travelling on the roads on tuesday night and into the early hours of wednesday morning, it's worth bearing in mind and keep abreast of your weather forecast and your bbc local radio station will tell you if there is any disruption. but, as we move into wednesday, it looks as though the winds will slowly start to ease through the day. it is going to be a windy but a showery day. i suppose the good news with the strength of the winds is those showers will rattle through at quite a pace but after those severe gales, the winds will start to slowly abate as we go through the afternoon. temperatures will probably peak at 9—11 degrees as the overall high. take care.