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tv   Wednesday in Parliament  BBC News  April 25, 2019 2:30am-3:01am BST

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sri lanka's defence minister and police chief have lost theirjobs over what the government's called "major lapses in intelligence. " it's been confirmed prior warnings were not acted upon ahead of easter sunday's suicide bombings that took the lives of at least 359 people. north korean leader kimjong—un has arrived in the far east of russia for his first summit with president putin. he was welcomed by a guard of honour in the city of vladivostok with talks between the old allies set to begin in the coming hours. heavy rain and floods have killed at least 60 people in durban, south africa, including a number of children whose bodies were pulled out from under a collapsed building. thousands of people have also been forced to flee their homes. south africa's president cyril ramaphosa has said climate change was making the weather wilder and less predictable.
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now on bbc news, wednesday in parliament. hello, and welcome to wednesday in parliament. coming up: as the leaders of the three main westminster parties attend the funeral of murdered journalist, lyra mckee, mps condemn the attack. it was a sickening throwback to the days that we thought we left behind 20 years ago. as her family have asked, we today say that we stand with lyra. also on this programme: tough questions for social media firms about what they do to protect people from harm online. and after the execution of 37 prisoners in saudi arabia, the lib dem leader calls for a reappraisal of the uk's
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relationship with the country. the continued mediaeval barbarism of this regime does not constitute the basis for a friendly alliance, and indeed makes it an enemy of our values. but first: theresa may, jeremy corbyn, and the snp's westminster leader, ian blackford, were all away from the commons for the day — all three had travelled to belfast to join mourners at the funeral of thejournalist, lyra mckee. she was shot dead by the republican group the new ira on thursday while observing rioting in londonderry‘s creggan estate. theresa may sat between the irish taoiseach leo varadkar and the president of ireland, michael d higgins. dup and sinn fein politicians also attended the service at st anne's cathedral in belfast. standing in for theresa may at prime minister's questions, david lidington led tributes in the commons. this was a brutal, cowardly murder of a young woman, a brilliant journalist who represented all that is good
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in northern ireland. and those responsible for her murder have nothing to offer anyone from any community in northern ireland. reading the statement from the so—called new ira last week with its talk of attacking enemy forces and its sincere condolences for lyra's death was a sickening throwback to the days we thought we'd left behind 20 years ago. from despicable individuals whose only desire is to turn back the clock and destroy the progress that has been made. so does the minister for the cabinet office agree with me — this is one of the central reasons that we must find an answer to the northern irish border question, rather than give these evil terrorists the divisions that they crave? i don't think that those murderers in derry were motivated by any thoughts about a border or about customs arrangements, important as those issues are.
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i think what the right honourable said that i wholly agreed with was the utter unacceptability of references to police officers in northern ireland, that they were somehow a legitimate target. i agree entirely with the sentiments expressed by the honourable gentleman, but can i bring him back to the issue of the border? because i agree with the ends that he's trying to achieve, but the fundamental problem remains the means. we all know that his own party and the dup will not accept the current backstop, that the only way the government plans to avoid that backstop is to deliver a so—called invisible border. but last week, we saw a leaked home office presentation stating that, and i quote, "no government worldwide currently has a system in place, current realisation for a technological solution in the uk is 2030. and there is currently no budget for either a pilot or for the programme itself. " so can the minister tell us, are the home office wrong?
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well, i'm not going to comment on alleged leaks from the government department. what i can say to the house is that the government has allocated £20 million to invest in work on alternative measures that would bring benefits in terms of seamless trade both to the border between northern ireland and ireland, but which if successful, more generally could be applied to give us smart borders on all the united kingdom's external borders, and perhaps offer us some export opportunities for that technology, as well. emily thornberry quoted the us speaker of the united states house of representatives, nancy pelosi, on a recent visit to northern ireland. who made it clear that if the uk government disrupted the open border in northern ireland, we could forget all about a free trade deal with the us. so the government will spend millions giving donald trump the red carpet, golden carriage treatment injune, and maybe the state banquet
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might even be worth it, so long as he is forced to sit next to greta thunberg! or how about this, if he has greta on one side and david attenborough on the other? that would be three hours well spent. but the truth is, mr speaker, that it will all be a giant waste of taxpayer money, because the us congress will never agree to a trade deal unless we have a solution for the irish border that will actually work. and this government simply doesn't have one. mr speaker, you know, it's just two short years ago that the right honourable lady said of donald trump, "we should welcome the american president. we have to work with him." i just wonder whether something has changed about the us administration, or whether something has changed about her own leadership ambitions to alter her words in this way now?
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emily thornberry said the firstjob of government was to keep its citizens safe. so if the government is serious about putting the country first, the whole of our country, will the minister for the cabinet office accept that that means finally getting serious about the cross party negotiations and putting the option of a customs union on the table? i can say that the substance and the tone of those conversations between the government team and the opposition team have been constructive — i think there is a genuine attempt to find a way through, but i won't hide the fact that this is very difficult. because if it is going to work, it will mean both parties need to make compromises, and us ending up with a solution that, unlike any other so far proposed, will get a majority in the house. the dup's westminster leader ended the session where it began,
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reflecting on the death of lyra mckee. in standing with lyra today, we stand with everyone — journalists, police officers, all who serve the community in northern ireland. an attack on any one of them is an attack on us all. david lidington said he agreed with every word of that. parliaments and legislatures across the world are in despair at the failure of social media firms to keep people safe. that was the message to facebook, twitter, and youtube from the chair of the home affairs committee, yvette cooper. she started by asking about the christchurch terror attack in march, which the killer broadcast live on facebook. there are reports in the new zealand media this morning that some of those videos are still available and have been found on facebook and youtube and instagram.
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given that you have all told us many times before about the systems that you have in place to take down terrorist material, why have your systems failed so badly in this case? we were able to remove the content of the video ten minutes after the video was flagged to us by new zealand law enforcement. but what we saw was over 800 variants of that video on the platform. within the first 24 hours, we were able to remove 1.5 million different copies, 1.2 at the initial stage of upload using our automated technology. he said people got round facebook‘s automated blocking systems by creating new versions of the video. automation isn't perfect. while it learns, it does have difficulty understanding different filters and angles of the same video, different use of audio technology. we realise this is an adversarial space, we don't want to make it
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hostile, but it is the case that as more variants come online, they may on our platform. this technology was developed years ago, and we have been raising this issue about people trying to game the system for years with you now. and that is why it is so hard to believe that this was so difficult for you still to deal with, and the way in which you talk about it suggests that this was just a new thing you had to deal with in the awful circumstances of christchurch. mr potts said the christchurch video was a new type of video. it's a first—person shooter video, one where we have someone using a gopro helmet with a camera focused from their perspective of the shooting. now if we had different angles where this was a third—party video that shows it, perhaps our systems would've been faster with this. because we have seen that content before, we have not seen the content from the actual angle of the shooter and the attacker in the situation. stephen doughty complained that the companies weren't dealing with far—right extremism online. my problem is i don't think you're even getting to the basics right
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in terms of the material used to radicalise those who can carry out such attacks in the first place. and when all three of your companies appeared before this committee some time ago, you all admitted that you were not proactively searching for other organisations, far—right, extreme right—wing, northern irish terrorist organisations and others. it was basically an admittal that the entire focus had been on islamist organisations. why did you have for so long an account on your site called @radioaryan that was providing links to the most disgusting anti—semetic, islamaphobic, homophobic, racist far—right content? why did you allow that account to exist? i'm aware of high—profile accounts and individuals on the platform, and when those accounts are reported to us, we take it very seriously and review those. well you didn't, because it took you weeks to remove @radioaryan when i reported it to you. we've now designated almost 100 white supremacist, nationalist, or separatist groups to date...
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but apparently not the daily stormer, which is one of the most well—known neo—nazi sites in the us? we have a number of ongoing assessments, as we do day in and day out. what i would say is that one of the challenges we have is that — they often talk about how you can't arrest your way out of a problem. for us, we have no interest in having violent extremist groups on our platform, but we can't ban our way out. ms cooper asked why youtube was recommending extreme content to people, which could radicalise them. i want to know what you are doing to stop your channel promoting further and further extremist material, and your channel and your algorithms effectively radicalising people? we have an approach which is very clear. so first and foremost, we look at the law. if the content is illegal, the content has to go down. if the content is against our policies, we enforce this policy — i agree that there are areas...
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you're recommending it, you're promoting it. at the end of the hearing, she said mps were raising the same issues time and again. i think you can see why parliaments across the world are despairing at your ability to do what you need to do to keep people safe. we usually value the work that social media companies do. but we need you to keep us safe, and you are not doing so. yvette cooper there. a foreign office minister has told mps the government "deplores" the execution of 37 prisoners in saudi arabia. sir alan duncan said the executions, which took place on tuesday, were "a deeply backward step". a statement by the saudi state media said the men had been charged with "adopting terrorist extremist ideology, forming terrorist cells" and harming the "peace and security of society". the liberal democrat leader, sir vince cable, asked an urgent
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question about the executions. three of the executed people were indeed juveniles, and possibly more. is he aware that in most of these cases, again in flagrant disregard for international law, most appear to have been tortured prior to the extraction of concessions? does he not accept that britain's moral position on this is somewhat compromised by the continued supply of arms, fuelling atrocities in the civil war in yemen? and that we are in urgent need of a reappraisal of our relationship with saudi arabia, given the fact that the continued mediaeval barbarism of this regime does not constitute the basis for a friendly alliance and makes it an enemy of our values and human rights? may i say that i very much do agree with the right honourable gentleman that this does raise the gravest
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imaginable concerns, and the executing 37 people is a deeply backward step which we deplore. in terms of our arms exports, i fully appreciate what the right honourable gentleman is saying. the kingdom of saudi arabia faces a number of threats. this issue of arms is notjust about using arms in yemen, but in respect of any arms export, we do ensure that those exports fully comply — excuse me — with the consolidated criteria which govern any such sales. labour's spokesperson gave graphic details of the killings. according to the official saudi press agency, the men were executed "for adopting terrorist and extremist thinking and for forming terrorist cells to corrupt and destabilise security". they were arrested after four islamic state gunmen attacked a saudi state compound in riyadh. but the saudi authorities have
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still not made clear whether those arrested were linked to the attacks. publicly pinning one of the headless bodies to a pole as a warning is not only disturbingly barbaric and mediaeval in nature, but is also an important violation of human rights. we really do genuinely disapprove in the strongest possible terms what has happened, particularly when it is reported that one of them was displayed on a cross, something that anyone in this house just a few days after easter will find more repulsive than anything we could picture. but we also have to be sure of our facts. i think we need to find out directly what precisely were the supposed crimes, what was the due process that was used. we've been here ratherfrequently to discuss human rights violations, what's happening in yemen, the murder of mr khashoggi has been raised. and when we raise it and talk about arms sales and our relations, we are told that we have influence.
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it is difficult to see that influence at the moment, mr speaker. this is an ally whose behaviour is as bad, if not worse than most of the regimes around the globe that we would regard as hostile. i guess that ordinary constituents listening to this and reacting to the barbarism will want to know, is there a bottom line? is there a point at which this becomes a friendship not worth having? i think the honourable gentleman is right to point out that there is a moral dilemma here. and all moral dilemmas are never a choice between black and white, they are a choice between different shades of grey. and there is deep murkiness here, which we do not like. sir alan duncan. you're watching wednesday in parliament, with me, alicia mccarthy.
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don't forget you can follow me on twitter @bbcalicia. now back to prime minister's questions, where the snp's deputy westminster leader kirsty blackman called on the government to reverse "damaging policies" on energy and the environment. the call came a day after swedish teenage activist, greta thunberg, met uk politicians to urge them to do more to tackle climate change. in a speech, she criticised the uk for supporting new exploitation of fossil fuels and exaggerating cuts to carbon emissions. kirsty blackman took up some of those accusations with david lidington. climate change is the biggest crisis facing the world today. even the environment secretary has admitted that his government has failed to do enough. yesterday, he promised that the uk
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government would take action. mr speaker, this government has spent millions on nuclear power, cut support for renewable energy, and continue to pursue fracking. so does taking action include reversing these damaging policies? there is clearly more that needs to be done, and probably all of us of an age here would recognise that our generations have not done sufficient to meet this challenge. but i think the honourable lady underestimates how much work has been done by the united kingdom. i mean, since 2010, we've reduced c02 emissions faster than any other g20 nation. between 2010—2018, we've reduced greenhouse gas emissions by about a quarter overall. our renewable energy capacity has quadrupled since 2010, and the proportion of our electricity coming from low carbon resources has increased from 19% to more than half in 2018, a record year for renewables. there's a lot more to do, but i think it's a good record on which to base that future action.
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david lidington. government ministers have denied reports the chinese telecoms firm, huawei, will be involved in developing the uk's new 56 data network. they have said that no decision has been made. the united states has been pressing for the other members of the "five eyes" intelligence network the uk, canada, australia and new zealand to exclude the firm because of potential security risks. but before travelling to china, the chancellor appeared not to rule out its involvement when he appeared before a group of mps. it is essential that we get the balance right, ensuring that our networks are built in a way that is secure against interference from whatever sorts.
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but also our debacle are competitive. we need to build a huge amount of 56 infrastructure in our country, if we are going to have a fully digitised economy able to support artificial intelligence, the internet, and autonomous vehicles on our roads. you ultimately come down in favour of the security of the network? it's important that the expert advice should be listened to? of course security is important, and where expert advice tells us that the only way that we can ensure security is to take a certain course of action, even if that course of action is economically painful, we would normally need to take it. but where our security experts tell us that there are ways in which we can maintain security, whether it is through networks or installations that avoid the most economically costly outcomes,
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that we should look very carefully at those options. but mps kept up the questioning at question time in the commons chamber. it has been reported that the prime minister has given huawei the green light to build the uk's 5g network against the ministers and our security service's wishes. yet huawei have themselves said that it will take up to five years to secure their equipment. so why does the government have more confidence than huawei in their ability to safely and securely build our 5g network? as i said in response to her honourable friend, the member for barnsley, the security and resilience of our telecommunications network is of paramount importance in every decision the government takes on these matters. we have undertaken a very thorough review of the entire 5g supply chain. that is designed to ensure that we can roll out 5g in a way that is secure and resilient. we will announce our decisions about that to this house in due course.
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the telecommunications firm huawei is intimately linked with the chinese communist government and its deeply hostile intelligence services. the department for digital, culture, media, and sport has counseled a very wide—ranging review of this. we are giving priority to stronger cyber practises against the entire sector, and critically, diversity in the entire supply chain for 5g because this question goes beyond any single company. when we take in decisions about that review, we will announce them to the house in the proper way. david lidington. if the government can't get a brexit deal through in the next few weeks, the uk looks set to take part in european elections on 23 may, electing members for the european parliament. at question time in the lords, a conservative thought that people would find that pretty astonishing.
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the trust is already shaky in the parliament, and politicians will be further harmed. what action the government will do to bolster that trust before it completely disappears? replying, lord young quoted something lord robathan said last month. i have no idea what will happen, and i will not predict. it is very unwise if one does. and i think he was... laughter. and i think he was right, but on a more constructive... laughter. on a more constructive note to my noble friend, i am as anxious as he is on holding the european elections. and with that injected in mind, i believe you will have more leverage with the european research group than i have. laughter. so perhaps he could persuade those who have so far declined to do so to back the deal so we have a better chance to call off the election?
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it is rather rich that brexiteers don't like the democracy which the european elections incorporate, having always claimed that the eu is undemocratic. could the cabinet office undertake to do two things — one is to alert eu citizens living in this country that they will be able to vote on that day, if they are registered by eight may? and could for the government, for example, go to those on the list and remind them of that? and could the government also ensure that the other 27 governments alert british citizens in their country who are residents that they will be able to vote in that country on those election days? i entirely agree with the noble baroness. it is important that eu citizens in european countries are fully franchised and can take part in the european elections if they take place. finally, the commons speaker, john bercow, has confirmed that the conservative mp chris davies will face a recall petition following his conviction
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for submitting false expense claims. mr davies was ordered to complete 50 hours of community service and fined £1,500 after he pleaded guilty at westminster magistrates' court last month. and i will accordingly be writing to the relevant petition officer to inform that person that chris davies is therefore subject to a recall petition process. it will be for that officer to make the arrangements for the petition. john bercow. and that's it from me for now, but do join me at the same time tomorrow for another round up of the day at westminster. but for now from me, alicia mccarthy, goodbye.
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hello again. uk forecast in just a moment but first of all we are off to mozambique where it looks like we've got another weather—related disaster on the way. another cyclone, this is cyclone kenneth, picking up strength and it's going to make landfall thursday afternoon in northern mozambique and bringing you through five days of forecast here, you can see the problem. once the storm has made landfall, it stops moving and we will see torrential falls of rain in the same area day after day. we could be seeing, getting on for a metre of rain over coming days combined with a storm surge 2—4 metres high which could bring coastal inundation and looks like we will see another round of devastating flooding across mozambique, particularly in the north of the country. here in the uk, our weather has changed. it's turned a bit cooler, we've got unsettle weather over the next few days with rain
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or showers but also temperatures have eased over recent days. it will feel cooler as we head into this weekend combined with strengthening winds as well. now, today we'll start off with some reasonable weather around. in scotland and northern ireland, a bit of brightness or sunshine first thing. showers across england and wales from the word go push northwards. in terms of being cloudy, the showers get heavy with hail and thunder mixed in. some of those downpours will be quite lengthy as well as they drive their way northwards. in the south, perhaps turning a bit lighter today, a bit more sunshine, temperatures down on recent days, 13—16 degrees and quite a breezy day coming up, really. going through thursday evening and overnight, further wet weather for scotland, showers working in across parts of western england, and wales, perhaps some lengthier spells of rain through northern ireland through thursday night and into the early part of friday morning. friday, on the face of it, although it's quite unsettled again, there'll be some bigger gaps between the showers and perhaps some more in the way of sunshine
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for particularly eastern areas of scotland for a time, but it's not completely dry, you will see some further showers moving in through the afternoon. some of these are likely to be heavy and potentially quite lengthy in places. gusty winds around too. temperatures 13—15 degrees celsius and then through friday night and into the weekend, we see this area of low pressure diving southwards, tightly squeezed isobars, it's going to be a windy spell of weather. the strongest winds of this stage, targeting probably south—west england. gusts 60, 65 miles per hour, something like that. outbreaks of rain, widespread, and it's going to feel quite cold, notjust on account of those strong winds, heavy rain but also those temperatures. we'll be looking at highs of between 10 and 13 degrees. you can forget the 25 we had a few days ago.
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welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: top sri lankan officials lose theirjobs over the intelligence failures before sunday's attacks, as new details emerge about the bombers. a guard of honourfor the north korean leader as he arrives in russia. the first ever summit between kim jong—un and vladimir putin gets underway in an hour's time. heavy rain and floods kill at least 60 people in durban, south africa, thousands more are forced to flee their homes. prince william takes part in anzac day commemorations in auckland as new zealand, australia and turkey honour their fallen.


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