welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. i'm reged ahmad. our top stories: voting is underway in australia — prime minister scott morrison is hoping to hang on to thejob, against a challenger from the left. these are live pictures from sydney, after a close—run election contest climate policy became the defining campaign issue. the us and canada agree to drop tariffs on steel and aluminium imports after lengthy negotiations, opening the way for a new trade deal. a united front. populist far right parties prepare for the upcoming european elections. gearing up for eurovision, hot favourites sweden and switzerland rehearse for the 64th song contest in tel aviv.
polls have opened in australia in a general election to choose the country's sixth prime minister, in as many years. a tight race is predicted in the fierce political battleground of its federal politics — with climate change, the economy and immigration among the major issues. a record 96.8% of eligible voters are enrolled to cast their ballot. voting is compulsory and more than 4 million people have voted early. facing a tough fight to stay in hisjob, is the incumbent prime minister scott morrison of the liberal party. he took over the top job in august 2018 after the party ousted
malcolm turnbull mid—term. standing against him is bill shorten of the labor party. he's been opposition leader since 2013. currently, the liberal party holds 58 seats of 150 in the country's lower house. they're in coalition with the national party which holds an extra 16 seats. labor currently has 69 seats. they would need 76 seats if they were to form a government. phil mercer has been speaking to voters at the australia street polling station at sydney. voting here in australia is compulsory. and this is the australia street polling station in the seat of sydney. this is very safe they've territory and opinion polls are suggesting a victory for the opposition, labor party. 16 million australians will have their
say in this election. the two major parties are presenting a very different vision for the future. the governing centre—right liberal national coalition says that the opposition can't be trusted with money and can't be trusted to manage the economy. 0n the other side of the economy. 0n the other side of the ledger, we have the labour opposition led by bill shorten, a former trade unionist and he is saying that he will spend billions on health and education. even speaking to voters here and this is what they've had to say. speaking to voters here and this is what they've had to saylj speaking to voters here and this is what they've had to say. i am a nurse by trade, on the front line we see a lot of change, especially a co nsta nt see a lot of change, especially a constant change of the government policies. we have to enact them, it's important to me that we have a government that supports the healthcare government that supports the healthca re system government that supports the healthcare system and our educational institutions. and that they do well for the community of oui’ they do well for the community of our supposed to serve. for me, climate. public education, health,. how do you think the major parties
are tracking when it comes to those concerns? i think the present government isn't tracking. so, for me, labour certainly seems like it isa me, labour certainly seems like it is a good option. one of the features of an australian election is the famous sausage sizzle, the democracy sausage is the famous sausage sizzle, the democracy sausage that helps sustain voters while they are waiting in the queue to vote. this particular barbecue at a school here in sydney expects to raise about $6,000 for the school during this election day and not only sausages but big on sausages too. so never underestimate the power of the democracy sausage. i actually came to this particular polling booth because they have quite a gourmet democracy sausage. it has rocket, home—made sauerkraut, what more could a voter want? polling stations close at 6pm here in australia, results will be flowing in shortly afterwards.
within a few hours australians will know who the next prime minister will be. well i'm joined live now by phil mercer. in sydney for us, why has climate change become such a major issue? this summer just gone change become such a major issue? this summerjust gone was the hottest ever documented here in australia in 2018, it was the third warmest year on record as well for stops a re warmest year on record as well for stops are certainly australians are seeing some stops are certainly australians are seeing some very warm stops are certainly australians are seeing some very warm conditions and that really has focused the minds in many ways of not only voters that also the political parties too. authoritative surveys in this country have pointed to climate change being the number one concern for many, many voters. the lower institute an independent think tank in sydney says recently that
two—thirds of australian voters thought climate change was the number one concern for the country ahead of national terrorism and north korea's nuclear programme. suddenly, climate change is very much a concern here but when you look at the campaign over the last five weeks, it has been clear that the major parties have been concentrating on the economy. they believe that economic management is the key to this election so now of course, all of those millions of australians are now having their say at the bella box was not so, what other pulsing in terms of who we think might win and when will we start to see some exit polling? for a very long time now, opinion polls have in a lot of them, it suggests the labour party under bill shorten is on course to win the selection and the last 21148 hours. we have
been seeing a narrowing of the gap between labour and the centre—right that will national coalition but those opinion polls are still indicating that labour is on track to win this election as we had earlier, polls close here in eastern australia in about seven hours time so australia in about seven hours time so it's still a lot of alert to getting to be done to endow and then. results will take an hour or two to start filtering through, we have seen about four and a half million australians vote before today in what's known here as pre— polling. that could delay the final results, if the election is very, very tight room i don't get out result tonight at all. so these things are very difficult to addictive course, but if you look over previous elections, by the end of today, we should know who has one and he was crying into their beer. all eyes on australia, thank you so much.
breaking news now, and a sales president nicholas madero has sent envoys to norway this week to explore dialogue with the opposition. the aim of building a peaceful agenda, it is not clear if any direct talks took place was not as you have been hearing, venezuela is in the middle of a power struggle, it has seen weeks of protest was up it appeared that breaking news. venice far less president says it and why husband sent to norway to try and explore some sort of peace with the opposition of the back of many weeks of protest and disturbances in venice relevance to —— venezuela. the united states and canada have agreed to drop tariffs on steel and aluminium imports imposed just under a year ago. it follows lengthy negotiations and a telephone call on friday between president trump and the canadian prime minister, justin trudeau. it could pave the way for the ratification of a new north american
trade agreement. president trump wrote the news that he was lifting tariffs on metal imports from neighbours mexico and canada ina imports from neighbours mexico and canada in a speech in washington, dc. we have just reached an agreement with canada and mexico that will be selling a product into those countries without the imposition of tariffs or major tariffs. president trump imposed ta riffs tariffs. president trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports last months bidding the us against all its major trading partners including the european union. lifting them in regards to mexico and canada. his expected to pave the way to the ratification of the united states mexico canada agreement. the trilateral
replacement for nafta. this is a represented significant barriers to moving forward with the new agreement. now it had a full lived on this tariffs, we are going to work with the united states on timing for ratification but we're very optimistic we're going to be able to move forward, move forward well in the coming weeks. the us has also announced a pause and plans to levy tariffs of up to 25% on cars and car parts from the eu and japan. those tariffs on steel and aluminium remain. president trump is giving negotiators at six months in which to reach agreement. he believes foreign competition is hurting us car sales and hampering research and development amounts to a threat to us national security. while it pushes forward with the trade deal poster home, the trump
administration is holding the it with china. this week china announced retaliatory tariffs against the us and the next round of negotiation between the world ‘s two largest economies are said to be in flux. mr trump has also declared a national emergency to protect us computer networks from foreign adversaries, an announcement by the thought to be directed at the chinese telecoms giant. with china and the us locked in an escalating trade war, america may feel it needs its allies and someone saying peace on the trade frontier might even strengthened the president ‘s hand in negotiations with the chinese. i'm joined now by phil levy, a senior fellow at the chicago council for global affairs, specialising in the global economy. thank you so much for your time was a festival, can you take us through what the effect of these tariffs have been between canada and the us?
it has really frayed relations between the countries. it has had a direct economic effect, canada was the number one supplier of both aluminium and steel to the united states and the retaliation was targeted at states and regions where the politically... you're breaking up the politically... you're breaking up little bit, but let'sjust the politically... you're breaking up little bit, but let's just keep going and see where we are. these tariffs, if they have been agreed to be dropped, what is the effect is going to be then? is this going to improve things? it will certainly improve things? it will certainly improve relations. it was a necessary condition to get the new nafta agreement the congress was not picked is not sufficient, i don't think it's enough to get it through that it had to be done and there we re that it had to be done and there were strong bipartisan pressure to do it was not what is it tells about
the relationship between canada and the relationship between canada and the us because there was a moment when donald trump antagonistic towards president trudeau. i don't know that it is warm that significantly. this is something of a truce. it would be nice if this we re a truce. it would be nice if this were a thaw in relations but i'm not sure there is a new friendship to be found between the two presidents. we have lost you again butjust to ask this question again, people are talking about the drop in tariffs paving away to a new free trade agreement, is that? because you had both democrats and republicans say if the tariffs were still in place, nothing was going to happen on the new agreement. republicans have welcomed this as clearing the path and now we are ready, the response from democrats was much more cautious. thank you so much for your
time. let's get some of the day's other news. sudanese protesters have gathered outside the army's headquarters after clearing roadblocks at the demand of the ruling military. talks to finalise the new body to govern sudan were suspended on wednesday after demonstrators put up roadblocks. this comes after the ouster of president 0mar al—bashir last month. international powers including the un have called for an immediate resumption of talks between the two sides. this is the 13th demonstration in a very nigeria, it was ousted last month, the presidential elections are due to be held injuly although the newsagency is reporting there might be delayed for distractor stop at least nine people have died and another 84 have been been injured in inter—community
violence in the ivory coast. fighting has flared in the past few days between tribes at beoumi, a town in the centre of the country. inter—community violence is common in the ivory coast, a country with several dozen ethnicities among its 25 million inhabitants. rohingya refugees in bangladesh have been issued with their first ever identity cards. more than a quarter of a million people have been registered by the un which says the cards will safeguard the rights of the refugees when they return to myanmar. rohingya muslims are a minority in rakhine who are denied myanmar citizenship and face severe restrictions. two german newspapers have published footage purportedly showing the austrian deputy chancellor discussing state contracts with a potential russian backer in return for political support. heinz—christian strache is the head of the far—right freedom party, which became a junior partner in a coalition with the conservatives in december 2017 after winning 26 percent of the votes in the elections.
in a few days time the european elections will take place — with polls suggesting possible big gains for nationalist parties across the continent. ahead of the vote — a rally is taking place in milan — where representatives from many of these groups will be in attendance. the bbc‘s tim allman reports. they have become the leading figures of the pop list far right. —— populist. critics accused them of racism and bigotry. they say they represent those left behind in a europe is changing all too fast. matteo salvini, italy's controversial interior minister, wa nts controversial interior minister, wants them to work together and fight back. translation: finally, i can't wait. they will be the europe of hope, a changing europe, the europe of the future, compared to angela merkel‘s europe of finance. and macron, they will be at least 11
delegations. those that have joined up delegations. those that have joined up to now. many others are giving the support from other countries. therefore we make history. another party hoping to make gains is germany's afd. a united front is by no means a sure thing. these groups do not agree on everything. but there is one subject where they are as one. translation: i believe that migration policies overall are the big issue, because there is widespread awareness of this kind of uncontrolled mass immigration into the eu, which is gradually destroying our society. you will find this in italy, in france, in blustery and with us. there is a connection, yes, no question about it. -- in connection, yes, no question about it. —— in austria. connection, yes, no question about it. -- in austria. the signs talk about saving the homeland. that may be the aim. but by doing so they could transform the european union.
the victory in the election would be a start. of course, we will have full coverage of those european elections here on bbc news and our very elections here on bbc news and our very own elections here on bbc news and our very own ros atkins will be at that rally. we will bring you more here on bbc during the week. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: will europe go dutch and hand the netherlands their first eurovision victory in 44 years? all eyes are on this weekend's song contest in tel aviv. this morning an indian air force the plane carrying mr gandhi's body landed in delhi. the president of india walked to the plane to solemnly witness mr gandhi's final return from the political battlefield. ireland has voted overwhelmingly in favour of gay marriage. in doing so it has become the first
country in the world to approve the change in a national referendum. it was a remarkable climax to what was surely the most extraordinary funeral ever given to a pop singer. it has been a peaceful funeral demonstration so far but suddenly the police are tear gassing the crowd. we don't yet know why. the pre—launch ritual is well established here. helen was said to be in good spirits butjust a little apprehensive. in the last hour, east timor has become the world's newest nation. it was a bloody birth for a poor country and the challenges ahead are daunting but for now, at least, it is time to celebrate. this is bbc news, the latest headlines: the polls open in australia after a close—run election contest where climate policy became the defining campaign issue.
the us and canada agree to drop tariffs on steel and aluminium imports after lengthy negotiations. the governor of the us state of missouri says he'll sign into law a bill which severely limits women's access to abortion. doctors could face up to 15 years in prison for performing the procedure, after eight weeks of pregnancy. the bill was overwhelmingly approved by the republican—led legislature, but sparked fierce criticism from democrats who say an abortion is a woman's "constitutional right." chris buckler is watching events from washington. we spend so much time talking about how divided american politics are. i don't think there is any issue which is more divisive and emotive than abortion. certainly when you take a look at republicans and president trump's base support, there are many evangelical christians among them who feel very strongly that this law should be challenged and changed. they want to see it in the supreme court, partly because the supreme court has changed. newjustices have been appointed by president trump and there is now a conservative majority in the court. they believe they can potentially change the law which offers abortion
to women right across america. there is a backlash as well, coming from others. they feel very strongly that some effort should be taken to challenge the states. in georgia, there are television film production companies which have said they will not film there. that industry is very important to this state. this weekend there is a music festival taking place in alabama and there are calls for a boycott. it gives you a sense there is a real battle taking place between conservatives and liberals which will feed into 2020. i am not saying it will be settled in 2020, but you can be sure that in that election it will be discussed and strongly debated. there's an ancient legend dating back to england's king charles ii that if the ravens that live at the tower of london ever leave the tower will crumble, and the kingdom will fall. so it's come as something of a relief that, for the first time
in 30 years, the tower has welcomed four new arrivals. chris skaife, whose been the ravenmaster at the tower of london for 13 years, says he feels "like a proud father." early morning, late february, i went around to the enclosure and they were being quite protective. i wondered why. within 2a hours they had built this huge nest, and that's when i realised something spectacular was going to happen. we had a vision to produce ravens for ourselves for the future and so we needed to find a quietarea. i identified a little area in the moat where the ravens could do the natural thing. and luckily, we got four beautiful, magnificent chicks out of it. i was totally surprised, to be honest. i didn't know.
i was like, oh, they're there! i saw the female raven starting to sit on the nest and i realised we had chicks. i couldn't see how many we had, or how many eggs, because we hadn't prepared, we didn't have any cameras or anything like that, because we didn't think they were going to breed. they did, and it's fantastic. we had not had a breeding ravens here at the tower of london for nearly 30 years. the last one was born in1989, and it was called ronald raven. ifeel like a proud dad. somebody called me a proud granddad today, which i'm not too happy about, actually. i think poppy's trying to bite my ankle. it's being described as the most controversial eurovision song contest ever held.
the finals are taking place in israel on saturday night, but pro—palestinian campaigners have called for a boycott of the 64th contest, david sillito reports. welcome to the eurovision song contest 2019. israel, and the week—long eurovision party is now in full swing. live from tel aviv, israel. but remember, all this is happening against a background of considerable political tension on the border with gaza, which raises issues of security. will there be protests and also, will people turn up? as you can see, the crowds are here, but even among some of the entrants, there are questions. # svallid var homlulaust... this is iceland's hatari, and they have qualms about israel, but have been told "no politics", on or off stage. we've been warned. we've been told we reached the limit of the ebu's tolerance regarding politics.
but at the same time, we're told they can't change our views. indeed, eurovision bosses were today making their position more than clear. if a competitor staged a protest, what would you do? well, we would intervene immediately. we have very strict rules and policies. you'd shut the performance down? yeah, for sure we'd be shutting it down, and they would be punished afterwards. meanwhile, the first brief glimpse of madonna. after a week of doubts, one eurovision insider is now confident that she will perform. i have heard madonna's voice in that arena, and it wasn't a cd. you're confident, saturday night? i'm quietly confident. i'd put a shekel or two on it. david sillito, bbc news, tel aviv.
and that finalfor and that final for eurovision will begin at nine o'clock central european time on saturday. stay with us european time on saturday. stay with us here on bbc news. much of this week has been gloriously sunny, dry and reasonably warm. things turned a bit cloudier and cooler later on friday. this was a picture taken by one of our weather watchers in mepham in kent. a bit of sunshine across scotland. through the course of the weekend the sunshine will be in shorter supply. quite an unsettled showery story. some sunny spells, especially across parts of the uk. scotland will see the bulk of the rain on saturday morning because we have got this frontal system, fairly weak front coming and which is introducing a lot of low cloud, mist and fog as well. outbreaks of rain across parts of scotland. a soggy start to saturday here. patchy rain affecting parts of northern ireland. a few showers popping up for northern england. further south, dry weather through the morning, but you'll notice too,
one or two of those showers just bubbling up in the afternoon. nowhere immune to catching a passing shower. in the afternoon. it will be hit and miss, some sunshine in between. temperatures in the south likely to hit 19 also. further north, just 13 or 1a celsius. a different feeling in scotland compared to what we have seen in the past few days. moving through into the early hours of sunday morning, quite a lot of cloud in general across the country, particularly cloudy in the north and patchy outbreaks of rain to scotland and northern ireland. drier further south and we're looking at a frost—free night with temperatures generally holding up into mid—single figures. so this is how we are heading into the second half of the weekend for sunday. a big area of low pressure across central parts of europe. we're drawing in the breeze around that. a bit of an easterly flow bringing that cloud off the north sea to parts of eastern scotland. eastern england could see one or two showers popping up, and some patchy rain moving into western scotland and northern ireland. during the afternoon, more of these showers tending to bubble up. you will really notice that mix of sunny spells, scattered blustery showers, one or two on the heavy side,
could be heavy hail and the odd rumble of thunder. a bit warmer, 20 degrees or so the top temperature by the time we get to sunday. heading on into the new working week, and there's not a great change in the pressure set—up. we've still got a bit of a slack flow, things not moving very quickly, patchy cloud around, some sunshine i think through the day on monday, and a lot of dry weather in the morning but again, it will be the afternoon with the daytime heating we see those showers developing, particularly in eastern scotland and eastern england during the day on monday. temperatures not too bad. 14—20 degrees or so. the outlook is fairly settled through the week ahead. some showers around and spells of sunshine. temperatures typically 15—20 degrees. goodbye for now.
this is bbc news, the headlines. australians are voting in a tightly fought general election which could see the opposition labor party regain power. labor — led by bill shorten — has had a slender lead in opinion polls over the conservative liberal party of the current prime minister, scott morrison. the united states and canada have agreed to drop tariffs on steel and aluminium imports imposed just under a year ago. it follows lengthy negotiations. it could pave the way for the ratification of a new north american trade agreement. venezuela's president nicolas maduro has said he sent envoys to norway this week to explore dialogue with the opposition. he said it was with the aim of building a peaceful agenda, but it's not clear if any direct talks took place. venezuela is in the middle of a power struggle between mr maduro and juan guaido that's seen weeks of street protests.