a very warm welcome to bbc news. my name is mike embley. our top stories: australia's cardinal pell to remain injail as his appeal is dismissed. wildfires in the amazon at an all—time high — more than 70,000 blazes across the region. syrian rebels are forces from a key stronghold, as government troops and russian forces continue an offensive in the north of the country. and president trump plays down fears of a recession but confirms he is considering tax cuts. cardinal george pell,
the most senior catholic found guilty of sexually abusing children, has failed in his legal attempt to quash his conviction. an appeal court hearing in australia has rejected his argument that the verdict was unfair. the former vatican treasurer was jailed in march, for 6 years, for abusing 2 boys in a melbourne cathedral in the 1990s. chrissie foster is the mother of two girls who were raped by another catholic priest. she campaigns on behalf of the victims of sexual violence and was in court when the appeal was dismissed. it has been upheld, this rape of a child — of two children. it's...it doesn't happen often. you know, it always just gets overturned. all the appeals, half of them usually win. it's a hard climb to get a conviction in the first place. hardly anyone comes forward and this has been an outstanding example of justice and. . .just amazed.
the bbc‘s phil mercer was in court and has the latest. as it stands he has to serve a minimum sentence of three years and eight months — that take him through into his early 80s. that would take him through into his early 80s. the big unknown in all of this, of course, mike, is whether george pell‘s defence team will take their case to the highest court in the land, australia's high courts in canberra, whether they will be allowed to, whether there are grounds for another appeal in this court case. and thejudgement handed down here, in the victorian court of appeal, was a split decision by the three judges but two of those judges did say they agreed with the prosecution's assertion did say that they agreed with the prosecution's assertion that the victim this case, the surviving victim in this case, was a very credible witness. and in the words of the courts,
"the witness was clearly not a liar, was not a fantasist, and was a witness of truth." so those words there from the chiefjustice anne ferguson, really getting to the heart of why cardinal george pell‘s appeal has been dismissed here in australia this morning. give us more on the background to this case, could you? cardinal george pell once upon a time it was one of the most powerful catholic figures in the world. he was a close adviser to pope francis. and this case here today was one of the most eagerly—awaited legal decisions we have seen in australia for quite some time. last december, a jury convicted george pell of abusing two choirboys, aged 13, in a cathedral here in melbourne, in the late 1990s, when george pell was the archbishop of melbourne. in march, george pell
was jailed for six years. injune, there was a two—day appeal, and now we find ourselves here today with the court of appeal in victoria dismissing george pell‘s appeal so he will be heading back to continue that prison sentence that was handed down in march. let's get some of the day's other news: president trump has tweeted that he is postponing a meeting with the danish prime minister because she's not interested in discussing the sale of greenland to the united states. she had already described the president's suggestion as absurd, and said she hoped he wasn't being serious. the trump administration has approved a potential $8 billion sale of f—16 fighter aircraft to taiwan. the sale would involve 66 warplanes — the largest such transaction in decades. the proposed deal has been sent to congress for its consideration.
manchester united has condemned the racist abuse directed at their midfielder paul pogba after he missed a penalty last night, in their 1—all draw with wolverhampton wanderers. he is the third player in england to receive such abuse in the past week, for missing a penalty. wildfires raging in the amazon rainforest have hit a record number this year, with over seventy thousand detected so far by brazil's space research centre, as concerns grow over right—wing president jair bolsonaro‘s environmental policy. the surge marks an eighty three per cent increase over the same period last year, and is the highest since records began in 2013. earlier this week brazil's president jair bolsanaro fired the head of the agency monitoring brazil's amazon deforestation. ricardo galvao‘s told reporters why he thought he lost his job. translation: there are various reasons and one is the president's own attitude. he does not like being pestered and does not like being
contradicted. live now to washington dc and anna prusa, an associate of the brazil institute, at the wilson centre. anna i know you are working on a report on climate change and sustainability in brazil. how serious would you say this problem is? it is quite serious. as you mentioned, wildfires are up 83% compared to last year and this is a problem not just because compared to last year and this is a problem notjust because the forest fires cause a pollution but it is indicative of the fact that deforestation itself has increased dramatically since last year. tell me if this is unfair, there is a sense that the president is notjust turning a blind eye to this but is encouraging it? he has certainly expressed in his words and policy that deforestation is not one of his concerns and has expressed out about climate change and the need for action on this front. i think what
this has created is a sense that the government is not going to enforce its policies and regulations and so those who are engaged in illegal deforestation feel they are not going to be caught, they are not going to be caught, they are not going to be punished and they are emboldened to continue this. what is to be done if anything? it is really quite challenging. a lot of talk in an international community about what can be done and talk within the brazil, within the government, within the private sector, within society. broad recognition that deforestation resulting in these fires, is a serious problem. the challenge is having built the consensus, to tackle the problem. brazil is facing many critical domestic issues of its own right 110w. domestic issues of its own right now. the concern must be we are reaching some kind of tipping point?
yes stop scientists have found through extensive research and modelling that, if we reach 20% 25% deforestation and the embers on is at 18%, once we hit 20%, 25%, could create the cycle that deforestation itself produces less rain and that leads to the embers on becoming drier, trees dying, and this creates the self reinforcing cycle that could actually cause deforestation to worsen. typically, the president disappears the data and he sacked the man in charge of the agency monitoring it. is there any doubt about the data ? monitoring it. is there any doubt about the data? no, brazil has excellent scientists and some of the best technology in the world and i have been monitoring through satellite for years and the data is widely respected and it is
u nfortu nate widely respected and it is unfortunate that the data presented simply does not match with what the president is prioritising. this is what we think is behind his dismissal of the data but brazil's science is truly exceptional and they have been stressing for years that this is critical and needs to happen now, not just that this is critical and needs to happen now, notjust for the world's climate but also for brazil. brazil is incredibly dependent on the embers on —— dependent on the embers on. amazon on. pro-government forces in syria have taken control of a city, idlib. they have also lost
territory in neighbouring areas. this is a big moment anything syria conflict. after heavy bombardment, they have regrouped. as they date described. syrian airstrikes continued on tuesday, including in a town where members of the white helmets have been searching through the rubble. tens of thousands of people have fled the region in recent months stop many stay behind, some tragically. last year, a deal struck between pro— regime and a turkey was supposed to create a buffer zone to protect civilians in idlib. however bombardment have
escalated with hundreds of civilians killed and the key turkish observation point has been and so god. this is a critical battleground in the civil war —— and so—called. this is the last stronghold of rebel 01’ this is the last stronghold of rebel orjihad as fighters. now it is almost entirely surrounded by russia back forces. recapturing the town is a priority because it sits on the main supply route between damascus and aleppo. triggered by the brutal repression of anti—government protests, more than 370,000 people have died in syria's civil war. un peace talks have failed to stop the bloodshed and without a solution of 3 million people are relying on humanitarian assistance. syrian have been displaced multiple times. ——
syrians. and he had for the last 100 days, that has been on a daily basis, airstrikes, ground offensives happening on places with schools, markets, residential areas. turkey hasissued markets, residential areas. turkey has issued a stern warning not to play with fire after one of its military convoy was hit by an airstrike but the syrian regime has been making sweeping gains since russia joined the conflict in 2015 and, on the cusp of recapturing the town, president aside will be keen town, president aside will be keen to continue. —— president assad. the european union has categorically rejected british demands to re—open neogiations on its brexit deal. officials say london isn't proposing any realistic alternatives.
prime minister boris johnson is to meet the german chancellor angela merkel on wednesday. he had written to european leaders, claiming the so—called backstop in the deal, intended to prevent the return of a hard border in ireland, is anti—democratic and must be replaced. but he'd failed to specify other options. i think there is a real sense that something needs to be done with this backstop. we can't get it through parliament as it is so i'm going to go at it very, very, um, with a lot of umph, as you would expect, and i will be making some progress in the course of the next few weeks. but, clearly, one thing that slightly, i think, complicates the picture, is that our eu friends still clearly think that there is a possibility that parliament will block brexit and, as long as they think there is a possibility that parliament will block brexit, they are unlikely to be minded to make the concessions that we need so it's going to take a bit of patience. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: tour space with virgin galactic next year, but don't expect
change from $250,000. washington, the world's most political city, is today assessing the political health of the world's most powerful man. indeed i did have a relationship with ms lewinsky that was not appropriate. in fact, it was wrong. in south africa, 97 people have been killed today, in one of the worst days of violence between rival black groups. over the past ten days, 500 have died. chanting: czechoslovakia must be free! czechoslovakia must be free! chanting: czechoslovakia must be free! russia is observing a national day of mourning for the 118 submariners who died on board the kursk. we are all with them now, within our hearts. the pope has celebrated mass before a congregation of more than 2.5 million people in his hometown of krakow. "stay with us, stay with us," chanted this ocean of humanity. "well, well," joked the pope,
"so you want me to desert rome?" welcome back. good to have you with us on welcome back. good to have you with us on bbc news. the latest headlines: australia's court of appeal has dismissed cardinal george pell‘s appeal against his conviction for sexually abusing children. he is the most senior catholic official to be found guilty of the crime. a record number of wildfires have raged across the amazon this year with 70,000 already detected. concern is growing over brazilian president jair bolsonaro's environment policy. the trump administration is playing down the widespread talk of a possible recession. mr trump sees a strong economy as key to his re—election prospects next year. at the white house on tuesday, he again suggested boosting the economy with a temporary cut to the payroll taxes deducted from the wages of american
workers to finance health insurance, social security and pensions. and once more, he attacked the central bank for not cutting interest rates, accusing the federal reserve of holding back growth. if the fed would do itsjob, i think it would have a tremendous spurt of growth, a tremendous spurt. the fed is, psychologically, very important. less so, actually, but very psychologically important. and if the fed would do itsjob, which it's really done very poorly over the last 1.5 years, you would see a burst of growth like you've never seen before. the president has also said we are a long way from recession. the whole idea is manufactured by his enemies and the media. economics professor barry eichengreen of university of california reacted to the president. i say they would be no rationale for cutting taxes at this point if the economy was healthy. so, i think we have to infer what the president really thinks is happening to the economy
from his policy proposals. the lights are flashing yellow and his proposal to cut taxes indicates that they realise this in the white house. so, just to be clear, the very fact that he is talking about what he is talking about suggests that he knows the economy is not healthy. precisely, and there are a lot of independent indicators out there at the same thing — business investment is weakening, business confidence as weakening, the real estate market is weakening and the purchasing managers survey is weakening. so, you can infer what they think from the president's words, you can look at the data, everything points in the same direction. so, on the indicators that you are seeing, what do you think is coming, how bad could it be, what is to be done about it? economists don't have crystal balls, so we can't say how bad, we can't even say when precisely, but i think the direction of travel is pretty clear. cutting payroll taxes,
which means cutting taxes for the working class and the middle class, would seem in order at this point. the rich already got their tax cut in 2017. the other thing that we need to do is lower the political noise and lower the uncertainty. i think if mr trump put his trade were on hold, businesses could make war on hold, businesses could make forecasts, they could invest and the economy could stabilise. professor, when the president blames the central bank, the federal reserve, as he frequently does and did again on tuesday, what do you make of that? the fed is a convenient target for mr trump. but if you compare the fed's interest rates now with what the administration itself said in february in its annual report on the economy interest rates were likely to be, they are lower now than the administration predicted, not higher.
so i think it is a bit of bait and switch deflecting blame. so, what you expect the fed to do next? i think the fed sees what the rest of us see — that the economy is softening, that the external environment is worsening with problems in italy, in china, not least in the uk, so the fed is likely to cut interest rates modestly, but only modestly, and mr trump was right when he said today further fed interest rate cuts are not going to have a dramatic effect on the economy. around 100 migrants have been stranded in a rescue boat in the mediterranean for nearly three weeks. italy's interior minister, mateo salvini, had ordered the open arms ship to be blocked from entering the port of lampedusa, but now, an italian prosecutor has ordered the migrants to disembark in lampedusa. at least 15 of the migrants jumped overboard this morning
in a desperate attempt to get to land. 0livia crellin reports. what is the problem? we are on the edge. frustration after 19 days stuck at sea. they want for everybody to get sick? and then to send us back? 15 migrants on the rescue boat operated by spanish charity open arms jumped into the sea and tried to make it to land. their destination within swimming distance. it was the latest act of desperation from more than 80 migrants still onboard a vessel where tensions and conditions have been steadily worsening. translation: after everything that has happened to them, after risking their lives in a boat in the middle of the sea, after all that, we're here for 19 days. we have experienced rough seas, evacuations, seasickness, anxiety and panic attacks. screaming. people have thrown themselves into the sea out of desperation. what else do you want to happen? what else can happen?
i appeal now on a human level, i am not talking about the legal level. all these people must disembark in the closest safe port, which is that, there, 800 metres away. the closest port, so near, and yet so far. italy's far—right interior minister matteo salvini has continued to refuse to allow migrant rescue vessels to dock as part of his hard—line policies. he is called migrant rescue ships "taxis for people smugglers" and said on tuesday that he was proud to defend the borders and security of his country. translation: because i am the minister in charge of this, i am trying to block the umpteenth landing of migrants led by the umpteenth ngo. i will make sure that i deserve the salary that the italians pay me to defend the borders and the security of my country. if it's going to cost me another trial, amen. many mediterranean countries feel disproportionately affected by the steady flow of migrants coming across the sea. spain and malta have also
kept their ports closed to migrants since december 2018. now perhaps the tide of opinion is turning. on tuesday, after the open arms had been stranded for almost three weeks, spain deployed a neville patrol boat to pick up the migrants. but they didn't have to wait that long, having seen the worsening conditions onboard for himself, an italian prosecutor ordered the migrants be disembarked in lampedusa. the migrants arrived in the dark, but safe. six european union countries have offered to take the migrants in, but more are on their way. 0n the same day, permission was given to these migrants to come on land, over100 migrants setting out from libya are feared to have drowned. it brings the death toll of mediterranean migrants to over 700 this year, making 2019 likely to become the sixth year in a row with more than
a thousand deaths. it's a sign that however hostile the reception those who await them, those who attempt this treacherous journey are unlikely to be deterred. 0livia crellin, bbc news. a very different end of the economic scale now. the new boss at virgin galactic says the company will begin taking people into space on commercial flights by the end of 2020. the project hasn't been without its problems. in 2014, a pilot died after crashing during a test flight and there have been question marks over the project's environmental impact. the bbc‘s marc cieslak travelled to spaceport in new mexico and sent this report. 20 miles past the town of truth or consequences in the new mexico desert, we find find spaceport america. we are here to get a rare glimpse inside that. it bills itself as the world's very first purpose—built commercial spaceport and its home to virgin galactic, sir richard branson‘s company, which is hoping to send fee—paying customers to space. fire, fire!
eventually, five spacecraft will reside in the hangar and it's here passengers will receive three days' training before blasting off into the upper atmosphere. virgin's tickets cost £200,000 for a 90—minute flight. so far, 600 people have signed up. but at a time of increased concerns about the environment, is it responsible to send wealthy people to space for fun? we actually don't have a very big rocket motor in the back, and so the per person co2 emissions is, for the average flight, around that of a business class flight from new york to the uk. there is an awareness of our planet documented scientifically with astronauts — they come back changed, with a greater realisation of the fragility of our ecosystem and ecosphere. the irony of this idea isn't lost on space experts, though. the fact that they have to go that far into space above the planet to have that emotion of feeling protective over the world that they live in is
sort of ridiculous. but you have to put it into perspective of the fact that space travel is very limited in how much it actually contributes to co2 emissions, comparison to aircraft — it is a tiny fraction of what aircraft put out there. virgin galactic is part of a new space race. amazon's founder and ceo jeff bezos's blue 0rigin and tesla boss elon musk‘s space x also have plans to take fee—paying customers into space. the race is on. space could be about to get a lot more crowded — for those that can afford the price of a ticket, that is. marc cieslak, bbc news. briefly, we should note that a new exhibition about ed sheeran has opened this week. in his home town of ipswich, the exhibition depicts his rise to fame from a busker to becoming one of the world's biggest
artists. you can see the exhibition until may next year. it is all put together by his dad. that is it for 110w. together by his dad. that is it for now. thank you very much for watching. hello there. it looks like we're going to see a return to some summery weather finally. high pressure establishing itself over the near continent will send southerly winds our way and we'll tap into that warmth, which will be building over the continent. today, though, it looks like we still have some weather fronts, weather systems to contend with, which will bring wet and windy weather, mainly to the north and the west if the uk. you can see this deep area of low pressure slowly making inroads as the day wears on. but we start, for many of us, with higher pressure, plenty of sunshine around this morning. one or two showers will develop ahead of this rain band for northern england into wales and the midlands, the odd heavier one but it turns wet and windy for northern ireland, much of northern and western scotland. gusts of wind 50, maybe 55mph in exposure and a breezy day further south and east. but better chance of seeing sunshine here with 22 or 23 degrees
being the high. during wednesday night, that weather front moves southwards and eastwards, tending to fizzle out as it does so. but patchy rain across central portions of the uk with blustery showers following on behind, generally a clear and a dry night across the south and east. you can see double—figure values for all starting thursday morning. so, warmer than it's been the last few nights. so, we've got a north—south divide on thursday. low pressure to the north, high pressure building to the south. that weak weather front will continue to fizzle out but we'll see further fronts pushing to northern ireland, parts of scotland and northern england through the day thanks to that area of low pressure anchored to the north of scotland. it will be quite windy here, but further south and east, again, better chance of seeing lighter winds and more sunshine. and we'll start to tap into the warmth on the near continent, 2a, maybe 25 degrees, but the high teens further north. now, this area of high pressure really starts to establish itself over the near continent. southerly winds dig in and start
to push those weather fronts to the north of the uk. so, there'll be a gradual process on friday where we will see the clouds thinning and breaking and the rain diverted towards the north of scotland. elsewhere, variable cloud, but some good spells of sunshine and we're really tapping into the warmth over the near continent with temperatures in the high 20s celsius in the south and east, even the low 20s further north. into the start of the weekend, it looks like those weather fronts will be away from the uk. so most places should be dry with variable cloud. plenty of sunshine. winds coming to the south or the south—east. a much warmer day for all. the low—to—mid 20s celsius in the north, perhaps high 20s in the south—east side, so it's certainly warming up across the board with temperatures probably best across the south and east. it looks like this fine spell will last, for many of us, into next week.
this is bbc news. the headlines: cardinal george pell,t he most senior catholic cleric to be found guilty of child sexual abuse, has lost an appeal in australia against his convictions. the former vatican treasurer was jailed for six years in march for abusing two choir boys in a cathedral in melbourne in the 1990s. a record number of wildfires have raged across the amazon this year, 70,000 have already been detected and concern is growing over the environment policies of brazil's president jair bolsonaro. the surge is an 83% increase on last year's figures. farmers' unions in the uk are warning that a no—deal brexit will cause severe disruption. the minister for environment, food and rural affairs has said the government will support the farming sector through what he calls "short term turbulence". the mayor of london says the best time to tackle violent