this is a rack‘s last city held by the islamic state. the assault on it is now underway. the chief executive of sainsbury‘s has called for "fundamental reforms" to business rates, amid concerns increases could spark high street store closures. police in malaysia have named four north korean suspects in the killing of the half brother of the north korean leader. donald trump attacks the media again at a rally in florida. but the president also made a robust defence of his first four weeks in office and has insisted that a new spirit of optimism is sweeping the us. and lincoln city await to see who they'll play in the fa cup quarter final. the draw is at 6:30 tonight. good afternoon and welcome to bbc news.
thousands of prison officers atjails in london and south—east england are to get a pay increase of between £3000 and £5000. ministers have made the offer to try to boost recruitment and to retain workers in prisons — which are under pressure from violence and staff shortages. but there'll be no extra pay for senior officers. here's our home affairs correspondent, june kelly. they're the front line in ourjails, but there aren't enough of them. the shortage of staff is seen as one of the key causes of the problems in prisons. in somejails, officers are struggling on a daily basis simply to maintain control. now the government is putting in place a £12 million pay package to try to retain existing staff and recruit new prison officers. this is wandsworth jail, in south london, and staff here will benefit. the offer is limited to prisons
in the capital and the south east. ministers say they're under the greatest pressure. but this has been condemned as ‘divisive‘ by the prison 0fficers‘ association. they maintain the pay package is tantamount to putting a plaster over a gaping wound. we're welcoming the additional money for our members, of course we are. but we don't think this goes far enough to solving the prison crisis. we believe it needs to be a national issue. we weren't properly consulted on this either, so we believe that if the secretary of state wants to make these arbitrary decisions on pay, then she should consult us fully and we can point out the inconsistencies and problems that will arise as a result of this policy. the offer is for standard grade 3 prison officers, not for more senior supervisors or specialists. each will receive a pay hike of at least £3,000. for new recruits, the pay package will be boosted by 5,000. a sweetener to try to get people into thejob. the justice secretary, liz truss, has already announced plans
to recruit 2,500 more prison officers, but it will be the end of 2018 before they're all in place. it's not something you can sort out in weeks or months, it takes time to recruit people, it takes time to bring those people on. but i'm absolutely determined to deal with that. thejustice secretary rejects claims that, as a country, we are locking up too many people. prison reform campaigners believe we are, and this is a fundamental part of the problem. she has to get the numbers down, at the same time as improving staff morale, pay, retention and training. she also has a problem with community sentences, which are also in a mess. the justice system has to work for victims, the taxpayers, the staff and for people in it. and at the moment, it's not working for anybody. while today's pay package announcement is about trying to bring new people in, those in the service say the challenge is not just recruiting staff,
it is retaining them. june kelly, bbc news. with me is the former mp jonathan aitken who now campaigns on prison reform, having spent time in prison himself. goals what are your thoughts about what she has announced? and think it isa what she has announced? and think it is a good initiative, prison officers were getting these big pay rises, i think it is worth every penny because theirjob is becoming increasingly dangerous, all kinds of pressures which have mounted because of the staff shortages and staff cuts. she is making the right move, is it enough? i rather doubt it. i think thatjust is it enough? i rather doubt it. i think that just £12 is it enough? i rather doubt it. i think thatjust £12 million boost is very welcome, but the bbc panorama programme seems to have shown that des has escalated the argument, the
prison in northumberland, this increase is only going to prison officers in the south—east and london. there will be a demand from other prisoners that are under pressure to see the same generosity by the government. presumably she had a choice, she could have either given certain prison officers a pay rise, which is what she's doing, or she could have recruited more. why goa she could have recruited more. why 9° a pay she could have recruited more. why go a pay rise rather than increasing recruitment? and trying to do both, but as they have discovered, it is difficult to recruit and train and install prison officers, and above all, i know from having been in prison administration, the respect between prison officers and sensible prisoners, but the officers who gain respect our experienced, so you need to hang on to people who have been
there some considerable time. the problem about recruiting, more inexperienced prison officers if they can't so easily control wings of 100 prisoners without the experience and wisdom that goes with that. there is a lot of catching up that... this is a totally avoidable crisis. the justice that... this is a totally avoidable crisis. thejustice secretary ‘s allowed prison officers to be made redundant because of pressure from the treasury, and i think that was a grave mistake and we are paying for it. liz truss has seen that this is a problem. the mess would be cleared up a problem. the mess would be cleared up quickly, and i think the crisis is deepening rather than easing, other than the moves she is taking an iraqi moves and it will pass a couple of years down the line. you've seen the footage from
panorama and elsewhere, showing in some cases a system whereby the prisoners seem to be in charge, in some cases, rather than officers. how much has prison life changed since you were... you spent some time in prison in the 1990s. how have things changed ? time in prison in the 1990s. how have things changed? think it has changed hugely. when i was there in belmarsh, it was still britain's toughest prison, a big number of prisoners were controlled by a small number of officers who experience and character counted for far more than their uniforms and truncheons. 0nce than their uniforms and truncheons. once you start to lose the critical mass of prison officers who can be summoned onto a wing to, in the fight starts, but if unions that, it is very difficult to get back, and difficult prisoners know that they can easily get in charge of a wing, sony mess that was revealed by the
panorama programme is real in many prisons and is getting worse. the only antidote to itjust prisons and is getting worse. the only antidote to it just the prisons and is getting worse. the only antidote to itjust the recruit and train and try and retain more experienced prison officers. we've a long way to go. this is really only a start. yes, it is a good start, a small start, the cost of what they are doing in terms of salaries is £12 million, which is tiny. i wish the prisoners and liz trust well in getting thejob done, the prisoners and liz trust well in getting the job done, but it is going to get suitable time to do it. some argue that the problem is overcrowding and that we should be putting fewer people behind bars. there is a long—term objective, it is very sensible to say we should put fewer people in prison, but if you look at the facts closely the
prison population is the same as it was five years ago, so there hasn't been a great surge. there has been a surge in convicted paedophiles and sex offenders, and that is one reason for the 3000 extra. there's also specialist problem about people who are called ipp prisoners, public protection. there are nearly 4000 of those who have gone past the tariff thejudge ever intended those who have gone past the tariff the judge ever intended to pass them, because the rules for proving that they are eligible for release arejust that they are eligible for release are just too complicated and we are moving too slowly on that. these are inefficiencies of the system. flaws in the system, which we could tackle, but we are a long way off. iraqi security forces have started a major new offensive against the so—called islamic state in mosul. iraq's second—largest city was seized by the extremist group over two years ago as they took control
of northern and western iraq. last month the eastern half of mosul was recaptured after a major offensive. but around three quarters of a million civilians remain in the west of the city — which is still controlled by is. shortly after dawn, but without any apparent urgency, iraqi government artillery opened fire. in the distance, several kilometres away, smoke rose into the morning sky. the assault won't be a surprise to the population of mosul. after the capture of the eastern half of the city last month, it was only a matter of time before government forces advanced into the west, and the operation was announced by the iraqi prime minister. translation: i call on our brave forces to proceed with courage to liberate the other half of mosul and its peoples from the oppression of the islamic state group forever. it is believed there
could be as many as 3,000 is fighters in the west, hidden among more than 600,000 civilians. in the densely packed streets the fighting will be intense. the united nations has called on government forces to ensure the safety of those civilians is of paramount importance. the operation to retake the city began four months ago, and military commanders are warning that it could be just as long again, before it's finished. earlier this morning our middle east correspondent quentin sommerville, who's with the iraqi forces, sent this update from the front line. iraqi special forces police are now moving forward. they've breached their own defences and they‘ re heading towards the so—called islamic state, who lie just beyond that hill about two kilometres away. all morning here, coalition aircraft have been overhead, dropping very large bombs on those positions, softening them up so that these troops can then go in.
there's no real element of surprise in modern warfare, and last night, the residents of western mosul, who are just over there, were warned in leaflet drops to stay in their homes. these men, let'sjust spin round and we can show you, they're all lining up and getting ready for the battle. look, there's a tank coming in just up there. these men aren't expecting an easy time of it today because they know from drone footage that the islamic state have dug deep tunnels in the villages just south of western mosul and that they're waiting with car bombs and plenty of fighters, a hard—core of fighters remaining in western mosul, which of course is iraq's last city held by the islamic state. but the assault on that last redoubt of the islamic state is now under way. save the children say hundreds of thousands of children
are trapped in western mosul. aram shakaram is the charity's director in iraq. we believe there are over 800,000 population trapped in western mosul. among them, over 350,000 children who have been suffering since the beginning of the previous operation. also, under the control of isis for the last two years. at the moment there is no escape. we are happy to hear that the government of iraq has prioritised civilian protection in this operation and we hope that will be the case. at the moment, there are no escape routes. since the beginning of the operation this morning, we have not seen anybody that has made it to safety, to nearby places where we are present on the ground for support. what we are hearing from people in western mosul is that they have
almost run out of supplies in western mosul. water is the most critical need that they have at the moment and there is a lot of fear. children, there is not much in terms of medicine and supplies. greater manchester police has launched a criminal investigation after claims that hundreds of forensic test results issued by a laboratory in manchester were "doctored". two men have been arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice. randox testing services in blackley analyses samples of saliva, blood and hair, looking for traces of drugs and alcohol. the chief executive of sainsbury‘s has intervened in the row about the revaluation of business rates, which takes effect in april. mike coupe says the current system is "archaic" and needs "fundamental reform", because it favours online businesses. , which some high street retailers say will see rates rise dramatically. here's our business correspondent joe lynam. the vast majority of companies on this high—street in oxford street will be paying higher business rates from april, that is because business
rates are a tax on the value of commercial property. of course, in london and the south—east, property prices have soared in the last seven years since they were last assessed for rates. if you have a large property footprint, like many supermarkets do, including sainsbury‘s, tesco and waitrose, you will want wholesale reform in how rates are assessed. but the reality is that the vast majority of companies will be paying less or more in england where this applies. half the money will stay in the local community, because it goes to local authorities rather than central government. that won't, though, stop the calls for the chancellor, philip hammond, to look at this issue perhaps in next month's budget. prison officers at a get a pay
increase. ministers hope it will ease pressure. the charity, saving the children, say that the hundred 50,000 children are trapped in western mosul as iraqi troops supported by american air strikes have begun their assault to reca ptu re have begun their assault to recapture the city. donald trump has defended the achievements of his presidency so far at a rally of his supporters in florida. he also made another attack on the media. malaysian police say they are seeking four more north korean suspects in connection with the death of kimjong—nam, the half brother of the north korean leader. police identified the four suspects, all men between the ages of 33 and 57, but say they have already left malaysia. police on saturday arrested a north korean man over the killing of mrjong—nam. he died shortly after being sprayed with a chemical at kuala lumpur airport last week. 0ur correspondent kevin kim says this is another twist in the murder investigation. according to police,
the four suspects all had north korean passports and boarded flights out of malaysia on monday. that was immediately after the killing took place. authorities say they are still waiting for the toxicology report that will confirm whether mr kim was poisoned. kim jong—nam was waiting at the check—in counter of the main airport in malaysia when two women approached him and sprayed him with the chemical. he sought medical help but fell unconscious and died hours later. the two women who were arrested told authorities that they were paid to take part in what they believed was a prank
for a tv show. a 46—year—old man from north korea is also under custody. lord mandelson, a former labour cabinet minister,
has urged peers to not "throw in the towel early" when they debate the process of triggering brexit. the government has warned lords not to block the legislation which will start the uk's withdrawal from the eu. the house of lords will begin debating the article 50 bill tomorrow. with me is our political correspondent tom bateman. what does lord mandelson what the laws to do? think it is worth saying that for those who enjoy the spectator sport of watching house of lords debates, they are in for a treat in the next few days. nearly 200 peers of the realm of talk in this debate, that is approaching i think in record numbers. that gives you a sense of the way in which many of the peers want to influence this process as this bailout passes to the house of lords. the
government's intention is for it to go through parliament completely unaltered, a clea n parliament completely unaltered, a clean bill, simple, said the government has the right to the
brexit process. many like lord mandelson and other labour and liberal democrat peers are slapping amendments onto the books as fast as they can. they will be pages of these that potentially will be debated in the lords of the next couple of days. two areas where some are hoping for success are in trying to get the government on the statute books, in law, to have to come to parliament and give mps and peers a vote on any deal before it signed off by trees and may. the government has already verbally agreed to do that, they want this in law. there's also the right of eu citizens to stay in the uk. lord mandelson was pretty confident on these issues that he could get. there is a strong body of opinion across party and most independent peers as well, that both these issues are very serious. when it comes to eu citizens, the
british government is not negotiating with itself. there will be people amongst the member states to say no, we don't want to take this issue now, we'll take it later on during the course of the negotiation, because it is as much a negotiating cabinet for them as it is for britain. the government doesn't have a majority lords, and at the house of commons votes, one government official said if the law is trying to meddle with this block it, they could face and existential threat that the public might be calling for the peers to be abolished. downing street on the road back on that, said it was no such threat and it was the right of beers to scrutinise this. but i think it is interesting that the government knows it could face some opposition, it could be a time where some may try to delay things, sony are taking no chances. we heard from thejustice secretary this morning. the fact is it was
voted for conclusively in the house of commons, the leader of the lords said last week that they wouldn't be holding it up, that they were looking at scrutinising. the fact is it isa looking at scrutinising. the fact is it is a simple bill on whether we trickle article 15, the british people voted for it is clearly in a referendum and the house of lords needs to get on with that. that is what i understand it will be doing despite what peter mandelson claims. there may be some parliamentary ping—pong over this and the government might try to avoid it. that is a worst—case scenario. they are that is a worst—case scenario. they a re pretty that is a worst—case scenario. they are pretty confident they are going to get this through and they will be ina to get this through and they will be in a position to trigger that article 50 process doing the course of march. the former boxer, michael watson, has been injured during an attempt to steal his car in london. mr watson, who's 51, and partially disabled, had a substance sprayed in his face and was dragged along the road. he, and a friend are recovering at home. the police have appealed for information. the biggest storm to hit california for several years has left at least
four people dead and around 150 thousand homes without power. giant sinkholes appeared in some roads— a fire crew managed to get out of this engine before it was swallowed on the main motorway from los angeles to las vegas. this was another sinkhole in studio city where a woman was rescued from the roof of her car moments before a second empty vehicle was swallowed up. president trump has made a strong defence of his first four weeks in office — and said a new spirit of optimism is sweeping the united states. addressing thousands of his supporters at a rally in florida, the president repeated his campaign pledges to create jobs and improve the nation's security. and he had further criticism of the media. here's our washington correspondent, laura bicker. if you thought the presidential campaign was over, then you would be wrong.
afterjust four weeks in office, president trump is bidding forfour more years. but there is more to this rally in the swing state of florida. donald trump is trying to change the subject of the headlines of chaos and controversy in his administration, he is back where he appears to be more comfortable — behind a campaign podium, rather than a desk in the oval office. i am here because i want to be among my friends and among the people. this was a great movement, a movement like has never been seen before in our country or probably anywhere else. he enjoys an audience and he takes heart from his fans. 0ne even made it on stage after waiting since the early morning. when president trump during the election promised all these things that he was going to do for us, i knew he was going to do this for us!
he also had tough words for some of his alleged enemies, the media. he has a new term for them, "the enemy". these supporters are his people and this is his message. a chance to appraise his first month in office, which he sees as a success. but what do his voters think? make america great again and that is what it is! that is what it is, just make america great, he will do, it is going to be great. he has kind of been up and down, i kind of feel like he is not 100% doing good but i want to give him more time, it has only been a month, i think he could turn things around. so a bumpy start? yes, a lot of executive orders, he is not really talking to people like you should. there are a lot of differences nowadays and i believe that this man can bring more people together. you think donald trump is the man to unite america? yes, ma'am.
on january 20, 2017, our presidency died. but unity seems a long way off. in new york, protesters held a fake funeral for the presidency. the political ideals of america seem further apart than ever. this rally will be hugely popular with his voting base but it will not help him in washington. if president trump is to push through his campaign promises, he may need to take his message to capitol hill, rather than an adoring crowd. anotherfive pound note estimated to be worth fifty thousand pounds due to a tiny, engraved portrait of jane austen has been found. it's the third such discovery across the uk, meaning thatjust one more note is outstanding. the fivers are the handiwork of birmingham micro—artist graham short. he spent a note in each of the four home nations and said the latest find was in northern ireland. no note has yet been found in england.
poetry‘s normally associated with the written word —— but a new project is giving walkers the chance to hear six new verses as they make their way around northumberland's national park. ‘poems in the air‘ was the brainchild of poet simon armitage. people can access his work at certain locations via an app on their phones. alison freeman went to see if she could track them down. wind out of the south—west scalped the ridge, careens up the spine of the hill, and over the ramparts between cairns. even on good days, the strewn boulders pierced with toothache. words to reward the hardiest of walkers on the bleakest of days. northumberland national park has worked with acclaimed british poet simon armitage to create six poems which can only be heard via an app using gps at the places which inspired them.
and on a day like this, when the visibility is not so good, they can help to bring the landscape to life. starting to show that we are getting really near the point where the poem will unlock. we're at this one. we are doing the proposal stone. why is it you can't hear them until you get near the place? well, that was the poet, simon armitage, he really liked the idea of poems that do not really exist, they're not written down anywhere. it is going to wear simon was inspired, listening to the words and going, i get it, i can see how he was inspired. so it's kind of like your own personal performance, i guess? exactly, it's like it's right next to you. this poem is about the proposal stone at a point in the park called simonside, discovered by a ranger five years ago. it bears a neatly inscribed marriage proposal. stand next to me now
on this altar stone, its threshold just one step from the rest of our lives. you've got 360—degree views. it's a special place. and we have other stones on simonside that are carved, names and dates etc, but this was just that bit different. you know, somebody had gone to the bother of etching it into the stone, which i thought was quite something. who carved the stone remains a mystery, and the park is keen to know if they ever made it down the aisle. now all of england has gone down on one knee, listening, hoping you will say yes. the hike to each poem is fairly long, and walkers are recommended to seek them out on different days. more than 5,000 people have
travelled on the first timetabled steam train service on the settle to carlisle railway line in half a century. tornado, the newest steam locomotive in britain, pulled 12 northern services between the 14th and 16th of february. northern rail said the event as "a remarkable success" and has not ruled out running similar services again. the three day event was part of celebrations to mark the upcoming reopening of the line after landslides closed a long stretch. tornado on the lines of northern england, but nothing like that in our forecast. we will have quite a bit of cloud in the next few days for most of us, but eastern areas are seeing sunshine today.
increasingly, cloud has been spreading in. still holding onto brightness in the east of england and scotland. 0vernight, the club wins the battle and it turns murky, with mist and fog patches rolling in raincoats hills. temperatures will be mild, low temperatures of between nine and 11 celsius. these temperatures are higher than they should be in the daytime, let alone in the middle of the night. tomorrow, a weather front comes in the middle of the night. tomorrow, a weatherfront comes in, with wind ahead of it. watch out for gusts on the early morning commute. a few breaks in the cloud. temperatures could reach 16 celsius in the warmer spots on monday afternoon.