welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: the us congress announces a vote to repeal obamacare as republican politicians say they have enough support to win it. the fbi director defends his handling of the hillary clinton e—mail investigation. look, this was terrible. it makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election. but, honestly, it wouldn't change the decision. the candidate of the elite or the spirit of defeat? rivals for the french presidency trade insults in their televised debate. and we visit the american town where one in ten are addicted to opioids and where pharmaceutical companies are getting the blame. after months of wrangling, the us house of representatives has scheduled a vote to repeal
and replace president obama's signature piece of legislation, the affordable care act. it guarantees health insurance for millions of americans, and republicans have struggled to agree on how to change it. but now it seems they believe they have the votes to get the bill through the house. live now to our correspondent in washington, laura bicker. so many people now rely on obamacare. it has always been a hot potato politically. what do you think? 60 more americans are said to have health insurance through obamacare. —— 60 million. have health insurance through 0bamacare. —— 60 million. it was said to cover certain conditions and that's the real sticking point and has been for republicans for equity say popular idea amongst americans, that those with pre—existing conditions like cancer, asthma, diabetes, heart complaints, they've
now been able to buy medical insurance because of that signature piece of healthcare. but when it came to trying to reform it and make it more palatable, some republicans felt it went too far. 0ne estimate had 2a million americans losing health insurance under these changes. but for other republicans it didn't go far enough. they hate the idea of the federal government being involved in something as private as healthcare. so they were trying to find a compromise on both sides and it seems they have found a way. they are going to create a billion—dollarfund to way. they are going to create a billion—dollar fund to help those with pre—existing conditions, but there is but as it only goes for five years and it is unclear —— what will happen after that. if you are a young person you can stay in your pa rents a young person you can stay in your parents a posture the insurance until you are 26. but so far what we
haven't seen is the cost of this bill that's going through the house and the impact it may have. because they are voting on it so quickly, they are voting on it so quickly, they will vote on it in the next 2a hours, but there won't be time for the study into how many people will lose health insurance through this. so it's a risk for the republicans but they are at least moving towards the key campaign pledge of repealing and replacing 0bamacare. the key campaign pledge of repealing and replacing obamacare. weekly, quite apart from whether it makes healthcare better or worse generally, what about the politics? last time the republican version came close to a vote, republican said, ifi came close to a vote, republican said, if i vote for this republicans will vote me out. i think they can afford 20 to defect is. —— defectors. can they get it through the senate? i don't think they would schedule this vote and not expect to
get it through. i think house republicans will get it through, but it is only a majority of two in the senate and they have to account for the millions of americans in their own state who may require on need 0bamacare, so own state who may require on need 0bamaca re, so they own state who may require on need 0bamacare, so they have to defend it in their homes dates and it may be more difficult in its current form to get through the senate. so it might get through this first stage but there is no guarantee it will get through the second. bank very much. the director of the fbi has told a senate committee he has no regrets about his decision, just before last year's presidential election, to re—open his inquiry into hillary clinton's e—mails. he didn't reveal then that dealings between the trump campaign and russia were being investigated. mr comey said be felt ‘mildly nauseous' at the thought that he influenced the result, as mrs clinton alleges. he insisted he'd make the same decision again. this report from our north america editorjon sopel. history is likely to judge that this law enforcement officer played a decisive role in determining the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
just days before polling, james comey revealed the fbi had reopened its inquiry into hillary clinton's e—mails from when she was secretary of state. he said he had no good options. so i stared at speak and conceal. speak would be really bad, there's an election in 11 days. lordy, that would be really bad. concealing, in my view, would be catastrophic, notjust to the fbi, but well beyond. and honestly, as between really bad and catastrophic, i said to my team — we've got to walk into the world of really bad. so how does he feel now about the impact his intervention has had? look, this was terrible. it makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election. but, honestly, it wouldn't change the decision. what's not in doubt is that his letter, 11 days before america voted, convulsed the campaign. its significance can't be over—stated. this was donald trump, the day the news broke. the investigation is the biggest political scandal since watergate and it's everybody‘s hope
that justice, at last, can be delivered. and hillary clinton has now made clear she believes that james comey may have cost her the election. i was on the way to winning until a combination ofjim comey's letter, on october 28th, and russian wikileaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me, but got scared off. but donald trump, on twitter, attacked hillary clinton and seemingly has a swipe at james comey, too. the question is, why did the fbi make public the e—mail investigation and not the parallel inquiry into the trump campaign's links with russia? the answer seems to be that congress
had been told the e—mail investigation was complete and therefore reopening it needed congress to be told again. it's an explanation that baffles many democrats. jon sopel, bbc news, washington. president trump has welcomed the palestinian leader mahmoud abbas to the white house for a series of talks aimed at finding a way towards peace in the middle east. mr trump acknowledged that reaching agreement between israelis and palestinians was probably the toughest deal to close in the world. the palestinian president said a peace accord based on a two—state solution would help fight terrorism. president trump said he was willing to play any role which would help bring agreement. the palestinians and israelis must work together to reach an agreement that will allow both people to live, prosper and thrive in peace. i will do whatever is necessary to
facilitate the agreement, the media, arbitrate, whatever they would like to do, but i would love to be a mediator or arbitrator or facilitator and we will get this done. more on that to come in the next few hours. the two people hoping to be president of france have gone head to head in the final tv debate of the election. latest polls suggest the centrist former banker emmanuel macron is still well ahead of his far—right rival marine le pen, but his lead has narrowed in recent weeks. the final round is on sunday. james reynolds watched the exchanges. for the first time, emmanuel macron and marine le pen sat across from one another. right from the start of this debate they began their attacks. translation: mr macron is the candidate of savage globalisation, uberisation, economic uncertainty, social brutality, of every man for himself.
translation: you have shown you are not the candidate for a balanced democratic debate. the question is, do the people want your defeatist attitude ? you say globalisation is too hard for us, so is europe. let's shut our borders, leave the euro, because others succeed, not us. the atmosphere got heated. at times the moderators barely managed to get a word in. "i treat the french like adults", mr macron told his opponent. "you lie all the time." then each was asked about terrorism. translation: the safety of our people, the fight against terror and islamist extremism, you don't want to take it on and i know why. against terrorism we have to close our borders straightaway, immediately, and that's what i will do the moment i take power. translation: closing borders achieves nothing. there are many countries outside
the schengen area that have been hit as hard as us by terrorist attacks and since 2015 we have put back border controls to fight terrorism. marine le pen spent much of the time attacking her opponent. she avoided detailed discussion of her own proposals. emmanuel macron and marine le pen presented two very different visions of france. theirs was a debate marked by attacks and accusations. they now head out to the rest of the country for the final days of the campaign. let's take a look at some of the other stories making the news. at least 21 miners have been killed in a coal mine explosion in iran, according to state media. dozens more are believed to be trapped underground after the blast, which happened in the northern province of golestan. the rescue operation has reportedly been hampered by concerns about gas in the mine's tunnels. facebook is hiring 3,000 people to help stop hate speech, child abuse and self—harm being broadcast on the site.
co—founder marc zuckerburg said the new team willjoin four and a half thousand others who already check the social media network for reports of inappropriate material. tech—giants uber and google are going head—to—head in a san francisco courtroom over self—driving technology. google's self driving division, waymo, accuses uber of stealing its secrets and is demanding the ride—sharing company cease using the technology. uber denies the allegation. the actor brad pitt has admitted that heavy drinking played a part in his divorce from angelina jolie. in a magazine interview, the 53—year—old said he had now given up alcohol and was receiving therapy. the couple had been together since 2004, but only married a decade later. ms jolie announced last year that she was filing for divorce. thousands of opposition supporters in venezuela have again clashed violently with security forces in the capital, caracas. the latest demonstrations were sparked by president nicolas maduro's decision to form a new people's assembly largely made up of his supporters.
his opponents say it's a ploy to sideline the democratically elected congress. greg dawson reports. in one part of caracas delight and celebration as nicolas maduro met his supporters. in another, discussed and demonstration. opposition leaders called this there are mega— protests, as marched through the streets. 0nce are mega— protests, as marched through the streets. once again rocks and petrol—bombs were thrown at police who once again responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon. these people say they are fighting for freedom and democracy and in the eyes of president midge ure on br supporters ofa president midge ure on br supporters of a fascist coup attempt. 0n wednesday he officially launched the process to create a new people's assembly in venezuela, which will have the power to override the opposition controlled congress.
translation: i denounce this opposition. an armed fascist insurgency which has raised its arms against the republic and the republic has the right to defend itself against terrorism and we are going to defend ourselves. for more than a month pilot clashes between protesters and police have been almost a daily occurrence in venezuela. more than 30 people have been killed and the government has warned demonstrators their bright to cause such disruption is not absolute. but with the country mired in recession, opposition leaders have vowed to keep the pressure up until the government calls and agrees a general election. president maduro may have promised his new assembly will help to deliver peace and security, the reality so far looks very different. much more to come on bbc news, including this. she has painted for more than 35 years and now a change
of rules means she gets a chance to win britain's most prestigious art prize. i, nelson rolihlahla mandela, do hereby serve to be faithful to the republic of south africa. after six years of construction and numerous delays, the channel tunnel has been formally opened by the queen and president mitterrand. the tunnel is still not yet ready for passengers and freight services to begin. for centuries, christianity and islam struggled for supremacy. now the pope's visit symbolises their willingness to coexist. roger bannister became the first man in the world to run a mile in underfour minutes. memories of victory as the ve celebrations reach their climax. this night is dedicated to everyone who believes in a future of peace and freedom. this is bbc news,
the latest headlines: after months of wrangling, republicans in the us congress may be close to repealing health care legislation introduced under barack 0bama. marine le pen and emmanuel macron have traded accusations and insults in the final televised debate ahead of sunday's french presidential election. let's get more now onjames comey‘s senate hearing which comes as both the fbi and congress are investigating russia's interference in the election. republican congressman adam kinzinger sits on the foreign affairs committee, and my colleague katty kay spoke to him earlier for our 100 days programme. what did you make of the fbi saying
he felt sick thinking that russia may have influenced the election? the president says it helped hillary and hillary says it helped the president. the fbi is trying to figure this stuff out. he obviously has some heartache about the idea that he has had some effect. there is no doubt that russia had influence on the election and has in the one in france. we need to make sure we are guarding against that for future elections and with our allies. he was questioned repeatedly about buying he released information about buying he released information about the hillary clinton allegations but not about the russia
issue. you convinced by his answers? i trust in implicitly. he wants to do right way the fbi. i did not in the fbi, so why one would be released and not the other, i leave that up to him but i do trust in as the negotiator. are you satisfied with the pace of these investigations? we would love to have the answers now but things take time. even if we put an independent prosecutor, we will be talking about at two years to get the answers. while i would love to have the a nswer to while i would love to have the answer to everything tomorrow, i think it is important we get the report in a bipartisan way. we know
that vladimir putin does what he does, france is a very small country, so we give these information to allies say they can help defend themselves. a light plane has crashed in dramatic fashion in the us state of washington, and it was all caught on a dashboard camera. the small private plane clipped some power lines and burst into flames just north of seattle. amazingly, the pilot walked away uninjured, and no one on the ground was hurt. authorities say the plane took off from a nearby airport, north of seattle, and suddenly lost power. huntington, west virginia, is in the grips of an addiction epidemic. more than one in ten people there are hooked on heroin or other opioids. now local authorities are taking legal action against pharmaceutical companies they accuse of flooding their city with prescription drugs. 0ur video journalists tom bateman and howard johnson, have been to huntington. their report contains distressing images from the start. that's an overdose, come on.
steve williams, mayor of the city of huntington, west virginia. huntington is a town ofjust under 50,000 people, our county is 96,000 people, yet over a five—year period, just a five—year period, there was over a0 million, a0 million doses of opiates that were distributed in this county alone. the numbers speak for themselves. most of our callouts now are for drugs. they probably make up somewhere around a third of our calls. fires generally are about 15% to 10% of our calls, so obviously the drugs are much... alarm sounds sorry about that! that's me. that's an overdose, come on. just going to an overdose
of a middle—aged male at a local grocery store. he's been reported and i'll know more on that and we're on our way now. the man that was called? the restroom. the restroom? thank you. what have we got? his mouth is closing up. hey!? what's his name? timmy. timmy?! what? wake up, partner. look here. how long you been doing heroin? it's been a while since you've done it... ..done it or you've been doing it a while? go ahead, let's stand up against the wall,
get your bearings. can i ask, did you go and start on opioids first before you moved onto heroin? yes, sir. and how did you get into it? i was on pain pills and actually i've been trying to get off it hopefully. i would just as soon be able to hear from these companies that say we'll come in and we'll partner with you to try to fight this addiction rather than spend their time saying, "if it's not our fault, we're just a business." when i was in the investment business, if i was giving advice to somebody that caused harm to them, i would lose my career, lose my license and possibly have to pay money. do no harm and there's plenty of harm that we can point to all around. the turner prize is britain's most
high—profile arts award, and for years only those under the age of 50 could be considered. no longer. this year organisers have scrapped the age limit for the first time since 1991, and two artists over 50 have made it to the shortlist. 0ur arts correspondent david sillito has more. she certainly didn't expect this? no, not at all. not at all. not at all! i mean, it does make me laugh. it's been a strange day for lubaina himid. she's painted for more than 35 years and today, at the age of 62, is on the turner prize shortlist. her paintings bring black lives and faces to often very white art galleries, and this
is perhaps her signature work, 100 life—size portraits made when... you were 50? i was. did you think that national recognition was probably past you by then? erm, probably. and now? well, i hadn't thought about the turner prize, in terms, i don't know, nominations or shortlisting for a couple of decades, you know. born in zanzibar, she's lived and taught here, in preston, for more than 25 years. and, the's not alone, the other nominees, hurvin anderson, andrea buttner and rosalind nashashibi are all of mature years. this jury and the turner prize has perhaps looked back at certain artists that were unfairly overlooked and decided to open it up to those that maybe deserve a second chance or that flourish later in life. and it's certainly been a year of flourishing for lubaina
and her life's ambition. i'm making a space where other black audiences can feel at home, where they can look at these cutouts and think, "oh, that looks a bit like my auntie" or "oh, that's kind of got the demeanour i've got." it's like being at home, it's like being in amongst people you know. it's that making a space in an art gallery where you're not the only person of colour. david sillito, bbc news, preston. and before we go, it may not be the olympics, but competition was almost as fierce at hong kong's annual bun carnival. scaling an 18—metre high tower of buns, athletes are scored on how many buns they can retrieve in a short amount of time. they higher up the buns, the higher their value. originally the tower was indeed made up of real buns, but nowadays imitation plastic buns are used because they are more stable.
a localfire fighter and a climbing instructor both took out this year's top honours. much more on the bbc website. thank you for watching.. hello there. the weather contrast on wednesday got a little bit more stark across the uk, with low cloud dominant across parts of east anglia and the south—west. a breeze off a chilly sea. 9 celsius the high for one or two, but in the sunshine, and plenty of it further north and west, high teens and low 20s. and considering our wind is coming from the east, and will be for the next few days, you look downwind, clumps of cloud of running into the same areas that we have seen during the past 2a hours. so more cloud around on thursday. maybe the odd brighter break here and there. but east anglia and the south—east always prone to the odd spot of rain and drizzle and maybe a few splashes of drizzle further west. a few breaks in the clouds
towards devon and cornwall, the channel islands but probably a little bit of a cloudier start across wales, compared to what we saw yesterday morning. further north, though, sunshine will be out again across much of northern england, after a chilly start. a chilly start but a sunny start in northern ireland. the odd mist or fog patch. in scotland, more chilly start, dry and sunny. around moray firth, shetland low cloud close to the coast. that will come and go through the day. still with some sunny spells. a few brighter days through the midlands and parts of north wales into the afternoon after a grey start. but still plenty of cloud across other southern counties. still the chance of one or two passing showers. a breezy day. limiting the temperatures off the cold sea across those eastern areas. in the west, particularly gusty winds west of the hills. western scotland 19—20 celsius is again possible. then into thursday night, we see a few more in the way of bright clearer breaks across parts england and wales, and that will lead to temperatures dropping a touch. outside of the towns, you mightjust about get a touch of frost here and there once again but most will be frost—free particularly the further south you are.
the breezy helping to limit things. so another breezy day on friday. further areas of cloud drifting across southern counties of england and wales. maybe into the midlands later. further north, clearer skies across northern england, scotland and northern ireland. temperatures for some getting down a little bit but could still get to then high teens across western scotland and maybe to the west of cumbria. a few changes as we go into the weekend — the high—pressure that has been with us recedes a little bit towards iceland. allows this low pressure system to get close — how close it gets is a big question mark but it could spread rain across devon and cornwall, channel islands, maybe southern counties of england through the day. north of that, some brighter sunny spells and feeling a little less chilly across south—eastern areas. the rain close by if you go through the night and into sunday. either way, whether it reaches the south coast or not, it clears into the near continent, allowing north—easterly winds to develop for sunday. so we'll see a bit more sunshine around in places. the best in the west. cool down the eastern coast. take care. this is bbc news. the headlines: the us house
of representatives has scheduled a vote for thursday to repeal barack 0bama's affordable healthcare act. republicans are now confident they have the numbers to win. a previous attempt to repeal it in march failed. the director of the fbi, james comey, has defended his decision to notify the us congress about reopening an investigation into hillary clinton's use of e—mails less than two weeks before last yea r‘s presidential election. four days before france goes to the polls, the two remaining candidates for the french presidency have attacked each other‘s policies and characters in a bad—tempered televised debate. polling suggests mr macron won the encounter. at a meeting with the palestinian leader mahmoud abbas at the white house, president trump has said he is committed to working for a middle east peace deal. now it's time for hardtalk.