hello and welcome to bbc news. i'm gavin grey. hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets of barcelona to protests against spain's plans to sack the regional government and hold fresh elections. the spanish prime minister said he'd been left with no choice but to restore the rule of law. carles puigdemont, catalan‘s leader, compared the actions of madrid to the fascist regime of general franco. if laws are risk in catalonia, they will also be at risk in europe. democrat graphically deciding the future of the nation is not a crime. this goes against foundation is that european citizens have through their diverse city. catalonia is call to the european values. —— core. we
value why they do because we believe ina value why they do because we believe in a democratic, peaceful europe. our correspondent, tom burridge is in barcelona with this assessment. the spanish government and the catalan devolved government have been nudging each other for weeks, willing the other side to make the big move. madrid's done exactly that today. now, its plan needs to be approved by the spanish senate. that could take days. in the meantime, the catalan leader could try and convene the regional parliament here to make a more emphatic unilateral declaration of independence. now, in practice, that might not mean very much. you can'tjust create a state overnight. so i think the most interesting thing will be how the spanish intervention here in catalonia plays out on the ground. catalan officials say their bosses will keep going to work until they are physically prevented from doing so. now, the spanish government argues that it won't actually be suspending catalan autonomy because the institutions themself will remain. but the fact is it will be taking control, reluctantly. the spanish government is under huge pressure from public opinion across this country.
but neither the prime minister, no—one else in this region or across spain knows where this is heading next. let's take a look at some of the other stories making the news: at least 15 army cadets have been killed in an attack on a military academy in afghanistan. a suicide bomber drove a car full of explosives into a bus outside the training centre in kabul. it's the latest in a number of bomb attacks across the country, this week. the tully taliban said it carried out the attack. a billionaire businessman in the czech republic has scored a convincing victory in elections to the lower house of parliament. andrej babis emerged with just under 30% of the vote but not enough for his ano party to govern alone.
mr babis said he wants to work with allies across europe to halt illegal immigration. millions of people injapan are voting in a snap general election that the prime minister, shinzo abe, looks likely to win, despite opinion polls indicating that his popularity is low among the electorate. the election has been called by mr abe more than a year earlier than needed. president trump says he plans to release thousands of classified documents on the assassination of presidentjohn f kennedy. the papers would be made available, unless government agencies had compelling objections. in 1992, congress said all documents linked to the assassination should be released within 25 years. you can find more on all of the stories we're following here on bbc news by going to our website — bbc.com/news you can also download the bbc news app. parts of britain have been battered by storm brian with violent winds and high seas. gusts of more than 120 kilometres an hour were recorded in some places. strong wind warnings and flood alerts are still in place across much of wales,
the south of england and the midlands. briohny williams reports. storm brian unleashes its worst as waves crash against the coast of wales. the ferocity of nature showing its hand. just taken the whole side of the officers out. buildings damaged and roads flooded. the picture in the south—west of england is similar — beaches empty. advice from the environment agency has been to stay away from the coastline. but walkers in the north—west of england couldn't resist watching the awesome scenes storm brian has supplied. fantastic. power of nature, isn't it?
i tried to go for a nice coastal walk this morning, or today, but i think i will put that on hold. the disruption hasn't been as widespread as predicted, and storm brian is expected to ease over the coming hours. only then will the true impact be revealed. briohny williams, bbc news. human rights groups have condemned the world health organisation's decision to make robert mugabe a goodwill ambassador. britain and the united states have also made public their disappointment at zimbabwe's president being offered the ceremonial role. our africa correspondent, andrew harding reports. 93 years old, and in frail health, president robert mugabe is an unexpected choice to be the new goodwill ambassador for the world health organization. and it's not just a question of stamina. the president's defenders insist he's earned this new honour. and yet, during his 37 years
in power, mr mugabe has overseen the collapse of zimbabwe's currency and economy, and of its once—impressive health system. zimbabweans who've fled abroad are outraged by today's news. it angers me, because i've seen millions of zimbabweans die. incurable diseases, which — some things which could be cured, but because of the health facilities that have collapsed, it has really been their death row. zimbabwe's falling apart. there's nothing absolutely that is alright. if i fall sick, where will i get just the consultation fee? critics point to a long history of human rights abuses in zimbabwe too. on that note, today the british government called mr mugabe's appointment: perhaps the mostjarring irony is the fact that,
for years, mr mugabe has spent taxpayers‘ money travelling abroad for his own healthcare. we know that every — every other month, president mugabe, even for eye cataract, president mugabe goes to singapore, president mugabe goes to the far east. he doesn't even trust his own public health system. and tonight, news that the backlash may be working — the who announcing a rethink. mr mugabe's goodwill ambassadorship may prove to be short—lived. andrew harding, bbc news, johannesburg. army bomb—squad specialists have been called to the nuclear reprocessing plant at sellafield, to deal with hazardous chemicals found in a lab. the chemicals, contained within a number of canisters, were discovered during a routine audit at a laboratory at the site in cumbria. they contained industrial solvents which are potentially flammable
in liquid states and can crystallise, becoming unstable when exposed to air. sellafield limited, which runs the plant, said there's no reason for people living locally to be concerned. they are inside the laboratory which we are in the process of decommissioning so that is the nature of the beast here, at sellafield, as we uncover some of these things, then we deal with them in the most safe manner as quickly as possible. police in northern ireland are investigating the murder of a woman, in belfast. the victim, who was 51, died shortly after being found distressed and injured in the back garden of a house in finaghy, on the outskirts of the city. two men in their 20's were arrested a short time later, at an address two miles away. a local politician said the alarm was raised after neighbours heard screams at around 7 o'clock this morning. speed limits through motorway roadworks in england could be raised from 50 to 60 miles per hour. the proposed changes follow trials which found drivers would feel safer
at higher speeds. sophie long reports roadworks — some of them go on for mile after mile. the current speed limit is normally 50mph, but highways england says that could be increased to 60. they conducted trials with heart rate monitors measuring d rivers‘ stress levels as they pass through roadworks at different speeds. 60% of them recorded a decrease in their average heart rate in the 60mph zone. in the 55mph zone, there was a decrease in 56%. what you find at 50mph is many trucks have their speed limited to 56mph. and, therefore, they try and drive faster, they tailgate cars a foot off their bumper — that becomes incredibly dangerous. so, on those stretches, if you can have 55mph or 60mph, you'll get less tailgating, fewer drivers studying their speedometer, and it really can be safer.
but what about people working on the motorways? the unite union, which represents them, say these proposals ignore their safety. they say, in recent years, a number of motorway workers have been killed, and increasing speed limits will make their working conditions even more dangerous. motorists have mixed views. it would make myjourney a lot shorter, because immediately i'd start thejourney, i'm experiencing the 50mph speed limit straightaway, so 60 would be an improvement for me. i think that's too fast, especially when there's people on the roadside, men working on the road. i think that's too fast, that's dangerous. the speed limit should be 50mph, it's that for a reason. even that's pretty fast, if a car goes past. if a car passes you at 50, you can feel the speed of the wind from the car, i think it is too fast. highways england says it's carrying out further tests to ensure it can be done safely,
but the changes could be brought in by the end of the year. sophie long, bbc news. the majority of households have experienced problems with their broadband over the last year, with slow speeds the most common complaint. a survey by ‘which‘ suggested customers of virgin media, talktalk, sky and bt were the worst affected. our personal finance correspondent simon gompertz reports. frustration with broadband is boiling over in some households. we've become so dependent on it for shopping, banking and entertainment that the internet not working can drive people mad. it cuts out more than it should. i live in the countryside, and it's terrible there, like 5 megabytes per second is the maximum you'll ever get. speed in my area doesn't actually work as well as it should. depends on where you live. i live in, like, a newbuild apartment, so yeah, i mean, the speed's pretty good, so i get what i pay for. which?‘s survey shows 21% of customers had problems with speed, i7% experienced frequent dropouts in the connection, 12% had a wireless router fault, and 8% had no connection
at all for hours or days. with talktalk, 33% said their speed was very slow, 22% in the case of bt, while 38% of virgin customers complained about price increases. talktalk says it is disappointed and its extensive investment programme has already led to fewer faults and quicker repair times. virgin says its service is faster, and the majority of its customers get their advertised speed or above at peak times. there is a regulator, ofcom, with the job of making sure the companies provide what they promise. it says they must up their game. simon gompertz, bbc news. the headlines... in a passionate appeal for the defence of catalonia's rights, carles puigdemont says he will not accept madrid's plan to curb the region's powers.
after growing international criticism the world health organisation says it's rethinking its decision to make zimbabwe's president robert mugabe a good will ambassador almost a month after hurricane maria devastated puerto rico, the us territory is still struggling to provide basic services like electricity and running water. 3a people were killed by the storm, and some estimates have put the cleanup bill as high $95 billion. speaking on thursday, president trump gave his administration "10 out of 10" for its handling of the disaster. but there was strong criticism of the response from the very start and some of the strongest came from carmen yulin cruz, the mayor of the island's capital. she's been speaking to the bbc‘s yalda hakim. in one of his tweets, president trump said that puerto rico is more or less broken. it has broken infrastructure, it is in trouble, it has debt. none of those things
are factually incorrect? no, they're not. tell us something we didn't know, right? what is incorrect is for a president that is supposed to be the commander—in—chief to become the hater—in—chief, and to become the person thatjust tweets away his hate. that's what is incorrect. do you think it became personal, for you? i mean, do you think — he called you nasty, you called him a hater—in—chief, that it became too personal? it is personal. when my people are being left to die, it is personal. who was the one who spoke about the debt? the president. who was the one they called us ingrate? the president. who was the one that threw paper towels at us? the president. so hey, i'm not going to start a fight, but i won't shy away from one either, when my people are in danger or fighting for their life, which is what is happening here. when you deny people clean water, you are denying them any rights.
is he denying puerto rico clean water? it's not enough. if — if you're not giving people what they need, and you are chaining me to a piece of legislation that does not allow others to help me, then you're making me just depend on you. and that is not the spirit that the american democracy was made of. you choose to play, or not to play. yeah. you know, we're getting food through churches, faith—based organisations, community leaders, and we have 21 community kitchens that have sprung up. that this morning on the planned release
secret information about the assassination ofjohn f. kennedy. the bbc‘s laura bicker has the latest from washington. they were locked away 25 years ago, by law, to try to quell conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of president kennedy. it didn't work, because a recent gallup poll showed that around 30% of americans believe that the man accused of assassinating john f kennedy did not act alone. he, of course, was shot and killed before he had his day in court. now, the files that historians really want to pore over surround oswald's visit to mexico city just a few weeks before the assassination. it is there he met with cuban and soviet spies and it's alleged he announced his intention to kill the president — although that has not been made a fact as yet. now, when it comes to these documents, they will be released on thursday, unless president trump says otherwise — and his tweets suggest that he will — unless a strong national security argument is made. so decades of secrecy might be about to come to an end. a billionaire businessman
in the czech republic has scored a convincing victory in elections to the lower house of parliament. andrej babis, the country's second richest man, emerged with 30% of the vote — not enough to govern alone but far ahead of his rivals. a far—right islamophobic party also made strong gains while liberal, pro—european parties faltered. rob cameron has more from prague. this is what success looks like for a man who has already tasted so much of it. his business empire controls much of czech agriculture, chemicals, and the media. now, he has set his sights much higher. after almost four years at the finance ministry, the slovak—born business tycoon is on the brink of becoming prime minister. translation: i've already congratulated all the chairmen
who got into parliament, and we hope that they will be willing to deal with us. i think it will be good to have a stable government for our country, which will fight for our interests. it was a result few had predicted. andrej babis‘s prospects had dimmed in recent months after a string of scandals — two separate criminal investigations into claims he fraudulently obtained eu funds for a luxury resort. he said all of that was a campaign against him, a political witch—hunt by an establishment terrified of his pledge to clean up corruption. "trust me," he said, and the voters believed him. populist, mildly eurosceptic, and hostile to immigration despite his non—czech origins, he has left the established centre—left and centre—right parties in tatters. instead, a host of new protest parties, including the far—right spd — they want to ban islam
in the czech republic, and also hold a referendum on leaving the european union. they are unlikely to get one, attitudes hardening here to the eu, and to migrants, and andrej babis has tapped into them. in a landmark ruling three years ago, india's supreme court recognised its estimated two million transgender people as a third gender, stating that "it is the right of every human being to choose their gender." now, the country's first transgender couple are planning a wedding. some people want to kill us. some people say that we are mad. some people even abuse us sexually. i'm a male—to—female transsexual person. i'm female—to—male transsexual. we are going to make
a new story in the life. it was very hard to be a person with gender dysphoria. now i'm happy that i became who i wanted to be. i'm getting minimum 3—5 calls every day. what to do, where to go for my hormone treatment, where to meet my doctor, so many, many questions they are asking. when i started doing these things, i was all alone. like, nobody was there to help me, so it was like laying my own path. so, if it happened with somebody else, ijust wanted to help them. i just wanted to work for the betterment and welfare of other people who are having gender dysphoria. i'll be doing that, but a small division will be there. especially females,
they want pampering. swansea is bidding to be crowned uk city of culture in 2021. wales‘s second city claims it could attract over a million extra visitors and a 31 million pound economic boost if it's awarded the accolade. it does face competition, though — from paisley, sunderland, stoke—on—trent, and coventry. nick higham has been to swansea to discover why it thinks it deserves the title. swansea and its magnificent bay. a place once famous for industrial grime and male voice choirs, the birthplace of the poet dylan thomas, now hopes to be the uk's next city of culture. tammy davis grew up 15 miles away.
now she's back, performing cabaret in the city centre, and she's delighted by swansea's bid. nobody loves music like welsh people. i honestly believe that. when they say to be born welsh is to be born privileged — not with a silver spoon in your mouth but with music in your heart and soul. i believe that. that's how we're born. with music. ourvoices, ouraccents, sing. she is performing here at a new venue in the city's dilapidated high street. swansea has problems — high unemployment, homelessness, deprivation. the city of culture bid could be part of the solution. for decades, swansea has been struggling to revive a local economy which never really recovered from the collapse of traditional industries like this. bidding to be city of culture is one way of doing that and of turning the decaying legacy of the past into something positive — an engine of regeneration. this is all that remains
of hafod morfa, the largest copper foundry in what was once the copper capital of the world. next door, in swansea museum's warehouse, they have a model of the works in its heyday, surrounded by vast slag heaps. the pollution it produced was appalling. the city's past, including its maritime heritage, is an important plank in its bid. go and see the birthplace of dylan thomas, you can see where he did his early writings. you can come to swansea and visit a tate collection in the new glynn vivian gallery. we have the national waterfront museum and soon, we will have a brand—new, first—of—its—kind, digitalarena in the uk. this is what the digital arena will look like. they will build it anyway, but city of culture status could draw more visitors to swansea and make the locals feel good about the place. this youth theatre, busily rehearsing, occupies another previously empty building
in the high street. the director here knows what kind of city of culture he wants. it needs to be organic, community—led, cultural vision and practice. otherwise, it's not going to feed into a wider debate about real economic change. and this is one of three buildings colonised by artists, almost 100 of them. i could have easily worked at home but i wouldn't have this community, i wouldn't have that input, i wouldn't have that communication and what's going on and how we feed off each other, which is really important. outwardly a rather drab place, swansea turns out to have a vibrant flourishing cultural scene. they're already using it to revitalise and regenerate some of the city's poorest corners. nick higham, bbc news, swansea. one of the last letters written on board the iconic british ship
titanic before it sank has been sold for a world record price. the letter was written by an american businessman, oskar holverson, and today it was sold at an auction in england for $166,000. mr holverson had written the letter to his mother the day before the ship sank. it's the only letter on headed titanic paper to have survived the waters of the north atlantic. the ship hit an iceberg in april 1912, killing more than 1,500 people, including mr holverson. weather with chris fawkes. hello there. storm brian has been bringing some strong winds across the united kingdom over the last 2a hours. the centre of brian crossed northern england during saturday night and headed out into the north sea, where it was going to be weakening through the course of the day today. rain or showers, though, showing up on the radar picture. and we did have some strong winds around the coastline of wales and south—west england, yesterday.
the forecast was for gusts up to 70 mph, which wasn't far off the mark. inland, the forecasts were gusts to around a0 mph or 50 mph. and again, we had those kind of values across many inland areas. it was a kind of typical autumnal, windy day, wasn't it? now, those strong winds are still with us for the early risers, for the first part of the morning. outbreaks of rain across western scotland, north—west england, the north—west midlands, north wales. and the gusts were around a0 mph to 50 mph. irish sea coasts and up over the tops of the pennines, maybe one or two stronger gusts. temperatures 9—11 degrees first thing. so there is brian, working to the north sea, where it's going to continue to weaken and die during sunday. nevertheless, we'll get this area of rain extending from north—west england across the midlands for a time, and heading into east anglia and south—east england, before clearing out of the way. what follows through sunday afternoon will be a mixture of sunshine and showers. the majority of the showers across western areas of the uk, dry weather across the east. north—westerly winds, though, bringing cooler and fresher air, so temperatures a bit down on those of yesterday,
highs between 11 and 1a degrees. now, through sunday night, we'll see the next weather system approach, bringing rain to northern ireland, wales, south—west england. there'll be some low cloud around, some mist and hill fog patches developing. and the temperatures will be rising towards the south—west. 12 degrees or so as a low down towards south—west england. cooler conditions for a time across rural parts of scotland and north—east england. now, for monday, this strip of rain, this weather front, will continue to push its way in. so a lot of cloud, outbreaks of rain for many of us, heavy for a time for northern scotland. but then brighter skies work into northern ireland and scotland as we go through monday afternoon. it turns a bit milder, temperatures up to 17 degrees across some areas on monday afternoon, and that's a sign of things to come. on tuesday, we've got a trailing weather front across southern counties of england, bringing a lot of cloud, and the potential of some outbreaks of rain, as well. cloudy for many of us, but the best of the sunshine, really, for eastern scotland and parts of north—east england. notice the temperatures continue to rise. for many of us, between 14—18 degrees celsius — a sign of things to come, because as we head to thursday,
mild weather for this time of year. we could see highs reach 22 degrees. not bad for the middle of summer, pretty unusual for this late in october. that's your weather. this is bbc news, the headlines: catalonia's leader has made a passionate appeal for the defence of the region's rights, in the face of what he called a coup by the spanish state. carles puigdemont compared the actions of madrid to those of spain's fascist dictator general franco. thousands took to the streets to protest against the government. the new head of the world health organization says he's rethinking his decision to appoint zimbabwe president robert mugabe as a goodwill ambassador for the global health agency. it follows international criticism of mr mugabe's human rights record and zimba bwe's health infrastructure. millions of japanese people are voting in a snap general election. the prime minister, shinzo abe called the poll more than a year earlier than needed. if he wins, mr abe has proposed