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tv   BBC News  BBC News  March 18, 2018 3:00pm-3:31pm GMT

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the headlines: boris johnson dismisses russian claims that the nerve agent used to target the former russian spy in salisbury could have come from the porton down research laboratory. this is not the response of a country that believes itself to be innocent, this is not the response of a country which wishes to engage in getting to the bottom of this. snow and ice continue to cause disruption to road, rail and air travel in parts of the uk, forecasters predict temperatures will feel as low as minus ten today. my god, i nearly died! so, i'm in this club, and this car comes through! a man is arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a car was driven into a nightclub in gravesend, in kent. mps demand answers from facebook, after accusations that data from millions of users profiles is being mishandled without users‘ consent. and, in half an hour,
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click looks at the future of work and asks which jobs will go to the robots. good afternoon and welcome to bbc news. the foreign secretary boris johnson says the government has evidence russia has been making and stockpiling novichok, the nerve agent britain says was used to try and kill the former russian spy sergei skripal and his daughter in salisbury. mrjohnson accused the russians of "smug sarcasm" after their ambassador to the eu suggested the nerve agent could have come from britain's own porton down research centre, which is near salisbury. here's our home affairs correspondent daniel sandford. after two weeks of delicate investigation and decontamination
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work in salisbury, in which police officers and troops have had to take extraordinary precautions to protect themselves, the russian ambassador to the eu chose to hint that britain might have been responsible for the nerve agent attack. porton down, as we now all know, is the largest military facility in the united kingdom that has been dealing with chemical weapons research. and it's actually only eight miles from salisbury. you're not suggesting porton down is responsible for this nerve agent? i don't know. immediately afterwards on the same programme, this was the foreign secretary's riposte. this is not the response of a country that really believes itself to be innocent. their response has been a sort of mixture of smug sarcasm and denial, obfuscation and delay. and he insisted
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that the russians have been doing recent nerve agent research. we actually have evidence within the last ten years that russia has not only been investigating the delivery of nerve agents for the purposes of assassination, but has also been creating and stockpiling novichok. that was a direct lie that i was being given there? but you will get that. however the foreign secretary then had to concede that the wife of a former finance minister under putin had paid £160,000 in a conservative party auction to play tennis with him. did the tennis game actually happen? it did. and after signs of a gap opening up last week between labour leadership and downing street over the salisbury attack, this morning the labour position was much closer to the government's. putin has questions to answer because this is highly likely it could be a state execution, but what we don't do in this country is we don't leap to conclusions without the evidence. what we are saying to our international partners, working with the chemical weapons
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inspectors as well, working with porton down, we will now produce the evidence that leads us to a judgment that they can rely upon. the porton down military laboratory is where experts have spent two weeks analysing the rare nerve agent used. tomorrow, international specialists from the organisation for the prohibition of chemical weapons will arrive here to start their own independent analysis of what left yulia and sergei skripal fighting for their lives. daniel sandford, bbc news. earlier we spoke with tom burridge in salisbury. this is an international organisation,
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britain and russia both signatories to the organisation for the prohibition of chemical weapons and sending over a delegation, we understand, they will go to porton down, ministry of defence‘s labs, where british scientists have already done tests on samples of the nerve agent used on sergei skripal and yulia skripal. and the idea is that the international the idea is that the international organisation will take away a sample, possibly back to the hague, where the headquarters are, or another country, to independents authorities to independently verify whether the nerve agent is part of this group known as novichok, believed to have been formulated by the soviets in the late 1980s and early 1990s. the claim by the home secretary is very interesting, the british government saying they have evidence that russia has been developing of a jock nerve agents within the last decade. joining me now is tonia samsonova —
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the london correspondent for the echo of moscow radio station. what you think of the new accusations today, that russia has been making and stockpiling this agent. in russia, it is said that the uk has agreed to investigate alongside russia, together, presented as if we do not know who is in charge of this attack on salisbury, and together, with british friends, we will decide who is in charge of it. on the other hand, the icy that britain is being told all sorts of different things by russian diplomats and russian investigators, and we are entering into a very long period of investigation which is a long democratic procedure, so we do not know, and i think the whole story, the whole news situation, i think it is just to the whole news situation, i think it isjust to spend the whole news situation, i think it is just to spend more time and by the end of the investigation in three years, nobody would care. so
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you think both sides are playing for time? rushes buying for time, as with alexander litvinenko, the investigation could last three yea rs. investigation could last three years. it'll be so as it is now, who was behind the attack on salisbury. so the reaction will be muted, and thatis so the reaction will be muted, and that is what russia is doing. if i was on that side... what about what we hear from the russian ambassador to the the eu, this point that porton down research laboratory, quite close to salisbury, very strange in those circumstances that the leak would affectjust strange in those circumstances that the leak would affect just two russians and nobody else, but what do you make the allegation? we are investigating all people who comment this in public, they benefit from the fact that the british government
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and british secret service do not share for a reason all the details of the investigation. even if this is not true, only people not in a position to share to the general audience the fact that are contradicting what the ambassador says, they cannot do that. when we consume this information, we do not have any evidence to prove that it is wrong or right. those words are meant to be for us to understand something, that we are in doubt who is behind the attack. in order to sow is behind the attack. in order to sow confusion? yes. this is all happening at the time of the russian election going on, the presidential election, happening today. do you think these two things are related? this row over what happened in salisbury, and the presidential election? honestly i think it is not connected at all, probably, everybody very much involved in the
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elections, i cannot believe that people who are in charge of the presidential campaign are in a position to do something with foreign countries, or even if, we presume that somebody in russia is behind the attack, those who might have had access to this weapon, are not those in charge of the election. i would say the two stories are absolutely separate and it is just a coincidence. much of the uk has experienced it's second significant snowfall in the last few days. worst affected have been the north and east of the country and the snow is now falling in south wales and the aouthwest of england. combined with sub zero temperature and strong winds, the arctic weather has brought delays and cancellations to public transport and made driving conditions difficult for many. this is the current picture, most of the most serious warnings have now expired, but there is still an amber snow warning in place in the south west where forecasters say there is a risk to some rural upland communities. jane—frances kelly has the latest picture from across the uk. heavy snow made driving conditions
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treacherous on exmoor, in north devon. strong east or north—easterly winds allowed snowdrifts to build up and the met office says the snow could strand some vehicles and passengers. an amber weather warning meaning a possible risk to life is in place for much of south—west england. forecasters say there is a good chance that some rural upland communities could be cut off. around exeter, they have snowploughs to clear major routes. across the country, communities are spending the day trying to clear pavements and roads. rail companies and airports are warning people to check before travelling. bristol, east midlands and bournemouth airports
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were all closed during the morning, so runways could be cleared of snow. 0vernight conditions were treacherous further north, snowploughs had to be sent to clear the m62. in halifax, a car overturned. in barnsley, drivers in 4 x 4 vehicles towed motorists to safety. but a lorry proved just too much. in the north—east of england, roads remain hazardous. in consett, county durham, darren spent the morning digging his street out for his neighbours, even though he doesn't drive, but he enjoys the exercise. i haven't been to the gym for a week because of the weather, cannot be bothered to trudge through it, so i thought i would clear snow everyday! sporting fixtures, including a number of half marathons, have been called off, but it has not been doom and gloom for everyone, children have been getting out there sledges for the second time in a matter of weeks, with this weather set to improve over the next couple of days. our correspondent sarah walton
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is in barton—upon—humber in north lincolnshire. let's take a closer look. actually, we have seen things improve a little bit in the last couple of hours, less snowfall, what we have been left with is piles of snow standing around, very strong winds and ice. you can see the humber bridge, closed to high sided vehicles for a while, the snow has been drifting across roads in places. the a15 is open because there has been snowploughs and gritters up and down. small rural roads are not even passable by the snowploughs. they have been struggling to clear the roads. they have asked people to stay off the roads unless they need to travel. greater manchester police have said that conditions over
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the pennines were bleak, pictures earlier of a blizzard over there, and they are warning people to stay off the roads that go over high ground. we have had disruption today also on trains, south—western railway, great northern rail affected, so if you were thinking of getting a train later today, tonight, have a look at rail website before you set off. delay also from airports, bristol airport closed for a while, cancellations of planes out of heathrow and planes in the south, that is because planes have to be deiced before they can take off as a precaution, that adds extra time to the journey. if you are one of those people leaving for warmer climes, do check. conditions will improve in lincolnshire and yorkshire, the midlands and the north—west, things getting better as we move the afternoon. because there are large piles of snow, one foot deep in some places, they will take time to clear, so if you have to travel today, if you are out and about,
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take extra care, give yourself more time than you normally would. from one sarah to another, going down to devon, sarah ransome, in devon, the weather seems to be worsening. it came in at 11:30am, the met office had been forecasting it would come around then. they were not wrong, it came in a wave and a flurry, a dump of snow is how it would be described, temperatures dropped, then came the si'iow. you can see it coming in on the horizon, almost smell it coming, because there it came. when i left here early this morning about 5pm, the whole area around here was a smattering of snow, in the space of about 20 minutes, half an hour, suddenly three or four inches of snow came down, and still coming, as you can see. this morning we went up
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to a place called holden hill, if you look behind me you can probably see the sign that says torquay and plymouth, the right—hand turn that you need to take to get up to holden hill, and that is where some of the most treacherous driving conditions were this morning and still are, it has to be said, this afternoon. snowploughs out, firefighters clearing garage forecourts to try to help people, hgv vehicles get away from there, in fact, a number of hgv vehicles have been stacked up at junction 30, a mile or so from here, at the end of the motorway. conditions are so treacherous. look at the road now, barely any cars on it, because it is so difficult and treacherous that police are making sure they clear the roads, they have snowploughs, tractor plough is going up and down, gritters have been out relentlessly overnight, to try to clear the pathways. the headlines: the foreign office
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has dismissed claims that the nerve agent used to target the former russian spy in salisbury could have come from the nearby porton down research laboratory. snow and ice continue to cause disruption to road, rail and continue to cause disruption to road, railand air continue to cause disruption to road, rail and air travel in parts of the uk. some police forces are advising motorists to avoid nonessential travel. a man's been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a car was driven into a nightclub in gravesend, in kent. thirteen people have received treatment for injuries. in sport: great britain have won their first gold in sport: great britain have won theirfirst gold medal at in sport: great britain have won their first gold medal at the winter paralympics. menna their first gold medal at the winter pa ralympics. menna fitzpatrick their first gold medal at the winter paralympics. menna fitzpatrick and her guidejen kehoe topped the podoim in the visually—impaired slalom with millie knight and brett wild taking the bronze for the paralympicsgb team too. southamton have taken the lead in their fa cup
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quarter final against wigan. pierre—emile hojbjerg with the goal in mark hughes' first game as the southamptn manager. they've also had a penalty saved. just a few mintues left —— southampton. just a few minutes left. 2—0, with a couple of minutes left. 2—0, with a couple of minutes to play. and the scottish prmeiership leaders, celtic are being held by motherwell — it's 0—0 with the second half about to start. motherwell are down to ten men after cedric kipre saw a straight red card for kicking out at scott brown. details on those stories and more, in around one hour's time. president trump has said the sacked deputy director of the fbi, andrew mccabe, did not taken any notes at meetings between the two men. the comments follow reports that mr mccabe delivered detailed notes of their conversations to robert mueller, the special counsel investigating russian interference in the presidential elections. us media suggest the memos could support claims that mr trump sought to obstruct justice. in a tweet president trump said he had spent very little time with the former deputy director of the fbi, andrew mccabe, and refuted claims that notes had been taken in the president's presence. explain what this is about and why
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these notes matter? andrew mccabe was deputy director of the fbi and also there whenever president trump fired the then director of the fbi, james comey, that was very controversial and something that is still being a contentious issue that is fought out. james comey is due to release a book next month in which he says he will reveal more about some of the stock —— some of that. andrew mccabe rarely took notes in that period, he kept notes of conversations with president trump, he has now given those to the special counsel, robert mueller, subsequent to his firing. it is fairto mueller, subsequent to his firing. it is fair to say president trump has really been pushing for the
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firing of andrew mccabe, andrew mccabe stepped down from his position in january, was mccabe stepped down from his position injanuary, was due to retire actually today, he would have retired on a full pension after more than 20 years in the fbi. that is now put in jeopardy by the fact he was fired some 26 hours before today, which is his 50th birthday. you have this very contentious argument between them, about what was said and what was done, and all of these details have now been passed on to robert mueller, special counsel, who is looking at allegations of russian interference in the us election back in 2016. i whole range of other matters as well which have shot off from that effectively. sounds like president trump, with his tweet, is attempting to undermine the credibility of the notes. beyond that, andrew mccabe claims that he is trying notjust to taint him and the fbi but taint law enforcement agencies more generally
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and specifically trying to discredit the robert mueller investigation into these claims of russian interference. now, that is a serious allegation but it's got to be remembered that yesterday, president trump's own personal lawyer gave a statement in which he said, following the firing of andrew mccabe, he wished that they would go on and they would basically end that whole investigation being taken place by the special counsel, he initially said that he was speaking on behalf of the president. he later clarified that was his own personal view and not the president's however, president trump has been tweeting about the robert mueller investigation today, he says: the probe should never have been started, there was no collusion. he uses started, there was no collusion. he uses the phrase witchhunt. there is a growing feeling in washington that the white house, after setting its sights on andrew mccabe, is now setting its sights on the mull investigation taking place and that
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is worrying politicians, notjust democrats but also some republicans. —— mueller. those are people within donald trump's own party, to give you an idea, the senator is not a fun of donald trump in any way but he said he believed the latest comments were aimed at the firing of robert mueller, it seems to be building to that, i hope it does not go there, because we cannot accept that. another republican senator, lindsay graham, said, the only reason robert mueller should be dismissed is for calls, if you try to do that, that would be the beginning and end of his presidency, because we are a rule of law nation. there is a building dissonances between the republican party and their president. a man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after at least 13 people were injured when a car was driven into a busy nightclub in gravesend.
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it's thought the car drove into a covered smoking area at bla ke's nightclub. our correspondent simon jones at the scene sent us this update. well, the police remain at the scene, they were initially called here just before midnight, that was after clubbers heard a big bang, able trying to enjoy their night out, suddenly, a 4 x 4, ploughed into a tented area at the end of the alleyway behind me, there was panic, people screaming, one of the people inside the club said that she sent a text to her family to say she loved them because she did not know what was going to happen. security staff quickly took charge of the situation and got people out of the tented area into the main part of the club and people were allowed to leave through the back entrance. the police say at least 13 people have been injured, those are the 13 they know about but they believe their are other people who may have suffered injuries and left the club of their own accord, they are being asked to contact police. we are told the injuries are largely broken bones rather than any life—threatening injuries. the police say a 21—year—old man has been arrested on suspicion
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of attempted murder. according to the police, they believe he had left the club earlier in the evening, after an altercation. for the people inside, a frightening situation, the owners of the club have put a statement on their facebook page saying they are very sorry people had to experience this and there are thoughts are very much with those who are affected, those who witnessed it, those who have been injured and with security staff who had to deal with the aftermath of it. the chair of the digital, culture, media and sport select committee has accused the data analysis firm hired by donald trump's presidential campaign team of deliberately misleading it. damian collins said the chief executive of the firm, cambridge analytica,
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had made false statements when he denied receiving secretly harvested data of millions of american facebook users. when you click "like" on facebook, when you join something using your facebook profile, most people don't know what that triggers. it triggers a whole chain of data being handed over, effectively, to strangers, what this case is doing is highlighting that. four years ago an app was developed in the university of cambridge which harvested personal information of facebook users plus all of theirfriends! almost certainly unwittingly, for all of their friends, and that information was given to cambridge analytica, no relation to the university, which in turn worked on the donald trump campaign in 2016. that company was before mps last month, as was facebook, to talk about the husbandry of personal information. and damian collins, today, wrote to the company and said it seemed clear they do literally misled the committee and parliament about giving falls statements, they
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also said they were very critical about facebook, social media giant, and would be inviting mark zuckerberg or a very senior official to appear before mps as well, this is what he told me earlier this morning. —— false statements. i don't think facebook was straight with us, they have known about this data breach for over two years. they did nothing to make sure that the data taken was destroyed properly, as they requested it should be done. i don't think they have notified users and the lawyers tried to stop the guardian and the observer publishing the story in the first place. looks like facebook were trying to avoid difficult questions about this, and people will rightly be concerned about other data breaches that we do not know about, how effective are facebook at stopping people taking data from their platform and using it in a way that suits them? a whistle—blower has been talking to the new york times,
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to the observer, to channel 4 news. chris wylie, who worked with this company, cambridge analytica, and he of course claims that 50 million facebook user profiles were acquired from this app, developed four years ago, facebook pushes back hard and said there was no breach, definitely, of its data, and says people, when theyjoined this app, they did so knowing notjust there but all of their friends personal information would be tapped into. they are not updating the statement in the light of comments from the chair of the select committee. as for cambridge analytica, have not heard from them, they say they did not use any of the information that they harvested from this infamous app, in the us presidential election of 2016 and that they only used legally acquired data,
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fairly, in also consensus. voting is under way across russia in the country's election, in which president putin is expected to win a fourth term in office. there are several other candidates but his main rival alexei navalny has been barred from taking part after being convicted of fraud, a charge he says was politically motivated. from moscow richard galpin reports. richard, obviously one of the key things about the presidential election is turnout, tell us about that, first. the turnout we are getting from the national election commission is 52.6% at the moment, obviously that could change. voting is continuing, still another few hours of voting to go. so, we have to wait and see if it is going to reach the number they wanted of around 70% or not. certainly, just from this pollen station, there has been a steady stream of people coming through. the
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expectation that vladimir putin will get his fourth term, as you say, but is that what people are saying to you, is there are a lot of enthusiasm for this fourth term for him? i think there has been quite a problem for the kremlin, they launched quite a big campaign to try to galvanise people to go out and vote, they were quite worried that there would be apathy. he has been in power since the end of 1999, there is a sense, what is the point of voting again, we know what the result will be, there is little point. a pretty dynamic campaign by the kremlin, certainly in the last few weeks, of trying to get people to go out and vote. even initially, he did not himself do much campaigning, then he went to various places in the run—up to the vote today. here, what a lot of people coming out, anecdotally. we are very
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focused on the russian role, alleged, at any rate, in elation to events in salt spray. what is the focus of the election campaign, what is president —— what is president putin saying he will give the russians if he gets another six hours years in russia? —— in racing to events in salt spray —— salisbury. all the problems they have from the west, blood and putin he is the tough man in command of his role, longevity, experience, all used to enhance his status here. and everything that has happened in the last couple of weeks with the poisoning in salisbury, the retaliation by moscow to the sanctions announced by theresa may last week, the russian response
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coming yesterday, just before the election. he is standing up as the strongman for russia. and the person who has changed russia, it has developed an enormous lot since he came to power at the end of 1999. whyatt let's catch up with some weather. darren has the latest on the snow. it will gradually turn milder but we are not yet finished with the snow. we still have some mornings from the met office, an amber warning to the south—west of england, devon and cornwall, with snow expected to continue into the early hours of the morning. quite heavy snow over the hills. snowy across the south—west, like patches now coming in a cross of


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