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tv   BBC News  BBC News  March 18, 2018 4:00pm-4:31pm GMT

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the headlines: borisjohnson 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 matter. 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 21—year—old man is being questioned on suspicion of attempted murder after a car
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was driven into a nightclub in gravesend, in kent. a teacher from this country has become the first british woman to win an international teaching prize. a winning start for southampton‘s new a winning start for southampton's new manager, mark hughes, as they humiliate wigan to go through to the fa cup semifinals. and in half an hour here on bbc news, money for nothing goes to finland, where the government there is giving money away with no strings attached. good afternoon and welcome to bbc news. the foreign secretary borisjohnson 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
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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 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
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itself to be innocent. their response has been a sort of mixture of smug sarcasm and denial, obfuscation and delay. and he insisted 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
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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 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, britain and russia both signatories to the organisation for the prohibition of chemical weapons and sending over
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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 and yulia skripal. 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 of nerve agents, 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. anything happening in terms of the investigation today? much of the uk has experienced it's second significant snowfall in the last few days.
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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. it was also a difficult night for thirty runners who were treated for hypothermia as the weather worsened during an endurance run last night in north yorkshire. —— dirty. —— 30 runners. 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 until 3am tomorrow morning — 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 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.
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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 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. 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,
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even though he doesn't drive, but he enjoys the exercise. she went to stay at a friends, she came back last night, the police stopped her and said, came back last night, the police stopped herand said, can came back last night, the police stopped her and said, can you stay at the community centre. she has been stuck there for about 12 hours. the weather conditions caught out one father, who went to collect his daughter. 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 their sledges for the second time in a matter of weeks, with this weather set to improve over the next couple of days. at least 3a schools will be closed
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in devon, and flybe have cancelled flights to and from exeter airport for the rest of the day. our correspondent sarah ransome is in haldon hill for us now. bring us up to speed. 34 schools have said that they will be closed throughout devon, with the weather looking like it is and threats of more snow flurries and the amber warning staying in place until the early hours of the morning, those numbers could rise. we have been hearing over the course of the afternoon that one hospital at least has been asking for volunteer drivers, who have four by four vehicles to help ferry staff to and from the hospital because the weather is so severe. i am a holden hill, you may be able to see behind me, one or two hill, you may be able to see behind me, one or two cars on hill, you may be able to see behind me, one or two cars on the road, earlier on today, severe problems for drivers and hgv drivers try to get up and down the road. —— haldon
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hill. it was so severe, the snowfall, it came within about 20 minutes, very heavy dump of snow, four or five inches in that short period of time, that caused quite a few problems for drivers. all night, and today, all throughout today, gritters and tractor ploughs have been out, keeping those lanes as clear as they can, occasionally lanes had to be closed because they needed to halt the traffic to make it safe for drivers. there are roads are black, drivers able to pass with caution. but, and it is a big but, some snow flurries we have been talking about, still snowing this afternoon, no letup, they will continue on and off through the day, temperatures are dropping again, and with that, of course, overnight, that could mean a lot of water on the ground, a lot of on the ground, some of that could turn to ice, and so the message, for
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emergencies averages, a number of accidents on some a roads, in spite ofa accidents on some a roads, in spite of a roads. these do not come out until you have absolutely got to come if yourjourney is fine. —— a—roads. unless you have got to do that, please stay at home. the only other thing, we mentioned in the intro, a little more on the air travel, some flights from exeter have been cancelled. that's right, some flights from exeter have been cancelled and there has been disruption throughout, not just on roads, eyes i was talking about, but on trains, south west trains, great western trains, they have all said, if you are planning to travel today, please check before you leave because there has been disruption, whether it be by train or plane. the messages, check with your airport or train station, or provider, to see if they can go, that applies for tomorrow morning as well. this amber warning will continue until the
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early hours of the morning, that means there is a severe possibility of disruption. with that in mind, and obviously talking about the numberof and obviously talking about the number of schools closing, number of hospitals, some of them asking for volunteer drivers to get staff to and from work, they are asking, they are saying, please check, don't make your journey any more are saying, please check, don't make yourjourney any more difficult than it might already be, or make the emergencies averages it might already be, or make the emergencies averages come it might already be, or make the emergencies averages come out to collect you because you have not heeded their warning. thank you for bringing that to us on a bitterly cold sunday afternoon. 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. 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 herejust before midnight, that was after clubbers heard a big bang, able trying to enjoy their night out,
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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 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,
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it was a very frightening situation, and 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. one of those who experienced it was chloe germaney. she explains to us what she saw. i arrived at 11 o'clock. when i arrived, there was a man shouting because he got sent out. he was restrained, whilst shouting and swearing. i was in the club for an hour, 45 minutes. we heard a massive bang, we went to the smoking area, by the shisha bar bit, by the lounge,
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and there was a big 4x4 driving about. it went by the gate and into the shisha lounge and it was hitting people. the security guard said, run, get back in. everyone was screaming and shouting and pushing. we went back in, and after about five minutes, people were back in, we locked the doors, —— available the doors, they were playing music to come down a little bit but it did not can anybody down. everyone was screaming and saying, go to the other exit. we all literally ran to the other exit but nobody could get out, everyone was pushing, there was loads of fights. everyone left their coats. at first i thought it was a terror attack, because i thought there was more people in here. i thought anyone who came through the door was going to kill us. i send my family a text message saying where i was and saying i love them. i did not know what was going to happen. we were told to leave the club immediately. 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. a full round—up of all this afternoon's action from the sports centre. fa cup quarterfinals we can,
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southampton will be in the draw tonight for the semifinals, mark hughes first game as manager, they have beaten league 1 side wigan, 2-0. have beaten league 1 side wigan, 2—0. pierre—emile hoyberg fired in from a second—half corner for their first goal, and then defender cedric soa res first goal, and then defender cedric soares scored his first goal for the saints, confirming the victory in stoppage time, although a brilliant penalty was stopped early on in the match by the wigan goalkeeper. —— pierre—emile hojbjerg. it was southampton's first victory by more than one goal in over a year, they are through to the semifinals. before i arrived people questioned this group and perhaps questioned my appointment. it is only one win, but it isa appointment. it is only one win, but it is a statement of intent, we have a lot of work to do in the premier league. we have enjoy this moment, and it is a wembley semifinal, which isa and it is a wembley semifinal, which is a great experience for the fans to look forward to. chelsea kicked off against leicester city at 4:30pm, for the final semifinal
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place full of the chelsea manager antonio conte says hjis team's focus is fully on the fa cup, now they are out of the champions league and cannot win the premier league title. it is important for the fans, if we win, we can play another semifinal at wembley, in this competition. any competition is important for us. this must be our target. celtic are ten points clear at the top of the scottish premierhsip, but couldn't find a breakthrough against 10—man motherwell. —— premiership. the match finished goalless, but motherwell had to play more than 50 minutes a man down, after cedric kipre received a straight red for kicking out at scott brown.// celtic pushed for a winner, with patrick roberts going the closest to opening the scoring — but the home side hung on great britain have won their first gold medal at the winter paralympics on the final day of the games. menna
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fitzpatrick and her guide jen on the final day of the games. menna fitzpatrick and her guidejen kehoe topped the podoim in the visually—impaired slalom with millie knight and brett wild taking the bronze for paralympicsgb too. it was the golden moment they had been waiting for. the pair were in silver medal position going into the second run and displayed a perfect performance, the time was unbeatable. there are fourth medal here in pyeongchang, to become britain's most successful winter paralympians. we are running on adrenaline at the moment because this first bronze was just an incredible achievement to finish the race and win a medal, and then to finish on a gold medal, and put in one of our strongest performances this week, is beyond words. it has not sunk in and i think probably will not until we get back to the uk and back in our own beds and have a lie in. further success as millie
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knight and guide brett wild managed to sneak the bronze in the same race, which means paralympics gb have reached their target of seven medals. all dependent on one sport, one classification and a small number of athletes. we came into these games with clear potential on both snow and ice, the wheelchair curlers have had a tough week, but i think from my perspective, as chef de mission, i am proud of every single one of the 17 athletes who came here to pyeongchang to represent paralympics gb, yes, the medals came from snow, but every one of those athletes gave it their all. so, the brits have had plenty to cheer about, and with more nations taking part than ever before, and a record number of tickets sold, the international pa ralympics committee can also celebrate. they move these games to be the greatest winter paralympics to date. that is all for now, plenty more on the bbc sport website, we will have more at 5:30pm. the turkish president says the
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northern syrian city of afrin is now under turkish control after its troops backed by syrian allies, entered the city centre. turkey has been engaged in a two—month battle with kurdish fighters over the city, in northern syria. the kurdish administration of afrin says its forces will now strike turkish and allied militia positions at "every opportunity". mark lowen has this update from istanbul. the sound not a battle but of celebration, syrian rebel fighters backed by turkey, taking the town of afrin after a lightning advance. there are flags marked the new order here. the ypg, kurdish militia, had promised to fight to the death in afrin but in the end their resista nce afrin but in the end their resistance looked to melt away. afrin fell within hours, the vestiges of the ypg wiped away in a few hours. in the name of god the
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merciful, we are now inside afrin liberated from terrorism, the city has returned to the syrian revolution and we call on all residents to come back will stop the scars of this two month—long offensive are everywhere, a town in circles and besieged, residents fleeing the turkish advance. over 150,000 people are said to have escaped in recent days. a triumphant president announced the success. turks from all sides have rallied behind an offensive targeting a group they say are links to kurdish militants within turkey, crushing age—old foes is a regular writing force in this otherwise polarised country. translation: most of the terrorists have already fled with their tails between their legs. our special forces and members of the free syrian army are clearing the remaining pockets of resistance. in the centre of afrin, symbols of trust and stability waving instead of the rags of terrorists. as a
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kurdish statue in central afrin was torn down, a bad omen for the much needed reconciliation. many residents who will return our kurdish, hostile to turkey and syrian arabic writers. in some areas of afrin, the rebels were welcomed as liberators, the question now is whether turkey will push on to the ypg held territory, that will be discouraged by the west, which sees the kurdish as vital allies. but for now, victory is being savoured, and eight years into the wall, each side continues to carve it up. from events in northern syria to the south. a second major military offensive continues in southern syria near the capital damascus. thousands of people are reported to have fled fighting in the rebel—held enclave of eastern ghouta today. the syrian state news agency has released this picture, showing president assad visiting army positions in eastern ghouta. the military has called on rebels
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to withdraw immediately from the remaining pockets of resistance in the region. politicians in the us, including republican senators, have warned president trump against trying to shut down the special counsel investigation into claims of russian interference in the 2016 election. donald trump has again called robert mueller‘s probe a witch hunt and his personal lawyer has called for an end to the inquiry. however mr mueller continues to gather information and its understood he has now spoken to andrew mccabe, the fbi's former deputy director who was sacked this weekend. joining me now is our washington correspondent, chris buckler, it isa it is a tangled tale, make sense of it for us. andrew mccabe was fired 26 hours before he was due to retire. already stepped down from
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his position as deputy director, he was fired just effectively on the eve of his retirement, as a result ofan eve of his retirement, as a result of an internal fbi investigation. it was a decision taken by the us attorney general, not president trump, however, he feels president trump, however, he feels president trump was putting on pressure, and certainly there was presidential pressure, you only had to look at some of his tweets that wanted andrew mccabe gone and he was no fan of him. on top of that, it does seem very clear that andrew mccabe believes he was trying notjust to taint him but also discredit the fbi, and indeed discredit robert mueller‘s investigation, special counsel investigation into these claims of russian interference in the 2016 election. president trump has been tweeting already today. he seems to be focusing on the idea that there were no notes of conversations, why does that matter
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so much? a lot of this is going to focus on donald trump's firing of james comey, he is the former director of the fbi, and therefore, andrew mccabe's former boss. andrew mccabe was there and witnessed the events and took notes of conversations with president trump but also notes of what happened surrounding james comey‘s firing. the question of james surrounding james comey‘s firing. the question ofjames comey‘s firing is something coming up time and again. he was fired for various different reasons, partly because of the hillary clinton e—mail scandal, his involvement in that, basically, state m e nts his involvement in that, basically, statements made at that time to the press, during the presidential election, politically controversial, but also donald trump has made clear that he was partly fired from his point of view because of what he was saying and what he was pushing as regards these allegations of collusion, these questions about russia. now, if you take a look at donald trump's e—mails today, again
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going back to the issues and saying the probe should never have been started, there was no collusion and no crime. he again called it a witchhunt and yesterday, his own personal attorney said, as far as he was concerned, this whole enquiry, this investigation should be shut down. initially he said he was speaking on behalf of the president, then he said he was speaking on behalf of himself, and not the president. however, it has worried politicians here. some of the senators from within the trump's own republican party have been saying: one, a member of his party, said, i don't know what the designs are on robert mueller but it seems to be building towards that, the idea that he could be fired, that is from jeff fla ke, he could be fired, that is from jeff flake, i hope it does not go there, we cannot in congress except that. another republican senator, lindsey graham, saying, the only reason robert mueller could ever be dismissed is for calls. if i have said before, if you try to do that,
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meaning the firing of robert mueller, that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency because we are a rule of law nation. sides are being draw, you get the impression that inside the white house, frustration and anger towards the probe by robert mueller. the big question, what will donald trump do next? 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. our correspondent richard galpin has been at a polling station station in moscow for us. 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.
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certainly, just from this pollen station, there has been a steady stream of people coming through. —— polling. obviously, the 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. —— here, quite a lot of people
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coming out, anecdotally. and, obviously, we are very focused on the russian role, alleged, at any rate, in relation to events in salisbury. what is the focus of the election campaign, what is president putin saying he will give the russians if he gets another six hours years in russia? in a nutshell, more of the same.


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