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tv   BBC News  BBC News  December 18, 2018 2:00am-2:31am GMT

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welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is mike embley. our top stories: it's official, russia used every major social media platform to spread propaganda and influence the 2016 election. the starving children of yemen. a special report from inside the country, as pro government forces suggest the ceasefire in hodeidah has been broken. back on the streets of budapest, protestors vent their anger against the fidesz government. the truly staggering scale of russian interference in the 2016 us presidential election, via social media, has been revealed, and two reports, prepared for the us senate, have found meddling on a far wider scale than previously thought. with words, graphics and videos, russian operatives targeted tens of millions of american voters to spread propaganda and help elect donald trump.
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the campaign also actively discouraged african americans from voting. president trump and the russian leadership have always denied any interference. on facebook alone, 20 russian—sponsored pages with names such as "being patriotic," "heart of texas," and "army of jesus," had a big impact. the posts on these pages were shared about 31 million times and got more than 39 million likes. overall, these pages managed to reach 126 million people. camille francois is senior researcher of graphika which prepared one of the reports for the senate intelligence committee. to talk to you. we have been given a snapshot the point is that scale goes far wider than that. —— good to talk to you. that's right. the scale
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is impressive on different account. the first thing that was surprising to us is how long this operation was in effect. millions of data points between 2009 and 2018, we looked at an operation that lasted nine years. the question is how many were used in this operation, the account that we re in this operation, the account that were present on facebook, instagram and twitter. 0n were present on facebook, instagram and twitter. on google plus they have websites, paypal accounts, tumble pages, credit accounts, you name it. they also used american technology providers to host their e—mails. they used yahoo, microsoft, gmail, it is a very large operation in scale. this is a huge bulk of research, how sure are you of these findings because you know there will be millions and millions of american saying this is just sour. be millions and millions of american saying this isjust sour. we were very careful to describe exactly what we were able to observe in the data. now, we are only dependent on
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the data that was provided to the committee american social media platforms. facebook, twitter and google gave data to the us select intelligence committee. they may be missing data in there, it might be the case that the operation is even bigger in scope, but i am confident that we are at least describing the operation that was conducted by the russians, yes. is your point that this is all untrue, wise or exaggerations, or is it true information, statistics cleverly targeted. there is nothing wrong with that, is there? well, it was a deception operation. the russians operated accounts that pretended to be news organisations, but they were not. they pretended to be activist organisations, they pretended to be american voters. sometimes they did
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talk about issues and problems that we re talk about issues and problems that were real problems, but it was a deceptive operation by nature. and coming from a hostile foreign power. what is the point, obviously to encourage some people particularly to vote, to discourage others and also to baffle people, can use people? creating chaos seemed to be an main point. —— confuse people. what is interesting from the data is operations that tried to put people on the streets and get this online activity to translate to flying events. in texas for instance, patrol farm organised to events on the same day and both sides of the streets trying to rally to different groups that had very competing and incompatible views and trying to encourage violence in the streets of america. and all kinds of american voters, as i understand, not only in the united states, of course. exactly. the other interesting part
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of this dataset shows that many other countries that were targeted. these were operations that first targeted domestic russian audiences, that then targeted eastern european audiences, but you also find activity targeting canada, france, the uk, targeting sweden. it is very wide in scope and a lot of this activity is still on analysed and it deserves to be looked at. the big question, do you think it made any big difference? that the poor little gods were just with donald trump. —— perhaps the political gods. gods were just with donald trump. —— perhaps the political godslj gods were just with donald trump. —— perhaps the political gods. i do think anybody would be able to a nswer think anybody would be able to answer that question. little scientist we're have always struggled to identify what makes or brea ks struggled to identify what makes or breaks an election. what we can say is it was a significant operation, wide in scope and reached tens of millions of american voters at. what is to be done about it? as you express it, it is a threat to
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democracy, isn't it? it is a threat to democracy. was interesting from the starter set is that you see the american platforms are coming more and more act it in detecting and taking down these bad accounts. here you see one platform is being a little bit ahead of the others, so some accounts are detected and suspended by facebook before they are detected and a suspended for instance, on twitter. you see that it is efficient —— efficient. 0nce they are detected they are no longer able to reach as many people. the accou nts able to reach as many people. the accounts are responding to these efforts, accusing the platform of ideological vices, they are trying to redirect traffic elsewhere, but ultimately attacking those accounts and suspending them before they are able to reach the millions of americans, is the right move and we see the platform doing more and more of that. we saw that around the us midterms and i think we will see more and more of this as we head towards 2020. and yet, as long as
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there have been elections and power struggles between human beings of people have told lies about their opponent. you could say that the old lady living in a cottage in the woods was a witch and she probably ended up being burnt at stake. what is different here is the scale of it the precise targeting. that's right. and the involvement of a foreign nation that seeks to really disrupt the democratic process and create chaos in the streets. it resembles espionage more than it resembles in accurate spreading of information, really. camille, thank you very much, very interesting to talk to you. thank you for talking to me. let's get some of the day's other news. the polish president has reinstated a group of supreme courtjudges after being ordered to do so by the european court ofjustice. poland's government had dropped the retirement age from 70 to 65 as part of broader changes that were widely condemned as an attack
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on the rule of law. france is to start taxing internet giants like google and facebook from the new year, after after eu—wide efforts stalled. countries including the uk and france have accused firms of routing some profits through low—tax eu member states such as ireland and luxembourg. big tech companies have argued they're complying with national and international tax laws. the family of a dying two—year—old boy in california say his yemeni mother is being prevented from visiting him by the trump administration's travel ban on visitors from seven mainly muslim countries. the boy's father, who was born in california, brought him to the us, expecting his mother would laterjoin them. turning now to the conflict in yemen. pro—government forces in yemen say a ceasefire in the red sea port of hodeidah has been broken, minutes after it came into effect at midnight local time. houthi rebels and the saudi—backed government agreed to halt the fighting at united nations—sponsored talks in sweden last week. but a government official said there had been renewed fighting almost immediately to the east of hodeida, which serves as a vital gateway for the delivery
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of humanitarian aid to millions of yemenis in danger of starving. cbs reporter liz palmer filed this report from a clinic where dozens of malnourished children and their mothers are being treated. this boy is two and so malnourished he weighs half of what he should. the nurse tries to feed him nutrition packed paste, but he does not want that. why would he refuse food? he can't keep it down. his muscles are so wasted, she tells me, he can no longer walk. there are 25 malnourished children and their mothers in this clinic but many more never make it to this small outpost in yemen's rugged north—west. this is dryland farming country, but venture off the main road and you
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will spot clusters of makeshift tents everywhere. at least 15,000 people have fled here after fighting and saudi air strikes destroyed their homes and their wives. the nurse introduced us to people of this camp, who crowded around two show us aspirations. they are so short of food that they are eating leaves. they are cooking these... yes, they say, even though it gives the children diarrhoea. and they wa nt to the children diarrhoea. and they want to know why isn't more help coming? the fact is, aid agencies are coming to help, but they are facing huge obstacles. meanwhile, the negro is more acute everyday. the nurse told me i can offer my compassion, but they need a whole lot more than that. elizabeth palmer, cbs news, for bbc news. protestors have once again taken to the streets of budapest for the 6th consecutive day against viktor 0rban's fidesz government. the latest focus is the headquarters
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of hungarian state television, which the demonstrators accuse of being a fidesz mouthpiece. nick thorpe sent this report. what marks of these protests apart from other demonstrations against fidesz government over the years is the simplicity of the main issue at sta ke. the simplicity of the main issue at stake. this is less about abstract issues like human rights and justice, and more about overtime, how many hours ordinary hungarians will have to work in the coming yea rs will have to work in the coming years and if and when they will ever be paid for their labours. it is also a bout immigration, because the reason that the government pushed through this new overtime war was the shortage of labour in hungary, so many young and skilled 0ntarians have drawn abroad in search of that opportunities. —— gone abroad.
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there is also, from the shouts of the crowd here, it is also about corruption. the crowds here allege that the government and those close to it are effectively stealing from the people. is also about state television and government control of the media. that is the point where it is becoming everything. so that problem, what we have in this country. you know, when i was 18 it was in 1990, we decided something else at that time. we didn't want a system like this now. the government is clearly hoping that the people here on the streets over these days will go home for the christmas holidays and not come out again in the new year. nick thorpe, bbc news, budapest.
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stay with us on bbc news, still to come: the south african runner beaten unconscious by white youths, a special report on a still divided rainbow nation. after eight months on the run, saddam hussein has been tracked down and captured by american forces. saddam hussein is finished because he killed our people, our women, our children. the signatures took only a few minutes, but they brought a formal end to 3.5 years of conflict, conflict that has claimed more than 200,000 lives. before an audience of world leaders, the presidents of bosnia, serbia and croatia put their names to the peace agreement. the romanian border was sealed and silent today.
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romania has cut itself off from the outside world in order to prevent the details of the presumed massacre in timisoara from leaking out. from sex at the white house to a trial for his political life, the lewinsky affair tonight guaranteed bill clinton his place in history as only the second president ever to be impeached. this is bbc news, the latest headlines: the us senate report concluded russia used every social media platform to help elect donald trump, reaching millions of voters. pro—government forces in yemen say a ceasefire in the red sea port of hodeidah has been broken, minutes after it came into effect. the saga in the uk's negotiations to leave the european union have ta ken another twist, as britiain's opposition leader, jeremy corbyn, tabled a motion of no confidence in prime minister theresa may, though it's unlikely to happen. it came after she announced that a vote on her brexit deal would now be held mid january. theresa may told mps she's
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still talking to the eu, but mr corbyn said the delay was unacceptable. the bbc‘s political editor laura kuennsberg reports. only if you believe in fairytales would you assume the government's not in trouble. i know the tagline's tomorrow... although these were only visitors to number ten today, not here to give political advice. but after delaying judgement day on her brexit deal, theresa may has now named the day. well, at least the week. mr speaker, many members of this house are concerned that we need to take a decision soon. am i right? we intend to return to the meaningful vote debate in the week commencing 7th of january, and hold the vote the following week. there'd been suggestions labour would call for a vote of confidence, but at 3:45pm, it was just criticism instead. we're left edging ever closer to the 29th of march deadline without a deal and without even an agreed plan in cabinet to get a deal. this, mr speaker, is
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a constitutional crisis, and the prime minister is the architect of it. the timetable has made plenty on all sides cross. bring forward the meaningful vote on her deal before the christmas recess. there is no reason to delay. let us have that meaningful vote this week. i honestly do not think that businesses and employers and our constituents will understand why this house is going on holiday for two weeks when we should be having the meaningful vote this week. isn't it the reality that this is not acting in the national interest, but in her personal interest? and neither her party nor the country will forgive her for it. if she were to go to the eu now and tell them in the face of their intransigence to tell them to get stuffed, a huge proportion of british people would be right behind her. after a couple of errors, you can see the prime minister slipping out on the left.
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she might‘ve thought today's ha ranguing was over. i've listened very carefully to what members on all sides of the house have said... butjust before 6pm, he was up again, so she had to sit back down. i'm about to table a motion which says the following — that this house has no confidence in the prime minister. then she was off. the opposition determined to isolate her further. but for once, theresa may's many tory opponents might back her up. i am a loyal conservative, and that requires me to support the prime minister, and i'll do so enthusiastically, and this is not hedging about. she is our leader, i will support her. we are not into playing parliamentary games on this. we understand the labour party has to do what it has to do on these things, but our main aim is to change the policy. there's trouble over the big brexit vote, though. mministers stretching the elastic of the government line. we need to find out where the will of parliament is, where the majority of mps will vote in parliament. nothing should be off the table, we should consider all options. plenty of ministers,
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mps and the opposition are frustrated by the delay to this vote, but stand down if you think jeremy corbyn's move is designed to topple the prime minister. it's a vote that wouldn't have that power. it could only embarrass theresa may. stopping short of what many of his own mps want him to do, to take a real shot at collapsing the government. but unless and until he thinks he could win such a vote, labour simply won't go that far. 0n the other side, unless and until she's forced to, theresa may, for her part, is not going to budge. so even though the brexit clock is running down, neither of the main party leaders show signs of making a radical move that could unblock the gridlock. the prime minister and her small band of allies are still trying to make her brexit compromise work. but on the clashing politics and all of the contradictory plans, there's plenty that
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still stands in her way. laura kuenssberg, bbc news, westminster. a tanker truck has exploded at an oil refinery near rio dejaneiro, in brazil, setting off a fire that raged for several hours. trucks and equipment nearby were engulfed by flames as massive plumes of black smoke lifed from the site, to the north of the city. at least six tankers were destroyed, but firefighters have brought the fire under control and there have been no injuries, according to local media. south africans have been celebrating national reconciliation day, a public holiday to encourage healing across the racial divide. but after more than two decades of freedom, there's growing evidence that racism is still embedded in the country. and in rural areas, violent attacks have undermined the idea of a "rainbow nation". 0ur africa editor fergal keane who reported on the end of apartheid, has travelled into the heartland for this special report. racism defined this country.
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it governed every aspect of life. and here on the platteland, the great swathes of farmland in the heart of the nation, divisions were especially deep. but in a black—ruled south africa, you might think those hatreds had gone away. think again. i've come back to a country where old animosities are flaring across communities. this is potchefstroom, where a young black athlete was brutally attacked last february. tha bang mosiako runs for south africa, but he was hospitalised after a beating by white youths. they were hitting me until i was unconscious. and i woke up in hospital, not knowing what happened. what do you feel when you see groups of young white men now? i feel really scared. i can't even go to town alone. travel 300 kilometres to the north—east, and you learn that racist violence
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can still be lethal. xolisile ndzongana was driving along this road in the town of middleburg one night lastjuly. he found his way blocked by a group of white men. cctv cameras captured their attack, a beating which killed the 26—year—old. xolisile's friend lawrence witnessed the violence. he's afraid and has asked us to protect his identity. they pull out my friend and beat him. when i tried to save him, it was too late. what were they saying? what words did they use? they used the k—word. black... kaffir, everything. oh, it was horrible. it was terrible. even now, i can't sleep peacefully. sometimes, i do dream about it. in the outside world, we looked at south africa and we thought this was the rainbow nation, that all of this was going to go away. you were wrong. it's not a rainbow nation.
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out on the platteland farms, whites complain of their fears, plans to take white—owned land without compensation, and attacks on white farms that have deepened their alienation. i could see david on his knees in front of me, and the one black guy just pulled the trigger. um... after that, life was just a blur. archival: and the flag which was the flag of the apartheid state is coming down in front of me... but what's caused the high hopes of liberation to evaporate? much of the wealth remains in white hands. corruption and misrule have undermined reform. and extreme voices, white and black, are deepening polarisation. it's almost as if the
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country has stood still, that 1994 didn't happen in the countryside. you know, there's a war that's been happening between black and white. but there are enough white south africans who want to make it work, who don't want to be racist. so how do we collaborate and how do we isolate those who are racist? and we should also do the same with the blacks. but this country has an endless capacity to surprise, as we discovered black on the platteland. this man is a young black farmer fighting a bushfire that threatens his home. and bernadette has come to help. we need more firefighters! 0ne shouldn't read too much into a single encounter, but what i'm seeing here, black and white neighbours helping each other in this crisis, is a powerful symbol of what's still possible in south africa. thanks, bernadette, you've
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been awesome, thank you. thanks for the petrol! you know, as farmers, we are so united. we have to help each other when there's fire, theft, whatever. we need to be together. right now in this country, there's a great deal of animosity, racial animosity. do you see any animosity? see any? 0ther neighbours arrived, reflecting the truth that hasn't changed in 25 years — south africans need each other. fergal keane, bbc news, on the platteland. musicians in the german city of dresden have performed a moving tribute to victims of the holocaust, playing on violins that belonged to jewish violinists, who died in auschwitz. music playing in the nazi camps some musicians were made to play to people
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as they were being led to the gas chambers. the instruments were restored by an israeli violin maker and played by a german orchestra. many of them hadn't been used in decades. that main news: reports released by the us senate revealed millions of americans were exposed to russian backed propaganda around the 2016 presidential election. the campaign of disinformation is said to have been clearly designed to bring donald trump to power. russia has a lwa ys donald trump to power. russia has always denied it interfered in the election. more news on the website. thank you for watching. hello there.
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we're looking at a spell of wet and windy weather today across the western side of the country. the heaviest rain and strongest winds are always across the western parts, that's close to this area of low pressure. weather fronts here, it's not one of those fronts that's going to come along in a dead straight line. there are pulses of energy running along the front and that brings uncertainty with the timings of our band of rain. nevertheless, if you're heading outside over the next few hours, the winds will be picking up and we'll see the rain getting into many western areas. in east, though, probably a dry start to the day but it is that bit cooler. the big pressure chart shows this area of low pressure quite nicely just to the north—west of the uk, with tightly—packed isobars telling you it is going to be windy. we've already seen there will be gales around across western parts. the winds could gust to 65mph across parts of wales and south—west england, particularly around the coasts and the hills. similarfigures to northern ireland. these areas also having some heavy rain, which could bring the risk of some localised surface water flooding issues. now, as i say, there's some uncertainty with this band of rain that will slowly and erratically push its way eastwards. it could clear eastern scotland a bit more quickly, but with showers following,
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and although most of the day will be dry across east anglia and south—east england, i couldn't rule out an odd passing shower here. wherever you are, though, with the southerly winds blowing, it will be a mild day. temperatures between 10 and 12 celsius. through tuesday evening, the rain will finally arrive and slowly push its way eastwards across east anglia, south—east england, north—east england too, before clearing overnight. our low pressure's still there for the middle part of the week. weatherfronts wrapped around the centre of low pressure. what that means is we'll have a blustery day on wednesday with a mixture of sunshine and showers, but the showers will tend to merge to give some lengthier spells of rain at times across western and southern areas, leaving the best of any dry weather and sunshine to the north and east. it'll start to get a bit cooler across the north of the uk, but those temperatures getting close to normal for this time of year. still relatively mild in the south. for thursday, the low pressure still on the charts, but it's filling, so we won't see such strong winds on thursday. the showers will be with us, mainly affecting the north—west
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of the country although a few will run through the english channel and clip into south—east england. sunny spells between the showers. temperatures close to normal in the north. still relatively mild further south. that's your latest weather. bye for now. ‘s this is bbc news, the headlines: reports released by the us senate say tens of millions of americans were exposed to a russian—backed propaganda campaign on social media during the 2016 presidential election. the studies say sites run by youtube, facebook and others were used to spread propaganda to help donald trump get elected. 0fficial sources in yemen suggest violence has continued to erupt sporadically in the port city of hodeida, despite a planned ceasefire agreed last week between the government and its houthi rebel opponents. violent clashes have continued for several days since the truce which is a key gateway for vital supplies of aid to the country's people. protestors have once again taken to the streets of budapest
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for the 6th consecutive day against viktor 0rban's fidesz government. the latest focus is the headquarters of hungarian state television, which the demonstrators accuse of being a fidesz mouthpiece. now on bbc news, time for a look back at monday in parliament.
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