welcome to bbc news. broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is reged ahmad. our top stories: how does it feel to be in canada? a warm welcome in canada for the saudi teenager whose efforts to escape her family gained worldwide attention. three people die and nearly 50 are injured in a powerful gas explosion at a bakery in central paris. another democrat throws their hat into the presidential ring — a former texas mayor julian castro announces plans to run for the us presidency in 2020. as central europe battles the worst snow in three decades forecasters say there's even more to come. a saudi teenager whose efforts to escape her family gained
attention around the world, has finally arrived in canada where she's been granted asylum. last week rahaf mohammed al-qanun barricaded herself in a hotel room at bangkok airport, to resist deportation. the 18—year—old feared she'd be killed by her relatives because she'd shared her story on social media and renounced islam. she arrived in toronto, from where nada tawfik reports. rahaf al-qunun arrived with a smile as she took the first steps into her new life. rahaf, how does it feel to be in canada? she was escorted out by canada's foreign minister, chrystia freeland, who was on hand to welcome her and to pass on flowers from one of ra haf‘s supporters. after chronicling her ordeal on social media, she chose this moment, now safely in toronto, to let another speak on her behalf. she wanted canadians to see that she's here, that she's well,
and that she's very, very happy to be in her new home. although she did comment to me about the cold. it's been a whirlwind journey for rahaf al-qunun. it's extraordinary that just a few days ago she was an unknown teenager and now she has commanded the attention of the world's media and reignited a debate about the treatment of women in saudi arabia. and i'm still in the room. rahaf al-qunun had been trying to reach australia by way of thailand when her passport was confiscated and she was told she would be deported. the 18—year—old barricaded herself in an airport hotel room and sent out fevered tweets saying that she feared her family would kill her for renouncing islam. i'm not leaving my room until i see unhcr. i want asylum. within a day, the campaign #saverahaf went viral, piling on international pressure. thai immigration police initially said her case was a family matter, but reversed course and placed her in the care
of the un's refugee agency. after a review, unhcr said she was a legitimate refugee. her family has denied any abuse. saudi arabia and canada have been on bad terms ever since ottawa criticised riyadh's arrests of women's rights activists in a tweet months ago. ra haf al-qunun's resettlement will likely exacerbate the already tense relations between the two countries. nada tawfik, bbc news, toronto. dennis horak is the former canadian ambassador to saudi arabia. he has first—hand knowledge of the two countries‘ often testy relationship, having been expelled from saudi arabia last august following ca nada's criticism of saudi's detention of women's rights activists. canada has offered her asylum. given
the dire state of relations between the dire state of relations between the two countries, would you make of the two countries, would you make of the decision? it is the right decision. kennedy did the right thing accepting her. it will likely have some kind of impact. we don't know how much but it will have an impact. we get the canadian minister next to her when she arrived in canada at the airport, do you think that was a good decision given the state of relations? think it was an inevitable decision. it has become a very political thing worldwide and obviously the government has made a point of emphasising. we should be
trying to make... this has gone through a lot. she is very young and trying to establish herself here. we hope there isn't any effort to try and exploit the situation for political or diplomatic game. diplomatic scoring points. this is about us, this —— this isn't about us, this is about her. we need to let her have time to settle in and find out where she is going to be living and all of these things. down the road, if she decides she wants to be an activist and be active in promoting women's rights, that great. that needs to be a decision left to her and i'm hoping the government try and as i said,
exploit the situation for political oi’ exploit the situation for political or diplomatic game. it's her life. there have been consequences for canada with the difficult relationship. it is my understanding there are no new trade and investment talks. given the problems for canada, do you think the country has made a choice, basically, to try not to salvage its relationship with saudi arabia? i think that they have done it made a choice. it is an important issue that we have accepted refugees here who has a legitimate claim based on the unhcr assessment. it's the right thing. i don't think it necessarily means that we can't continue to pursue effo rts that we can't continue to pursue efforts to try and re—establish and improve our relationship with saudi arabia. it might be a bump in the road. if we don't, the next few days, the next week or so will be
indicative of the intensity of the relationship, sorry, the intensity of the saudi reaction to this and if we manage this properly and don't try and make, scored dramatic points, we will tell them what we have done, why we have done what we have done, why we have done what we have done, why we have done what we have done and continue to try and re—establish a diabetic was necessarily the situation. —— i don't think. here in the uk, the british prime minister has warned mps, who're preparing to vote on her eu withdrawal deal, that a failure to deliver brexit would be "a catastrophic breach of trust in our democracy." she's written an article in the sunday express newspaper ahead of the crucial vote on tuesday, which she's expected to lose. government advisors are reported to have warned that backbench mps could then seize control of parliamentary business and even compel the government to delay brexit. three people, including two firefighters,
have died and nearly 50 others injured in a powerful explosion at a bakery in the centre of paris. firefighters have been tackling the blaze throughout the day, police suspect a gas leak caused the blast. our paris correspondent, lucy williamson reports. on the site of a local bakery, round the corner from the folies bergere, residents faced a charred and empty shell. the force of the gas explosion was felt in districts several miles away. along rue trevise, the blast shattered windows, blew out doors and sent locals and tourists into the street, straight from their beds. translation: when i walked past the entrance, i heard a huge explosion. i was hit by the debris. it's dry now and i washed off a bit, but there was a lot of blood on my neck and my head too. 200 firefighters were called in to help those trapped by the blast.
among those whose lives they saved was a colleague, buried for almost two hours beneath the rubble. but two other firefighters died. translation: firefighters were dealing with the blaze. the explosion is probably from a gas leak. it has had a very heavy toll on civilians, but also on firefighters who were on site. helicopters waited near the opera house to evacuate the wounded, some of whom are still in a serious condition. the explosion is being treated as accidental, but there's a risk of further fires and emergency work will continue all weekend. a crisis centre has been set up to house and care for the area's new homeless. this is not an lively part of paris packed with bars and theatres looks very different tonight. lucy williamson, bbc news, paris. well staying in france, the french government says about 84,000 people took part in the lastest round of yellow vest protests on saturday,
sharply up on last week's estimate of 50,000. but the interior minister, christophe castaner, said the demonstrations across the country had been largely peaceful. unlike past protests, there were fewer reports of property damage and injuries, although nearly 250 protestors were arrested nationwide. kim gittleson has more. from paris to toulon, what began as a protest against the now scrap fuel tax at the end of november continues to draw thousands of french demonstrators to the streets who say they're protesting against the rising cost of living. translation: i'm a civil servant and i don't have enough at the end of the month to take care of my son. is that normal after 25 years of service? at the end of the month, i'm reduced to eating pasta, and i'm not even the most unfortunate person here. in many of the cities, much of the yellow vest anger was directed at the french president, emmanuel macron. translation: let emmanuel macron
tell me that i need to make an effort. i work until 10pm four times a week. if i don't make the effort to feed my kids, who will? not him — he eats cake. for his part, mr macron is due to open the national debate on tuesday on how to tackle the grievances raised by the protesters. but with a number of demonstrators swelling once more, the question is if listening will be enough to put this highly visible movement to rest. kim gittleson, bbc news. the texas democratjulian castro has formally declared he wants to run for president of the united states. he's a former mayor of san antonio who went on to serve in president obama's cabinet. the announcement makes him the first hispanic in what looks set to be a crowded field of candidates vying for the position to challenge president donald trump in the november 2020 election. he's long been viewed as a rising star in the democratic party and it's likely he'll canvass for supporters on the liberal wing
of the party. here's how he made his announcement. when my grandmother got here almost 100 years ago, i'm sure that she never could've imagined thatjust two generations later, one of her grandsons would be serving as a member of the united states congress and the other would be standing with you here today to say these words, "i am a candidate for president of the united states of america." cheering and applause. so, who isjulian castro and what do we know about him? the 44—year—old is the grandson of an immigrant. his grandmother was born in mexico and he's used his family's personal story to criticise trump's border policy. he was the mayor of san antonio for five years from 2009 to 2014 and then went on to serve as secretary of housing and urban development underformer president barack obama. castro is the second candidate to formally launch a presidential campaign. former us representative john delaney has been running for more than a year. and us senator elizabeth warren has
formed an exploratory committee and has started holding campaign events. while more than a dozen others are exploring the possibility. the bbc‘s david willis in washington has more. the former mayor of san antonio in texas, he gave a speech at the democratic national convention four years ago and was the youngest member of barack obama's cabinet. but more than anything else, he's looking to become america's first hispanic president. it's a real american dream story, if you like. indeed, mr castro said today that his grandmother victoria who came to the united states from mexico nearly a century ago would have been amazed to know that one of her grandchildren would end up a member of the us congress. the other would end up running to president.
stay with us on bbc news. still to come: battling to clear the snow from the roads and rooftops of central europe with another metre forecast to fall on sunday. day one of operation desert storm to force the iraqis out of kuwait has seen the most intense air attacks since the second world war. tobacco is america's oldest industry, and it's one of its biggest, but the industry is nervous of this report. this may tend to make people want to stop smoking cigarettes. there is not a street that is unaffected. huge parts of kobe were simply demolished, as buildings crashed into one another. this woman said she'd been given no help and no advice by the authorities. she stood outside the ruins of her business. tens of thousands of black children
in south africa have taken advantage of laws passed by the country's new multiracial government and enrolled at formerly white schools. tonight sees the 9,610th performance of her long—running play the mousetrap. when they heard of her death today, the management considered whether to cancel tonight's performance, but agatha christie would have been the last person to want such a thing. this is bbc news. the latest headlines: the saudi teenager who fled to thailand in fear for her life has arrived in canada where she's been granted asylum. three people have been killed in a powerful gas explosion at a bakery in central paris. the us secretary of state, mike pompeo, says he's optimistic that the us and turkey can reach an agreement on a way to protect america's kurdish allies in syria after its troops pull out. us forces have fought alongside
the kurds in northern syria against islamic state jihadists. mr pompeo is on a middle east tour which is intended to reassure washington's allies following president trump's announcement last month that us forces would be withdrawn from syria. barbara plett usher is monitoring his trip from riyadh. this dispute with turkey over america's kurdish allies has overshadowed mr pompeo's sweeping mid east trip. but he told journalists he'd spoken with his turkish counterpart and thought an agreement might be possible — one that would allow the turks to defend their country from legitimate terror threats and would also protect those kurds who've been fighting the islamic state group alongside the americans and who he said were not terrorists. the turks think they are and have not publicly rolled back plans for military operations against them. mr pompeo really wants to turn the focus to countering iran. he is calling for a united arab front
against what he describes as its destabilising activity, and saudi arabia is key to that. but outrage over the recent saudi murder of the journalist jamal khashoggi has complicated the relationship. a senior us official said the americans wanted the saudis to give a more credible explanation of what happened and do more to punish the killers, and mr pompeo would press them on both points. barbara plett usher, bbc news, riyadh. south africa's governing party, the anc, has putjobs at the centre of its election camapaign as it launched its manifesto in durban. thousands of supporters turned out to hear party leader and president cyril ramaphosa outline his promises to transform the economy. mr ramaphosa also appealed for men to unite against what he called a major crisis of rape and sexual assault in the country. from durban, nomsa maseko reports: a show of force by tens of thousands of anc supporters as president cyril ramaphosa launched the party's election manifesto. it has been a while since
south africa's governing party pulled such a massive crowd. especially in kwazulu—natal, which is former president jacob zuma's home province, who was ousted in 2017 after nine years at the helm. this is an annual event, which sets the tone for the anc‘s plans for the year, but this time, it is even more significant. south africa marks 25 years since the first democratic elections and millions will be going back to the polls. most credible opinion polls suggest the anc will secure enough votes to form the next government. that's despite declining support and small economic growth. the party's president, cyril ramaphosa, has said the anc would do all it can
to regain the confidence of all south africans. today at the african national congress, we launch our 2019 election manifesto. we do so at a crucial moment in the history of our nation. after a period of doubt and uncertainty, we have arrived at a moment of hope and renewal. the new leadership has vowed to raise millions of dollars in foreign direct investment to drivejob creation, particularly among the youth and women. there are more unemployed, you know. so, cyril ramaphosa will take all the problems of south africa and will cover all of them. to fight poverty, unemployment, especially for women and the youth. another critical electioneering point will be the party's
land reform policy. and with the amendment of the constitution to expropriate land without compensation passed, the anc believes it's keeping its promises. nomsa maseko, bbc news, durban. let's get some of the day's other news. there's still no sign of a breakthrough in the partial government shutdown in the us, which is now officially the longest in history. president trump is refusing to sign measures to pay all federal employees because democrats in congress won't include funding for the wall he promised on the border with mexico. protesters have marched through central london demanding a general election and an end to austerity. hundreds of demonstrators were wearing yellow vests, copying the ‘yellow vest‘ protests in france. their action comes ahead of a crucial week in the commons, when mps are widely expected to reject theresa may‘s withdrawal deal with the eu. british police have arrested a man in connection with incidents in westminster earlier this week.
pro—brexit activist james goddard, seen here wearing a red jacket, was detained by officers on saturday morning near a london underground station on suspicion of a public order offence. he has since been released on bail. an opposition presidential candidate in the democratic republic of congo, martin fayulu has demanded a full recount of votes from last month‘s presidential election. another opposition leader, felix tshisekedi, was declared the winner, but mr fayulu has accused him of striking a power—sharing deal with the outgoing president, joseph kabila. well, let‘s stay with that story. gaius kowene from bbc africa explains what martin fayulu wants to achieve through this petition in the constitutional court. he is asking for a manual vote recount and he is also asking for results to be published, polling station by polling station, so that he can compare what the electoral commission has with the data that his own observers
from his own political party collected and sent to his headquarters here. and after that, the court will have a maximum of seven days to look into his petition and also, to look into all the evidence that he provided. right after that, then the court will announce its final decision to say whether fayulu is right and that all the votes should be recounted or simply cancelled. whether fayulu doesn‘t have enough evidence, and everything should continue normal and just confirm provisional results that were announced last thursday. joseph kabila‘s coalition also won almost half of all the seats in the national assembly. and basically, what that means, that means for the incoming president, he will have to work with the prime minister from the current government.
parts of germany, austria and sweden are suffering exceptional amounts of snow, which have already killed seven people in the past week. bethany bell reports now from annaberg in the austrian alps. the little town of annaberg is blanketed in white. like many mountain regions in germany and austria, it‘s experiencing unusually heavy falls of snow. these sensors are there to protect houses from avalanches. the authorities are struggling to remove the snow. these volunteer firefighters are working to clear the roof of annaberg‘s primary school. stefan obermeister from the lower austrian fire brigade says they need to ensure the building is safe enough for children to enter. the big problem is that the snow is very heavy so we have about 3.5 metres on the roofs, and that‘s the big problem.
because if the weather is changing and the snow gets heavier, the big problem is that the roofs crash down and so it‘s very dangerous for the people that are living here. cars have been buried under several metres of snow and it‘s a constant struggle to keep paths and roads clear. in neighbouring germany, the army is helping to clear away snow. several areas have been declared disaster zones. and there‘s more snow on the way. the risk of avalanches remains very high. bethany bell, bbc news, annaberg in the austrian alps. the wreck of a world war i german submarine is gradually resurfacing on a beach in northern france after decades of being buried in the sand.
shifting sand off veesaan, near calais is exposing the remains of the vessel, which was stranded there injuly 1917. it is now becoming a tourist attraction again, although the local mayor warns it may only be a fleeting sight. since december, two sections of the submarine have been visible at low tide. and finally, a new squad of mounted police wearing traditional outfits has gone on patrol in mexico city. the "charras" have been recruited to keep the streets safe and help tourists find their way around. 30 of them are on duty around the capital‘s landmarks — the palace of fine arts, alameda central and garibaldi square and are proving a big hit with locals and tourists alike. you can reach me on twitter. and you can get more on our website. i‘m @regedahmadbbc. hello there.
temperatures on saturday reached 12 degrees in strathallan. 6 celsius higher than the january average in this part of scotland. it was a very mild day. we have some rain for western scotland and that rain continues to edge its way southwards. if you are heading outside over the next few hours, it is worth taking wet weather gear with you across scotland, northern ireland and the far north of england. it will be quite blustery and very mild as well. temperatures between 8 and 10 degrees celsius to start day on sunday. on sunday itself, we have two weather fronts to look at. the first front will move southwards across england and wales and a more significant occluded front here across northern scotland will bring heavy rain to the north of scotland with colder air following that. so for sunday, a cloudy day for england and wales with a few patches of rain working southwards. brighter weather in the afternoon
with showers working into northern western areas with more persistent rain hedging into the far north of scotland. wherever you are, it will be a blustery old day weatherwise, and temperaturewise, there will be big contrast from south to north across the country. for much of england and wales, we‘ll see temperatures similar to that on saturday, 11, 12 degrees. notice it gets cooler further north and cold weather in shetland where temperatures just reached just 2 degrees. indeed, a fair few wintry showers with a little bit of sleet and a few flakes of snow mixed in with showers during the latter part of the afternoon. the week starts mild, rain in the north and west, often quite windy and it‘s set to turn much, much colder as we head towards the end of the week. now, monday, we will have quite a sharp frost to start the day across scotland and parts of north—east england as well. sunshine initially, but then it turns cloudier with showers working into western areas of scotland. the mildest air tending to be across western and southern parts of the country, but quite cold air across the north and east. temperature around 1 celsius or so.
tuesday and wednesday, we have a slow—moving weather front that‘s going to bring heavy persistent outbreaks of rain to western scotland, particularly into the highlands and western isles looking pretty wet. temperatures are rising again, 10 degrees widely and temperature is reaching around 7 degrees here. it will get milder for all of us. as we reach wednesday and thursday, we will start to see a more significant push of arctic winds moving down and replacing these milder westerly winds. so for all of us as we head through thursday, the temperatures will drop, even a little below normal for the time of year but at the same time, with that colder air arriving, it should be a little bit more in the way of sunshine. that‘s your latest weather. this is bbc news. the headlines: a saudi teenager who fled from herfamily, fearing that they would kill her for renouncing islam, has arrived in toronto, where she‘s been offered asylum. rahaf al-qunun, who‘s 18, barricaded herself in a hotel room in bangkok and used social media to highlight her case.
three people have died after a massive gas explosion in a bakery in central paris. two firefighters died after being called to investigate a gas leak. a spanish tourist was also killed. almost 50 people were injured. 10 are said to be critically ill in hospital. a former mayor from texas has become the latest to declare he‘ll seek the democratic nomination to run in next year‘s us presidential election. julian castro served in the obama administration. his grandfather emigrated to the us from mexico. hundreds of people have marched through london, demanding a general election and an end to austerity. it comes ahead of a crucial week in the commons,