you are watching newsday on the bbc. i'm sharanjit leyl in singapore. the headlines: us—china trade talks are under way in washington. officials try to find a deal even as new us tariffs are due to kick in in five hours‘ time. the us seizes a north korean ship alleging violation of international sanctions — just hours after north korea launches two short range missiles. hello. i'm ben bland in london. also in the programme: brunei under a microscope. the un will be examining the country's human rights record. singapore's parliament passes a controversial anti fake news law, giving authorities sweeping powers — but critics warn it threatens freedom of speech.
live from our studios in singapore and london, this is bbc world news — it's newsday. good morning and welcome to newsday. it's 7am in singapore, midnight in london and 7pm in washington, dc, where trade talks are under way between chinese and american negotiators. they are taking place after a week of threat and counter threat to introduce new tariffs on one another‘s products. the us is planning to introduce new import charges on chinese products in five hours‘ time, even as the talks are taking place. we'll hear from shanghai in a minute, but first let's look at the latest trade data. according to the us commerce department, the amount of merchandise — such as mobile phones and household goods — that the us buys from china fell sharply.
compared to the previous month, it was down 6.2% to $28.3 billion. that's the lowest level since april 2016. but the report also showed that the total us trade gap — the difference between what the us sells abroad and what it buys — actually rose 1.5% last month to $50 billion. let's get the view from china now with our correspondent robin brant, who's in shanghai. obviously we're looking at these last—ditch talks to try to resolve the trade the long—standing issues that the us and china have had, are they likely to work before those big ta riffs they likely to work before those big tariffs kick in? well, the truthful a nswer to tariffs kick in? well, the truthful answer to that is we just don't know. we had a very optimistic outlook about a week ago. america's trade secretary steve mnuchin had
talked about 90% of the deal effectively being done, but in a reversal, it appears, apparently coming on the chinese side, with considerable swathes of the draft agreement being rubbed out and changed, something that donald trump described as the chinese breaking the deal. but, look, this is the 11th face—to—face talks, lee hunter, leading the chinese party, they have gone for dinner in washington, dc, has talked about arriving with a rational and sincere attitude. they wa nt rational and sincere attitude. they want a deal. they are prepared for retaliating of tariffs if america pushes ahead with its increase from 10% to 25%. this is with a chinese economy that is slowing down, credit is increasing, stimulus servers led by the government are increasing as well the government is focused on jobs, employment, and trying to ensure security. the last thing it
wa nts ensure security. the last thing it wants is the continued uncertainty ofa wants is the continued uncertainty of a trade war. nonetheless, we have seen efforts to try and increase phone access to some markets here, thatis phone access to some markets here, that is something america wants. america also wants production of intellectual property. they want subsidies for those big state—owned companies. how this whole thing is in force, that is where the problem appears to be. it looks like china is going to give very little ground on that and that is a big problem. all right. robin brant with the view from shanghai. thank you. let's take a look at some of the day's other news. the pope has made it compulsory in catholic church law to report cases of abuse or violence by priests and other clergy. he sent what's called an apostolic letter making it clear that any sexual advance involving the use of power will now be considered abusive. his decision doesn't replace obligations to report suspected offences to the civil authorities. thailand's pro—military party is expected to form the next government, six weeks after the country's general election. the results put the palang pracharat
party in a good position to pick the next prime minister. the vote was marred by complaints over irregularities and a controversial proportional voting system. in argentina, a congressman has been shot and seriously wounded outside parliament in buenos aires. his advisor was killed. deputy hector olivares was walking in the square outside the national congress with his colleague when they were ambushed from a car. chelsea and arsenal have continued england's domination of european football this season with both london clubs making the europa league final in azerbaijan. chelsea beat eintracht frankfurt on penalties while arsenal won at valencia. it follows the dramatic champions league semi's with liverpool and tottenham making the final in madrid following astonishing fightbacks. and these pictures of an ancient
royal burial chamber found in english county of essex, east of london, has created quite a buzz. it's being described as the uk's "equivalent of tutankhamun‘s tomb". experts believe it belonged to a sixth century anglo—saxon prince. eight years after syria descended into a bloody civil war, president assad's army is advancing in a massive offensive, backed by russian air power, on the last large area of the country still held by rebel forces. the fighting has forced around 200,000 civilians from their homes, leading to warnings of a new humanitarian crisis. government forces are attacking idlib, northern hama, and western aleppo, the opposition‘s last remaining strongholds. the area was protected by a truce brokered with turkey. but a takeover of some rebel areas by extreme islamist fighters led to the collapse of the ceasefire. our middle east correspondent
quentin somerville reports. with barrel bombs and strikes, bashar al—assad is clawing at the edges of syria's last rebel province. this most indiscriminate of weapons has killed dozens in the last week alone. a deadly force has brought the war back to life. screaming. the tactics and terror are horribly familiar. but the options for the three million people in idlib have never been narrower. orient hospital was one of many targeted. the sick and injured forced out into the open. four months a deal between russia, the regime, and turkey kept some kind of peace here. but the cracks are
beginning to show. this family were asleep in their beds when their home was hit. they found the bodies of the children first. two—year—old khadijah was the only one to survive. herfather, her sister, and baby brother died alongside their mother. four more lives lost to a war which has killed more than half a million syrians. khadijah‘s grandfather tells us only this girl survived. "who else will look after her? we will take care of her." idlib is under the control of islamist extremists, some influenced by al-anda.
damascus says it will eradicate them all. british jihadists are among their ranks. more than 100,000 people are already on the move. many of them have fled aleppo. now there is nowhere else to go, so they take cover in olive groves and open fields. and, all the while, the government's offensive continues, the regime is far from done with idlib. quentin somerville, bbc news. the us says it has seized a north korean cargo ship, accusing it of violating international sanctions. it's the first time the us has seized a north korean ship for breaching sanctions and comes amid worsening relations between the two nations. a meeting between kimjong—un and donald trump ended without agreement in february. north korea has carried out two weapons tests in the space of the past week. state media confirmed the latest had been carried out by kimjon—un,
describing it as a "strike drill" on "the western front". but the pentagon disputed this — saying that the launches were of multiple ballistic missiles that flew into the ocean. earlier, i spoke to soo kim, who is a former cia analyst on north korea, and asked her on what basis can the us seize another nation's ship, when it's not even in us waters? well, this all goes back to the negotiations between washington and pyongyang over its nuclear programme. during the hanoi summit kim jong—un expected to get what he wanted, that was to lift us sanctions in response to piecemeal tentative denuclearisation on north korea's part. he clearly did not get what he wanted. so we have seen north korea ratchet up tensions through rhetoric and now two missile tests. the united states, for its
part, has been pretty discontented over how the talks have been going. we have seen a clear violation on north korea's part. this was a un sanction back in 2017. we are seeing that the violation has been taking place, has been observed since 2018. but with this seizing of the ship, how serious an escalation is that in terms of the tension between the two countries? should we be concerned by that move? well, this marks the first time that the united states has actually seized a north korean ship for violating un sanctions. and the atmospherics of the nuclear stand—off between the two countries, that the us decided to take this step, it actually shows that the united states is not pleased with the way things are going and that it is taking retaliatory, perhaps like—for—like measures, in response
to north korea's two missile tests within the span of a week. on that point about the weapons tests, that seems to point in the direction of talks looking less likely to progress than getting back on track. well, the thing is, if we were to accord north korea at this stage with another round of talks without really having a clear strategy of what we want, in the midst of north korea ratcheting up tensions come in the midst of the missile tests, in the midst of the missile tests, in the midst of north korea not really holding up to its end of the deal during the hanoi summit, the singapore summit, it definitely places washington in an even tougher position. so to accord kim dong woo summit at this stage would be to really fall into north korea's track -- kim really fall into north korea's track —— kimjong—un. really fall into north korea's track -- kim jong-un. north korea wouldn't be able to evade the sanctions
u nless be able to evade the sanctions unless there was a failure, presumably, on the part of other nations and financial institutions to properly enforce the sanctions. sure, sure. so the issue of sanctions enforcement is that, as you point out, all countries have to play a part. and from the perspective of the united states, we are trying to enforce tougher measures on north korea for its violation of un sanctions, but key member countries, that's banking institutions, governments, they also need to hold themselves accountable for enforcing these measures from beginning to end and, as in the case of the recent story about the united states seizing the north korean ship today, this was an indonesian shipping company that was caught in this and was impounded in indonesian waters and the united states decided at this point to seize the ship for further investigation. and that was soo kim speaking to ben
bland a little earlier. you're watching newsday on the bbc. still to come on the programme: as a un panel prepares to examine the human rights records of brunei, we have a special report on the lgbt community in brunei. also on the programme: despite widespread concerns, singapore has passed its controversial fake news law. we look at what this means for the city—state. i, nelson rolihlahla mandela, do hereby swear to be faithful to the republic of south africa. after six years of construction and numerous delays, the channel tunnel has been formally opened by the queen and president mitterand. but the tunnel is still not yet ready for passengers and freight services to begin. for centuries, christianity and islam struggled for supremacy. now, the pope's visit symbolises their willingness to coexist.
roger bannister became the first man in the world to run a mile in under four minutes. memories of victory as the ve celebrations reach their climax. this night is dedicated to everyone who believes in a future of peace and freedom. this is newsday on the bbc. i'm sharanjit leyl, in singapore. i'm ben bland, in london. our top stories: american negotiators are making a last—ditch attempt to reach a trade deal with chinese officials. if there's no agreement, the us will impose new tariffs on chinese goods within hours. the us has seized a north korean ship alleging violation
of international sanctions, just hours after north korea launched two short—range missiles. let's take a look at some front pages from around the world: the new york times reports on the plight of the children of islamic state members, now living in camps in syria and iraq, and the difficult decisions facing foreign governments about whether or not to bring their citizens home. the south china morning post is reporting on the us—china trade dispute with a headline about china's "sincere" desire to end the trade war, but beijing will defend itself in the face of more american tariffs. and in britain the daily mail reports on radio presenter, danny baker. he's been sacked by the bbc after tweeting a photo of a chimpanzee in a suit with a caption claiming that it shows the new royal baby leaving hospital.
the presenter denies that it was a racist insult. that brings you up—to—date with some of the papers. brunei's human rights record will be examined bya un panel later on friday. the country faced criticism from the international community after it introduced sharia punishments, such as stoning to death for adultery and gay sex. the sultan last week promised not to carry out any death sentences, but as our south—east asia correspondentjonathan head reports, some in brunei's lgbt community are still feeling uneasy. it is wealthy, orderly and sleepy. a peaceful corner of south east asia. brunei is also deeply religious, by custom and by order of its salting, absolute ruler for more than 50 yea rs. absolute ruler for more than 50 years. this is the capital during friday prayers. the sultan now wants
kawann to be even more islamic, imposing harsh sharia punishments, provoking international outrage. it is our responsibility as a muslim country, explained recently, in a rare public statement, but he also promised not to carry out any death sentences. islam is at the core of brunei's national identity. yet very few people here believe the harsh sharia laws will actually be implemented. brunei is laid—back, we are not like muslim societies in the arab world yet, tellingly, no—one will speak to us about these new laws. laid—back it may be, but people in brunei know they have no freedom about talking freely about what the government imposes on them. we got in touch with a woman called
sarah. too nervous even to meet us, she was willing to respond on a secure messaging app. like many gays in brunei, she fears rising intolerance. if you are gay in brunei, can you bejust intolerance. if you are gay in brunei, can you be just as open as if you lived in any neighbouring country... i was able to meet a gay man, dean, not his real name outside brunei. he was less concerned about the sharia code. keep a low profile, he said, and you will not get into trouble. we have not been denied basic human rights, have not been denied the opportunities to work, to study, to walk around in public, unlike global reports seem to say life is as normal as normal gets. this is a point where we cross from
brunei into malaysia. this is where they have to come if they want to let their hair down and have a bit of fun. let their hair down and have a bit offun. a let their hair down and have a bit of fun. a small riverside town in malaysia and borneo does very well out of brunei. on weekend night, it suddenly comes to life. the buzz fillup, suddenly comes to life. the buzz fill up, with people enjoying what they cannot do back home and, so long as they can do this, they are not complaining too much yet about the new islamic rules. jonathan head, bbc news. singapore's parliament has passed a controversial anti—fake news law that gives authorities sweeping powers to block websites and police private conversations. under the new law, which comes into affect in the next few weeks,
the government can order platforms to publish corrections or, in extreme cases, remove content it deems to be false. the rules will also cover personal electronic messages — even on platforms with end—to—end encryption — such as whatsapp. journalists, human rights groups, global tech companies and academics have expressed grave concerns about what this means for freedom of speech. joining us now from bangkok is frederick rawski, who is director of the international commission ofjurists' asia & pacific programme. lots of concerns byjournalists and academics and technology companies as well. that this limits freedom of expression. we have been reporting on this a lot. but you are objecting to this from a judicial point of view. can you explain that? to begin
with, this lot is appalling on so many levels. it applies to nearly all communications and potentially to all people involved in on line communication so the scope for abuse is very large. it gives a nearly u nfettered is very large. it gives a nearly unfettered discretion to ministers to make these decisions. there is an appeal to the high court that is possible but it is an onerous process. people need to take down material and comply with orders before making an appeal. it first has to be made to the ministries that impose the penalties themselves and then they can take it to the high court which itself is a costly process and the law puts time limits and has a very narrow scope of what can be appealed. it is absolutely inadequate judicial oversight but the fundamental problem is the law itself stop it is a poorly drafted, ambiguous and leads to much discretion for the government to use
it as it wishes. what has also emerged is concerns over privacy. it applies to personal chat script, sms, whatsapp, could be used against you. this is an outrageous part of the bill. they have been other bills in the region stop it was passed in malaysia and legislation in philippines used to harass journalists, myanmar and thailand. where this law goes even further is its attempt to reach into private, encrypted communication and potentially criminalise the expression of opinions in private forums. really interesting that experts are saying it sets a dangerous precedent for other
country. they look to singapore as a developmental model in the region. singapore is a model, in many ways, for other countries in the region and if they succeed in imposing this kind of draconian regulation of speech, others may follow. the reality is much of public discourse ta kes pla ce reality is much of public discourse takes place on line and this is a real threat to the health of any country in the region that respects freedom of association and expression. thank you forjoining us. we invited singapore's minister for communications and information, s iswaran, onto newsday to respond to these concerns. he was not available for an interview. however he did join us last month when the bill was first announced, saying the law was not designed
to stifle debate or opinion. singaporeans have access to information is around the world, news channels and internet sites and so on. our objective is not to suppress viewpoints and it is targeted at false statements of fa ct, targeted at false statements of fact, not about opinions, criticism or even satire and parody. what we are or even satire and parody. what we a re really or even satire and parody. what we are really aiming to do is to help people have access to fax and avoid some of the harmful effects of false information that can have on public and security issues. 5 iswaran interview speaking last month, and that happen before the law it appeared also applied to private conversations.
and before we go, we'd like to leave you with these rare pictures of an asiatic black bear that's been spotted in the demilitarised zone that divides north and south korea. it was captured on camera by south korea's national institute of technology in the eastern part of the zone. we have a couple more chari days in the forecast before things start to settle down and as high—pressure begins to move in with temperatures rising. the low pressure still influencing the weather. still generating some showers. chari start to more central part of the country. ——a to more central part of the country. —— a showery. a cold start and a little bit of frost possible. less so in southern areas. sunshine across the south and southeast.
showers likely to develop elsewhere as temperatures begin to rise in the afternoon and some could be heavy and thundering with slow—moving cloud. you could make 17 degrees in the south—east. moving into france, you could bring wet weather. into the weekend, high—pressure begins to establish itself. a chilly start to the weekend. the blue colour still lingering but slowly you can see warmerair lingering but slowly you can see warmer air from lingering but slowly you can see warmer airfrom the near lingering but slowly you can see warmer air from the near continent from sunday onwards. a few showers around at the start of the weekend before it starts to turn drive and sta rts before it starts to turn drive and starts to turn a little bit warmer. let's look at a little bit more detail to saturday. northerly winds with plenty of sunshine is although showers will develop mostly through central and eastern areas with the odd one as well. dry further west closer to the area of high pressure. a milder day elsewhere. into sunday,
high—pressure slap bang on top of us. high—pressure slap bang on top of us. some cloud bubbling up with the isolated showers but most places dry and temperatures responding as well. 18 degrees across some of the warmer spots. high—pressure still with us at the start of next week. moving further eastwards so drawing some warmerair further eastwards so drawing some warmer air from further eastwards so drawing some warmer airfrom france further eastwards so drawing some warmer air from france and further eastwards so drawing some warmer airfrom france and spain. a fairly cool start with a bit of mist and fog through the morning fading away into the afternoon with widespread sunshine. warmer temperatures. maybe 19 celsius. central scotland and towards south and south—west. fine throughout the week besides we start to pick up a north—westerly — north—easterly and could turn cooler by the end of the week.
i'm ben bland with bbc news. our top story: american negotiators are meeting their chinese counterparts in a last ditch attempt to reach a trade deal. if no agreement is reached, the us will impose new tariffs on $200 billion worth of chinese goods. the united states has seized a north korean cargo ship which it says was violating international sanctions. earlier, north korea had launched two short—range missiles, raising tensions between washington and seoul. and this story is trending on bbc.com. chelsea and arsenal have continued england's domination of european football this season, with both london clubs making the europa league final. chelsea beat eintracht frankfurt on penalties, whilst arsenal won at valencia. liverpool and tottenham will battle it out for the champions league final. that's all. stay with bbc news.