this is bbc news. welcome if you're watching here in the uk, on pbs in america or around the globe. i'm mike embley. our top stories: boeing fires its chief executive after catastrophic failures of its 737 max and the loss of nearly 350 lives. saudi arabia sentences five people to death for the murder of journalist jamal khashoggi last year. critics say the trial‘s a travesty of justice. at no point was the chain of command and the mastermind behind the killing ever worried by the investigation or the trial. president trump's impeachment trial: democrats demand documents, republicans worry about witnesses, and the house speaker has yet to send the articles to the senate.
and the latest victim of australia's bushfires: a third of vineyards in the adelaide hills are wiped out. we talk to one of the region's winemakers. hello to you. the chief executive of boeing has been sacked less than a week after the planemaker said it would temporarily halt production of its troubled 737 max airliner. the company has struggled to recover after 346 people died in two crashes involving its planes. our business correspondent, theo leggett, has the story. two devastating accidents and 346 people died. the first plane crashed into the sea off indonesia late last year. then, in march, an identical aircraft went down in these fields in ethiopia minutes after take—off. since then, boeing's
newest and fastest—selling aircraft, the 737 max, has been grounded worldwide. blame's been placed on a piece of flight control software, known as mcas, that activated at the wrong time and forced both planes into a catastrophic dive. boeing's failures and mr muilenburg's leadership have been angrily condemned in the us congress. those pilots never had a chance. these loved ones never had a chance. they were in flying coffins. senator, if i could try to respond to your question. first of all, the premise... er, that we would lie or conceal is just not consistent with our values. zipporah kuria lost herfather in the ethiopian crash. she says mr muilenburg's departure means little to her. i don't think his resignation is going to change anything for me. maybe for other families, but it's not going to bring my dad home for christmas and it's not going to bring lots of loved ones around the table for dinner
this year or any other year to come. so, for us, it doesn't make that much of a difference, but we hope other families don't have to go through what we are going through. the final humiliation for dennis muilenburg came last week when boeing suspended production of the 737 max because regulators still won't let the plane back in the air. it's not clear when it'll fly again. but when it does, one of the biggest challenges facing the new chief executive will be to persuade passengers that it really has been made as safe as it possibly can be. theo leggett, bbc news. our business correspondent, samira hussain, has more from new york. there is no question that in the ten months since these 737 jets have been grounded, this storied american company has suffered financial and reputational damage. it has lost the confidence of aviation regulators, both here in the united states
and right around the world. it no longer makes its most profitable plane and won't do so for the foreseeable future. airlines have no clarity on when these jets will be operational again. it's already lost $9 billion in the wake of this crisis and that number continues to grow. and us lawmakers have accused boeing of putting profits over the safety of its passengers. now, boeing remains confident in the future of its 737 max fleet but there is one question that it cannot answer, and it's whether or not passengers will ever feel safe in those planes again. let's get some of the day's other news. new zealand police say they have called off the search for two people missing after the white island volcanic eruption. 47 people, mainly australian tourists, were on the island when it erupted on december 9, and 25 remain in hospital. many are still in a critical condition.
the death toll now stands at 19, including the two who are missing. algeria has announced three days of mourning for the death of the head of the army. ahmed gaid salah, who was 79, suffered a heart attack. he'd been leading the country, in effect, since the long—time president, abdelaziz bouteflika, was forced from office by a wave of mass protests earlier this year. the ivory coast has issued an arrest warrant for guillaume soro, former rebel leader and likely a strong candidate in next year's presidential election. reports suggest the warrant is linked to a charge of trying to destabilise the country. as his supporters waited for his return to ivory coast, after six months abroad, his private plane was diverted to ghana. five people have been sentenced to death and three others have been jailed by a court in saudi arabia over the murder of the journalist jamal khashoggi last year. khashoggi was a prominent critic of the saudi government. he was killed when he went to the saudi consulate in istanbul.
a un investigator who carried out an inquiry into his murder has criticised the trial saying that the hit men had been convicted, but the "masterminds" behind his death have walked free. our security correspondent frank gardner reports. the last public sighting of jamal khashoggi, seen here walking into the saudi consulate in istanbul in october last year. he never came out alive. turkish cctv footage shows a hit team of 15 saudi government agents arriving in istanbul to intercept khashoggi. inside the consulate, they overpowered him, injected him and suffocated him. his body has never been found. 11 men were eventually put on trial. today, the preliminary sentences were announced. translation: the criminal court in riyadh has delivered the following preliminary sentences for ii of the accused, sentencing five of them to death in retribution. they are the ones directly implicated in the death of the victim,
may god rest his soul. at the time of the crime, saudi arabia initially denied responsibility, but turkey, which had bugged the consulate, leaked details of what really happened. in november 2018, the cia said the killing was probably ordered by the saudi crown prince. and injune this year, a un report said there was credible evidence of saudi state involvement. saudi arabia's powerful crown prince, mohammed bin salman, had become increasingly irritated by khashoggi's public criticism of his policies. he denies any responsibility in the murder. agnes callamard, who's investigated the murder on behalf of the un, believes those who masterminded it have walked free. the only people that have ultimately been sentenced in the trials are those that i call the hit men. they are at the lowest level
of the chain of command. anyone above have either not been charged at all, or if they were charged, they were let free. jamal khashoggi was described by one royal aide as a threat to national security. critics are now calling the investigation into his murder a whitewash. for saudi arabia, this whole story has cast a dark shadow over its international reputation. in riyadh, the authorities will be hoping this verdict draws a line under it. but others will keep on pressing for answers. frank gardenerfor us frank gardener for us there. —— gardner. the top democrat in the us senate, chuck schumer, has again demanded that donald trump's impeachment trial include witnesses. this in the light of an email recently emerged that suggests the white house sought to freeze aid to ukrainejust 91 minutes after mr trump spoke to president zelensky in that controversial phone call lastjuly.
at a news conference, chuck schumer also urged president trump, once again, to cooperate with the trial. so we say to president trump, if you are so confident you did nothing wrong, why won't you let your men testify? if you did nothing wrong, mr president, why do you seem so eager to avoid the truth, to hide the truth? for the republicans, the senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell, has been speaking to fox news. he says he hasn't ruled out allowing witnesses to testify at the trial, but also responded directly to chuck schumer. all i'm asking of schumer is that we treat trump the same way we treated clinton. we had a procedure that was approved 100 to nothing, schumer voted for it, to go through the opening arguments, to have a written question period and then, based upon that, deciding what witnesses to call. our north america correspondent
peter bowes told me what he thought about the latest developments. i think it's quite significant. up until today, really, we'd been thinking that the republicans flatly didn't want to see any witnesses at the senate trial, and now, as we've just heard, there is that glimmer of hope for the democrats that the republicans perhaps, after having heard the opening statements of the senate trial. that's how they seem to want to proceed, so there is a possibility that the democrats could get their way or partially get their way, get some of the witnesses they want to hear from, and those are key people, key aides of the president at the white house who may well have access to vital information about the sequence of events when president trump was talking to ukraine, at the time of that key telephone call with the president of ukraine, the so—called quid pro quo scenario where aid was being withheld and the president wanted an investigation intojoe biden, his likely political rival. but, peter, of course,
as we keep saying, it hasn't really changed. it's very, very unlikely, though, that mr trump is going to be removed from office. this is really about influencing voters, isn't it, in the presidential election next year? yeah, as far as the democrats are concerned, yes, it is. they may well be hoping that if there aren't witnesses, if there aren't documents, that there will be some sort of blockbuster piece of evidence that might change the minds of some republicans, but that's seeming incredibly unlikely. we are just on the edge of the 2020 election campaign, this senate trial will be taking place just weeks before the caucuses, and the primary elections are really the first stage as the democrats are getting down to the final few candidates, as their choice to compete against president trump at the next election. so, it's a crucial time for them. anything they can do to influence voters during this time period of course is all—important. stay with us on bbc news.
still to come, tap to eat: the electronic device that means healthy school meals for thousands of schoolchildren in kenya. the world of music's been paying tribute to george michael, who's died from suspected heart failure at the age of 53. he sold well over 100 million albums in a career spanning more than three decades. the united states troops have been trying to overthrow the dictatorship of general manuel noriega. the pentagon says it's failed in its principle objective — to capture noriega and take him to the united states to face drugs charges. the hammer and sickle was hastily taken away. in its place, the russian flag was hoisted over what is now no longer the soviet union, but the commonwealth of independent states. day broke slowly over lockerbie, over the cockpit of pan am's maid of the seas, nose down in the soft earth. you could see what happens when a plane eight storeys high, a football pitch wide, falls from 30,000 feet.
christmas has returned to albania after a communist ban lasting more than 20 years. thousands went to midnight mass in the town of shkoder where there were anti—communist riots 10 days ago. this is bbc world news. the latest headlines: boeing has sacked its chief executive as the company struggles to deal with the impact of two deadly plane crashes blamed on the firm's computer software. there's criticism of saudi arabia — after five people were sentenced to death for the murder of journalist jamal khashoggi. the un says the masterminds have gone free. on saturday, fires devastated australia's adelaide hills — sweeping through an area renowned for its vineyards and fine wine. the wine industry is talking of, potentially, a third of vineyards in the region wiped out. and it's not over yet — there are still fires burning
uncontrolled, and temperatures look set to go still higher at the weekend. well, a little earlier i spoke tojodie armstrong, who's a winemaker for sew and sew wines in the adelaide hills area. i asked her about how major an impact the bush fires are having we're very fortunate where we are that we haven't been hit by the fires. unfortunately, my colleagues and a couple of my close friends have lost properties. for us, we're short on fruit now, we've had to try and source more pinot and sauvignon blanc, which is likely to be impossible. and this is a particularly bad time, i suppose. the fruit would have been in early stages on the vine? well, any time from now on is bad. the fruit is set and has started to develop, but the burnt vines are so badly damaged that they will have to be replanted. we have lost up to a third of our production for
the foreseeable future, really. at least five years until we will have settled some new vines and have them producing at a level that we would really like. does that mean for your neighbours, literally no production for the next five years? yes. it will mean this year they will need to clean up the vineyards, there will be plastic waste and posts and wires that will have to be cleaned up. it's three years before you would get your first very small production from planting, seven years until they are completely settled. we have lost some 30—year—old vines, vines producing our highest quality pinot noirs and chardonnays.
i know the vineyards are important there. 0ther i know the vineyards are important there. other local people rallying around to help? i work in the mclaren vale and adelaide hills areas. we are collecting broken posts to be used as stock fencing. some have donated fruit and wine because some wineries have lost all of their wine as well, barrels, bottles and their production equipment. so as we are talking, i keep getting e—mails coming in looking for different things that all of us can contribute. and to support all the guys and girls with problems we need everyone to buy local for us, and for you guys if you can see by wine from the adelaide hills to support the region. there is a website for donations,
people need support to buy equipment they really need. some don't even have running water or electricity. people spend their days fighting fires but are unable to have a shower or a glass of water because it isn't on tap. this is the first christmas the pakistani christian asia bibi will celebrate as a free woman. she spent nearly 10 years in jail, sentenced to death on blasphemy charges, and was only released earlier this year. blasphemy accusations are often used in pakistan as a way to settle personalfeuds or target minority groups. secunder kermani reports. for years, asia bibi's elderly
father prayed for her release. this summer, as she was flown out of the country after nearly a decade on death row. he spoke to her on a relative's phone. translation: i was so happy. i saw her face and she held her hands up in front of me and said "father, forgive me." then i started crying and i said "go, my daughter, may god protect you." asia bibi was accused of having insulted the prophet muhammad during an argument while working in a field. a prominent muslim politician was murdered for speaking in her defence. hardliners took to the streets when pakistan's highest court overruled her conviction last year. eventually, she was freed and fled abroad with her children and husband. the rest of her family are still in pakistan, they had to leave their village
when asia bibi was first accused of blasphemy. translation: i do get angry, but what can we do without anger? we are labourers — poor people. the verdict in asia bibi's case was welcomed around the world, but pakistan's blasphemy laws remain in place. despite the release of asia bibi, activists say courts are still reluctant to acquit suspects in other blasphemy cases, afraid of the reaction from fundamentalist groups. meanwhile, new cases continue to be filed — at least a dozen people have been accused of blasphemy this year. this christian man faces the death penalty if convicted of sending blasphemous text messages. we're concealing his identity for his own protection. his lawyer, guarded by police, also defended asia bibi. he saysjudges often
feel intimidated. they do whatever the prosecution lawyers is asking. they go after him. they don't listen to the accused lawyer, and they wear the suit, putting their faces down, frightened. and then to see that they're frightened, it's visible. the jailed man's family had been hoping he would be released on bail in time for christmas. that hasn't happened. translation: for me, having to cope with everything alone is so difficult. in the past few days, he got badly beaten up because there was some argument between the inmates over prayers. across pakistan, christian neighbourhoods are preparing to celebrate. the community no longer faces the same level of threat from militant groups it did even five years ago, but a continued trickle of blasphemy allegations leaves many still feel marginalised.
secunder kermani, bbc news, lahore. russia's president has welcomed the opening of a railway bridge linking mainland russia with the crimea peninsula, which has been annexed by russia. the news has been immediately condemned by the european union as "another violation" by russia of ukraine's sovereignty and territory. gareth barlow reports. three simple carriages carrying not only passengers but a serious political message. russia seized crimea from ukraine in 2014 and ever since, moscow has worked to strengthen its claim to the region. in may, president putin opened a 19—kilometre road link and now with this bridge, there is a direct railway connection linking saint petersburg with the former ukrainian territory. translation: today we have a very important occasion. it is important for crimea and sevastopol and the whole of russia because infrastructure
projects such as this landmark bridge will have an impact on the whole economy. "what a beauty of a bridge", the russian leader exclaimed, a view not shared by the ukraine or the european union. an eu spokesman said the bridge was a continuation of russia's forced integration of illegally annexed crimea — going on to say that the mega structure limits the passage of ships headed to ukrainian ports. relations between ukraine and russia made minor improvements in recent months but the opening of the $3.6 billion bridge makes fast—tracking closer political connections ever more unlikely. thousands of kenyan schoolchildren are now getting a daily healthy lunch thanks to a new device called tap to eat. it's a smart wristband which parents can load up with money — making it easier to make sure their children are paying for — and eating — their school meals.
it's part of a subsided school food programme which aims to tackle malnutrition and improve attendance in public schools in kenya's kiambu and nairobi counties. take a look. food for education and the work we do makes me feel very good and makes me feel that we are contributing to help solve something that's been persistent for many years. my names is warira and i'm the founder of food for education. we provide affordable, high—quality meals to students in public primary schools. tap to eat is an innovation by food for education that allows parents to pay for meals. we came up with it when we saw that a lot of kids — the 15 shillings that they pay, though small, a lot of them couldn't
be able to, for example, pay for a week or pay for a month. it was very varied. and it was very difficult for us to keep track, for example, who has paid, who hasn't paid and things like that. we needed something that was efficient and could also account really fast. and so we came up with tap to eat, which we were linking mobile money m—pesa to nfc wristbands which look like watches. and once it has been topped up, theyjust tap and get their lunch. the total cost of the meal is 25 shillings, and that's for everything that goes into the meal. many parents can't afford 25 shillings, so right now we have lowered that cost for parents to 15 shillings. we provide the ten shillings extra for each meal we distribute through donors and corporate partners we have here in kenya. translation: the challenges i used to face include my child losing their lunch money. sometimes they haven't eaten any food because they had bought sweets. when you pay for the tap to eat, you're assured your child will eat lunch daily.
tap to eat has enabled us to scale up faster, it's very quick, it takes a short amount of time to validate those payments. it's enabled us to have more consistency in terms of parents being able to contribute for meals and also have quick serving of lunch. and a painting by ellis lowry that had been unknown to the art world is to be solved at auction next month. it was painted in 1943 and has never been displayed in public before. it features the united kingdom ‘s first all electric powered cotton spinning mill. it goes on sale after the death of its owner this year who moved to the united state from the uk and took it with him. it could fetch at least £1 million. and you can get in touch with me and most of the team on twitter — i'm @bbcmikeembley.
good morning! so, here it is, christmas eve. the weather's offering up quite mixed fare for the last—minute plans. there will be a few glimmers of sunshine but also showers for many of us. and for the south—west of england and wales, some of those showers could pack quite a punch and be heavy and thundery. we've basically got a weather front trailing across england and wales into northern ireland, too. to the north of that, some scattered showers for scotland. there's some more persistent rain across northern england through the first part of the day and then it kind of breaks up into those scattered but at some times heavier showers as the day progresses. some of the heavier ones also drifting further eastwards and quite a focus on the south—west, quite windy here, too. still double figures to the south of the uk,
definitely a chillier feel across scotland and northern ireland, highs ofjust six or seven. and if you're heading out and about on christmas eve, things start to become quieter, the wind will fall light to the south, the showers will tend to clear. still a few across scotland and it will also start to turn somewhat chillier. we could see some heavier showers pushing into western scotland overnight and with the colder air in place. winter across the highlands, a frost to start us off on christmas day across scotland. elsewhere, a patchy frost but lows in the towns and cities of three and four degrees. the reason it gets quieter is this ridge of high pressure that's going to stay with us for christmas day as well. so christmas day, actually, weather—wise one of our quietest days in terms of what we've seen in about a month or so. a lot of dry weather, perhaps some early morning mist and fog across north wales and the north—west of england but that will tend to clear. and then light winds and sunshine. temperatures, well, about average for the time of year, 6—9 degrees. through the evening and overnight, that ridge of high pressure starts to weaken and then as we look towards boxing day, things get on the move again. another low coming in from the atlantic. so, a much stormier picture,
if you like, for boxing day. windy pretty much across the board as this weather system bumps into some cold air. some transient snow for the pennines, perhaps a more significant accumulations for the highlands, some rainjust about everywhere, some sunshine perhaps following on for central and eastern areas, but further rain getting into the west later on in the day. a little milder to the south, but still sixes and sevens in the north. and then for the remainder of the week, high pressure tries to settle things down to the south of the uk, for scotland and northern ireland we're going to see some weather fronts snaking in. so, a little more mixed here. to the south, a quiet story, i think. we have temperatures in double figures for scotland and northern ireland, some showers at times. merry christmas.
the headlines: boeing has fired its chief executive, dennis muilenburg, following two fatal crashes involving the compa ny‘s 737 max aircraft. the company's been struggling to deal with the impact of the crashes — blamed on its computer software — that claimed more than 340 lives. there's been criticism of the trial in saudi arabia of those accused of killing the journalist, jamal khashoggi, who was murdered in the saudi consulate in istanbul. five people have been sentenced to death and others jailed. a top aide to crown prince mohammed bin salman was investigated, but not charged. the leader of the republicans in the us senate, mitch mcconnell, says he hasn't ruled out allowing witnesses to testify at president trump's impeachment trial. he was formally impeached last week for abuse of power and obstruction of congress. proceedings are expected to start next month.