this is bbc news: i'm lewis vaughan jones with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. rallies to rememberjuneteenth. the day americans mark the formal end of slavery 155 years ago. it is about a reminder that we are not truly free, that there is so much work that needs to be done. brazil's coronavirus epidemic hits over a million cases, with almost 55,000 new infections over the past 2a hours alone. with casualties rising in the fight againstjihadis — tens of thousands join an anti—government protest in mali. and the head of russia's foreign intelligence service tells the bbc that america has been trying to "rule the world" and this could lead to "disaster".
juneteenth — also known as freedom day or the black fourth ofjuly is an unofficial annual holiday in the united states. the word is a combination of "june" and "nineteenth", and it celebrates the emancipation of african—americans from slavery. this year, the 155th anniversary comes as the country grapples with its long—standing history of racial tensions, and people are holding rallies all over the us to celebrate. the bbc‘s nick bryant looks at how people have been marking juneteenth. say his name! crowd: george floyd! it's normally a date in the national calendar that, for white americans at least, passes without much notice or recognition. but this year, juneteenth falls in the midst of the most widespread racial protests
we've witnessed since the late 1960s, and is therefore loaded with much more meaning. events that often have a celebratory feel and revel in the richness in african—american culture feel more politically—charged and momentous. the cry once more is black lives matter. we have never truly been free in america, but that's what this movement is about today. it's about a reminder that we are not truly free. that there's so much work that needs to be done. this was a march in the nation's capital led by basketball stars from the washington wizards. 0n the eve ofjuneteenth, this confederate monument was removed from a suburb of atlanta, just the latest symbol toppled since the killing of george floyd in minneapolis. and these were portraits of former house speakers who served in the confederacy being taken down from the corridors of power
on capitol hill. there's no room in the hallowed halls of this democracy, this temple of democracy, to memorialise people who embody violent bigotry and grotesque racism of the confederacy. my dear citizens... there's been no address from the american president, but his wife, melania trump, released this video statement. ..as our country works through the racial issues that we still face today, it is important to remember we are one global community. because of juneteenth and accusations of racial insensitivity, donald trump postponed his first political rally since public gatherings were shut down. it's being held in tulsa, 0klahoma, an especially controversial setting because it was the site of a black massacre in the 1920s. this is a day that marks freedom and emancipation, but these protests are yet another reminder that african—america ns have yet
to achieve genuine racial equality. some american corporations for the first time granted employees the day off for juneteenth, and there are growing calls to make it an official us holiday. america's racial reckoning shows no sign of abating. nick bryant, bbc news, new york. the civil rights activist reverend al sharpton has been speaking to crowds in tulsa in oklahoma. he inverted one of president trump's favourite slogans, saying those fighting racism were the ones who could make america great for everybody for the first time. you can't be great when you handcuff a man, and even handcuffed, falling to the ground, over $20, and put his neck down, your knee on his neck, and hold it there, and hold it till his body's limp, and you are full of such venom and hate that you keep your knee on the neck of a man
that could not get up and could not breathe. that is not greatness. greatness is when blacks and whites and latinos and asians, and original americans, hit the streets all over this country and march against your teargas, and march against your rubber bullets, and march against a military occupation you threaten, and march anyhow. that's what will make america great. applause. dr daina berry is an authora and historian. she says the day has been celebrated by african—america ns since the abolition of slavery. juneteenth has been celebrated since the moment african—america ns in texas learned of their freedom in 1865 and they started having formalised celebrations as early as a year later in 1866.
and in cities like houston, there are large parks, emancipation park, where african—americans go every year and celebrate and these are now becoming much more multicultural celebrations of parades and speeches and all kinds of things. so maybe the large media hasn't heard of juneteenth, but many african—americans have and many people have been celebrating it since the day slavery ended. and what do you make of the fact that the president didn't seem to have heard of it? well, that actually didn't surprise me too much. i'm not surprised that he doesn't have much sensitivity to other cultures, from what we've seen, and he doesn't seem to care too much about african—american culture. by the way, i like he is cleaning some of the challenges were having now with visible brutality from the hands of the police and american citizens. so don't think that he's sensitive to these kinds of issues and i'm happy he cancelled the rally, but i think it was a poor choice to have a rally in tulsa at this time.
yeah, that rally going ahead saturday evening, so a few hours away yet. back onto the context that juneteenth is being marked this year, with the death of george floyd, and we're starting to see, you know, concrete, real changes and things like the way police forces are organised and there are small changes in different areas of the united states. what would you like to see next? i'd like to see more reform. and i'm happy for the baby steps, but i think it's time that we dealt with the issue of racism and the ramifications of the ways in which people of colour have been treated in this country. there needs to be not only police reform but there needs to be economic reform, there needs to be reform in schools. i mean, a lot of the legislation from the late 1890s, early 19th century had to do with segregation and putting african—america ns and other people of colour
underneath white superiority. and that has changed over the years, but we need to see more change. we need to see legislation changed, we need to see the way people are prosecuted changed. we need is the way in which african—americans, in particular, are highly incarcerated at different rates and the ways in which justice is meted out is not at all so much their white brothers and sisters. some breaking news: 0ne of america's most powerful prosecutors, the us attorney for manhattan, geoffrey berman, has denied that he's stepping down, swiftly rebutting an announcement to that effect from president trump's attorney general, william barr. mr berman said he had not resigned and had no intention of going, having been appointed byjudges. he would step down only when the senate had confirmed a presidentially appointed nominee.
the number of people who've tested positive for covid—19 in brazil has passed 1 million, only the second country to do so after the united states. brazil has now registered a total of nearly 119,000 deaths. 0ur south america correspondent katy watson reports from sao paulo, wherethe outbreak is said to be far from over. this is the reality behind brazil's spread of covid—19. the cases keep climbing, the infection keeps spreading. and brazil doesn't yet have it under control. friday saw a massive spike in the number of new cases, a record nearly 55,000. according to the health ministry, the rise was due in pa rt ministry, the rise was due in part to several states having trouble in reporting data earlier in the week. but
numbers are numbers, and they are frightening. translation: in fact, people only start believing covid—19 is real when it's a family member or themselves to get it because as long as no—one in the family, no—one they know who gets it, people won't get real about what's happening. each and every day, more people are taken by covid—19 here in brazil. this week saw four consecutive days of more than 1200 attala tees. all the while, cities like sao paulo and rio de janeiro while, cities like sao paulo and rio dejaneiro are starting to open backup. after more than three months in quarantine, people are trying to get back to some kind of normality, but life in brazil is anything but normal. presidentjair bolsonaro has, from the very beginning, campaigned for brazil's economy to reopen. he's railed against social distancing, even going against his own help ministry and firing those who dared to disagree with him. translation:
resilient people really had a ha rd resilient people really had a hard time figuring out how to behave because of the questionable guidelines. the help ministry along with governors asked for and stressed the need for isolation, for distance. the president said exactly the opposite. he did the opposite. he systematically broke those recommendations. he made many people question them. jair bolsonaro's is referred to by some as the trump of the tropics. it's true his long admired donald trump and his way of doing politics. the two men have much in common, not least the way they've handled the pandemic. the figures in the pandemic. the figures in the us are staggering but brazil as well is alarming. they are now exclusive members of the club nobody wants to join. katy watson, bbc news and sao paulo. tens of thousands of people have taken part in an anti—government protest in mali. they are calling on the president to resign — saying the west african country is suffering from political
paralysis, economic decline and a long—running islamic extremist insurgency. simonjones reports. a show of defiance in the malian capital, bamako. protesters gather in independence square in numbers, calling for immediate change. they want a new plan to curb corruption and to fix the failing economy, but their main demand is that president ibrahim boubacar keita must go. translation: we are here to bring about an end to corruption, to bring about an end to prejudice, to bring about an end to this dying power which is no longer capable of educating our children, keeping us healthy and equipping our army. mali has been in the grip of a islamist insurgency that has lasted for eight years and cost thousands of lives. president keita is accused of failing to contain it. earlier this week he did offer an olive branch to his critics.
speaking in parliament, he said he would start talks to form a unity government. but it is not enough for opposition groups. they have come together to form their own coalition, and have sent a letter to the presidential palace, listing their demands. if there's no reply, they're warning of civil disobedience and threatening to occupy strategic locations. a delegation from the economic community of west african states, who have been in the country to talk to both sides, has so far failed to defuse tensions, meaning the instability is set to continue. after weeks of protests over the death of george floyd, rallies are being held to markjuneteenth — the unofficial holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the united states. suffering the world's worst outbreak of coronavirus
outside the united states: brazil has reached over a million cases, and 119,000 deaths. here in the uk, the coronavirus alert level has been lowered from 4 to 3. that means the virus is considered to be "in general circulation" instead of "high or rising" and that there could now be a gradual relaxation of restrictions. the change in the level comes as a further 173 deaths were reported in the last 2a hours. it brings the total number of deaths from coronavirus to 42,461. 0ur science editor david shukman has more details. a crush at the start of the week as more shops were allowed to reopen, social distancing apparently forgotten. some scientists were concerned that the lockdown was being relaxed too fast, but today, the prime minister, queueing up for his own turn at hand—washing, said reducing
the alert level could allow changes to social distancing. when we go forward tojuly the fourth, which is the next big stage in the plan, we hope that there will be more guidance out very, very shortly that will help people, help businesses, help hospitality to prepare for that, and how to implement social distancing in a safe way. so, how does the alert system work? well, level five is the most extreme, where the health service could be overwhelmed, which is why the lockdown was introduced. four is where the number of infections is high or rising, which is why social distancing is important. three, which we've just moved to, is where the virus is in general circulation, but the governmentjudges it can lift some of the restrictions, including that of social distancing. the worry now is local outbreaks. there've been long queues in leicester as people
try to get tested amid reports of a surge in cases in the city. it's difficult to get a reliable picture across the whole uk, but the signs are hopeful. one of the clearest indications that things are going in the right direction is the number of infections in england falling dramatically over the last six weeks. now, people are still catching the virus, just not on the scale that was happening at the start of the outbreak, and the government's scientific advisers have come up with a new way to try to explain that. they say the rate of new infections is falling by 2—4% across the uk every day. all this makes it easier for the government to cut the two metre rule. businesses, especially in hospitality, are desperate to see that, but there are scientific experts who believe it's still too soon to reduce the alert level. i think when you change an alert level, it sends a message to the public that they don't need to be
so alert and they don't need to be so concerned about the virus, and i think we still have thousands of cases in the community — we know that from the 0ns data — and we do need to move very cautiously. and a reminder of the dangers, as this meat processing plant in yorkshire had to close because of a new outbreak. the virus has declined, but it hasn't gone away. david shukman, bbc news. more evidence has emerged of the greater risk faced by some minority groups in the uk from coronavirus. a major study has found that people of south asian origin who've been admitted to hospital are most likely to die from the illness. data from nearly 35,000 people found the risk of death for south asians was up by a fifth compared to that for white people. 0ur health correspondent dominic hughes reports. the family of dr abdul mabud chowdhury have paid a heavy price during the coronavirus crisis.
working on the front line of the nhs meant dr chowdhury, who died at the height of the pandemic, was already at risk of infection. now it's clear that as a man of south asian heritage, that risk was even greater. it was quite clarifying. it clarifies why my dad passed, because my dad was a really healthy, strong, fit man, so the fact that he wasn't able to fight this off, i knew it couldn't be a fault of his, but a fault on a larger scale — that larger scale being that south asians are so much more prone to dying from this virus. today's study of 35,000 hospital patients across england, scotland and wales found those from a south asian background were 20% more likely to die than white people. with an average age of 60, they were also 12 years younger, and 40% of south asian patients had type 1 or type 2 diabetes, compared with 25% of white groups. asians and other ethnic minorities are in occupations which are at greater risk.
we do need to think about how we deal with ethnicity and pre—existing conditions like diabetes as we ease lockdown and, potentially, if other preventative treatments such as vaccination are available in the future, how those are used. higher rates of diabetes accounts for some of the increased risk among the south asian community, but not all of it. poverty, employment and housing may also play a role. and for these two gps in manchester, that leads to wider questions around improving the integration in minority communities into the health system. many communities live in a bubble and, in effect, find it difficult to understand or accept messages that come out from government because there's language barriers or cultural barriers. and it's how we, as a wider system, make sure that the messages get across, but the messages are also implemented. the emphasis needs to also be on employers to do risk assessments on the employees, and that covers all aspects
of workers, from taxidrivers to people working in supermarkets. the sense of loss felt by the chowdhury family is one shared by thousands more, and still we are discovering disturbing new details about this virus. dominic hughes, bbc news, manchester. sri lanka's tourism sector contributes around 11% to its gdp, but the country has been closed to holidaymakers since its strict coronavirus lockdown. now, there are some novel plans to lure travellers back, as reged ahmad reports. about 15 metres underwater, with divers dressed as mermaids, a sri lankan navy commander cuts a ribbon to declare this underwater museum open. based in the southern port city of galle, the navy says it is the first of its kind in the country. the statues are made
from discarded concrete and steel, and the project aims to encourage the regeneration of corals and fish breeding. galle is a favourite for holidaymakers. in 2019, sri lanka as a whole attracted around 2 million tourists. but the country's strict lockdown in march brought its multibillion—dollar tourism industry to a screeching halt. the curbs included a 24—hour nationwide curfew and a ban on any gathering. sri lanka's covid—19 case numbers and deaths remain very low compared to other countries, and its lockdown restrictions have been easing in recent weeks. earlier this month, officials held mock elections to test out new coronavirus voting measures ahead of parliamentary elections rescheduled for august. that is also when sri lanka is planning to open its borders to tourists, and it is hoping sites like these might help bring travellers back to its shores. reged ahmad, bbc news.
the uk government is planning to relax its travel quarantine early next month for some people arriving in the uk. at the moment, almost anyone arriving from any country, apart from the republic of ireland, must self—isolate for two weeks. but talks are ongoing with officials from a number of european countries about establishing travel corridors, meaning passengers on certain routes will be exempt. the bbc has been granted exclusive access into russia's foreign intelligence service. the director sergei naryshkin criticised america, accusing it of trying to "rule the world". he also said russia doesn't trust what britain says about the salisbury poisonings. 0ur moscow correspondent steve rosenberg reports. he runs one of russia's most secretive organisations but sergei naryshkin
agreed to meet me — the first time foreign media have been allowed inside russia's equivalent of m16 — and he quickly took aim at america. translation: i think some politicians in the west had false expectations. they felt like that the world could be ruled from one centre, washington. the most important lesson from the past is that if any country tries to rule the world all by itself, this will undoubtedly end in disaster. sergei naryshkin is a close ally of vladimir putin. they've known each other since their kgb days. western leaders regularly accuse russia of waging a hybrid war against the west. the european union only recently accused russia of a campaign of disinformation over coronavirus. why is russia doing this? do you accept that it's happening?
how can they say ‘disinformation'? russia sincerely offered to help our friend italy fight coronavirus. we sent them equipment and hundreds of military doctors. what kind of disinformation is that? but can you understand why perhaps in the west there is a lack of trust towards russia at the moment when you look at some of the things that have been happening — like the salisbury poisonings that britain believes russia is behind? we don't trust what the british government's been saying about salisbury. when they say it's "highly likely" that russia's to blame, we're not convinced by that. and, as moscow prepares for a giant world war ii victory parade on red square, russia's spy chief accuses the west of downplaying his country's role in defeating hitler. many young people in the west and eastern europe think it was the usa alone that defeated nazi germany and liberated europe.
such ignorance is not accidental. it's deliberate, to create the impression that everything good in the past and the present is connected with one country, america. social distancing rules are less stringent in russia, so what are the chances of a closer relationship between moscow and the west? well, russia's foreign intelligence chief had praise for one englishman, at least — winston churchill, seen here with the soviet dictatorjoseph stalin. he was shocked that the churchill statue in london had been targeted by protesters. churchill was a great man, a great political leader. i think it's a real shame about the statue. how can you treat your own history like that? the russian spy who thinks the past needs guarding as much as the present. steve rosenberg, bbc news, moscow.
that's it. get me on twitter. i'm @lvaughanjones. i'm lewis warned jones and this is bbc news. goodbye. —— lewis vaughan jones. hello. the weather through the course of the weekend is looking a little bit mixed. we'll see some settled, largely dry weather, i think, on saturday. but do expect a bit more rain overnight, and into sunday as well. this picture was taken on friday afternoon in highland scotland — some blue sky and some shower cloud around there. for most of us on saturday, we're looking at a largely dry day. some spells of sunshine, similar to this. just one or two showers around, but i think most people should avoid them. so we have got this ridge of higher pressure building in. that should hold onto the weather for saturday. but this area of low pressure, this weather front, not far away. that'll be more of a player through saturday night, and into sunday too. so we start the morning, a few misty patches around. one or two early showers across parts of southern england, south wales as well. they'll drift through parts of the midlands into eastern england, i think, during the afternoon,
but they are pretty hit—and—miss. many places staying dry with some long spells of sunshine. it'll feel pleasantly warm with temperatures between about 18—21 for most of us. but the winds will be picking up in the west and we'll see that rain arriving into ireland, pushing into wales, —— that rain arriving into northern ireland, pushing into wales, western parts of england and scotland. and then overnight, that band of rain will sweep its way eastwards, so i think we're all going to be seeing a spell of wet weather overnight and into the early hours of sunday morning. but still mild, certainly overnight, with those temperatures holding in the teens for most of us. —— temperatures holding in the mid teens for most of us. but through the day on sunday, this cold front is going to push its way eastwards, so it will introduce some slightly cooler, fresher air coming in from the west. quite blustery conditions as well. afairamount of isobars on that map. through the day on sunday, then, those showers push their way gradually eastwards. there will be some sunshine but further heavy downpours moving in, particularly for northern ireland and western scotland later on in the day. perhaps a few between western england and north wales, too. quite blustery winds, too, coming in from a south—westerly direction through
the day on sunday. -- quite blustery winds, too, coming in from a west or south—westerly direction through the day on sunday. so temperatures still not bad for the time of year, somewhere between about 17—22 degrees, but it will feel that little bit fresher, particularly with the showers and the breeze around, too. as we move through monday and into tuesday, then, well, you'll notice a weather front trying to push into the north—west but we've got an area of high pressure building out towards the east, and that combination is going to be moving this quite warm, humid air up across the uk. so if we have a look at the outlook into the new working week, still a few showers around in the north, but temperatures on the rise for all of us. we could see highs up to about 31 degrees in london. bye— bye.
this is bbc news, the headlines: one of america's most public prosecutors is refusing to step down even though his was said to have resigned. mr berman oversaw several associates including his former lawyer. he was also investigating rudy giuliani, mr trump's lawyer. rallies are being held across america to markjuneteenth, an unofficial holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the united states. demonstrations demanding justice are taking place in many cities. the day has taken on extra significance this year in response to the "black lives matter" movement. brazil has now recorded over a million cases of coronavirus — and 119,000 deaths. it's the second worst—affected country after the united states.