this is bbc news, i'm aaron safir. our top stories: russian opposition leader alexei navalny leaves hospital and is expected to be flown to germany — in a coma. it's claimed he was poisoned. lightning strikes spark several hundred more wildfires including some of the biggest ever seen in the state. protestors in belarus form a human chain across the capital, as the opposition leader tells the bbc the campaign against the president goes on. just we have no right to step back now because... ..if not not, we'll be slaves. and, swimming into the unknown, the volunteers putting themselves forward to be infected with covid—19.
hello and welcome to bbc news. we start in russia — where the seriously ill opposition politician, alexei navalny, has left hospitalfor the airport where he'll be flown to germany for further treatment. a german air—ambulance is standing by at omsk airport, in siberia. his supporters say he was intentionally poisoned and they've accused the kremlin of trying to cover it up. our correspondent sarah rainsford has this report from moscow. she spent all day battling for her husband. convinced alexei navalny has been poisoned, yulia wants him moved abroad. away from a siberian hospital that is bristling with plainclothes security.
translation: this situation is outrageous. it's clear they are hiding something. we demand that the hospital release alexei to us immediately, so we can take him to doctors we trust. alexei navalny collapsed on a flight to moscow, carried off in a coma after an emergency landing. "crooks and thieves," is what he calls those in power here. mr navalny is russia's loudest voice of opposition and his forensic anti—corruption investigations are hated by those they target. today, his russian doctor suggested there could be an innocent explanation. not poison, but low blood sugar, perhaps. his family are not chancing it. an air ambulance was flown in, and when the german medics
on board finally saw mr navalny, theyjudged him stable enough to leave. so the russian team have done a u—turn, earning themselves a round of relieved applause. alexei navalny remains critically ill tonight, still unconscious, but his family hope a foreign clinic can give them some clearer answers. sarah rainsford, bbc news, moscow. in california, lightning strikes over the past 2a hours have ignited several hundred more wildfires, including some of the biggest ever seen in the state. at least five people have died and over 175,000 residents have now been forced to flee their homes. and, of course, the coronavirus pandemic is complicating efforts to fight these wildfires. sophie long has more from los angeles. vast infernos blaze throughout northern california, claiming at least five lives, destroying hundreds
of buildings and an area bigger than los angeles. copy, we're going in now. satellite images show the smoke cloaking most of california creating the worst air quality on the planet at a time when people are fighting a respiratory pandemic. and yet, this is political. but there are massive fires again in california. maybe we're just going to have to make them pay for it because they don't listen to us. we say, "you got to get rid of the leaves, you got to get rid of the debris, you got to get rid of the fallen trees. but most of the blazes were sparked by what's being called a trifecta of fire conditions. a freak summer lightning storm, the most intense for more than a decade, collided with a heat wave recording record temperatures, and the resulting flames fanned by high winds. if you are in denial about climate change, come to california. 11,000 dry lightning strikes we had over a 72—hour period leading to this unprecedented challenge.
california is no stranger to scenes like this but the ferocity of these fires so early in the season has astonished many of the thousands fighting them on the front line. temperatures are expected to ease but the fires are now generating so much heat, they are creating their own winds — pushing them in multiple unpredictable directions, threatening tens of thousands of homes. sophie long, bbc news, los angeles. thousands of british holiday—makers are racing to get back to the uk, before new government coronavirus quarantine restrictions come into force. in two hours‘ time here in london, anyone returning from croatia, austria and trinidad and tobago, will have to self—isolate for two weeks, because of a rise in infections in those countries. gavin lee reports from croatia. a late summer getaway on croatia's dalmatian coast, where there are more british
holiday—makers than from any other country. 17,000 uk tourists are here at the moment. for many, the break is now over just as it was beginning. they're leaving before mandatory quarantine rules kick in. i'm a teacher, so if i don't go back today, i miss being back at school, and the kids have been off for six months. we're both key workers in england, so we've had to pay an extra £400 for a flight home which leaves in two hours' time. so, we're heading there now. i'm just getting into a taxi, by the way. lawrence manning's on holiday with his partner in dubrovnik. they were due to fly back on saturday, but they're rushing to the airport this evening. our flight for a return was something like £350, and we just had to payjust over £750 to get two tickets back to the uk. further up the coast in the harbour of sibenik, a group of students from nottingham trent university say they need to be back for the start of term, but they can't afford the ticket prices. we obviously don't have
that much money saved up to get a flight home because of the inflation of prices. we are just really stuck here. we've all got part—time jobs as well, it's slightly annoying, because now we have to take time off of work, so we don't get any money to save up for uni. so what's going wrong in croatia? back in may and june, this country of 5 million people barely registered a single case a day. in the past week, there has been a notable rise — 265 cases in the past 2a hours. other eu countries are attributing clusters of new cases to tourists coming back from here. the country's secretary of state for tourism said the british decision was unfair but acknowledged there is a problem. it is true that we have several hotspots in croatia in recent days, but they are the result of non—compliance with the epidemiological measures. mostly, it's younger people in some nightclubs and other gatherings. but the uk isn't the only
country to add croatia to the quarantine list. there are four other countries this week, and it's here in split, where there'e concern that it's the epicentre, that people aren't listening to social distancing advice, and that's why it's become a problem here. tonight, this was the last uk—bound flight out of the country. a frantic day almost at an end for those getting back in time. for others, thinking ofjetting off for a late break elsewhere, the official advice is be prepared to unexpectedly have to quarantine. gavin lee, bbc news, split on the dalmatian coast. to the situation in belarus, where opposition leader svetla na tikhanovskaya has called on her supporters to step up their strikes at factories across the country to try to force new presidential elections. belarus is facing its biggest political crisis since the breakup of the soviet union, with tens of thousands of demonstrators saying veteran leader alexander lu kashenko's
re—election on the 9th of august was rigged. in the latest protest against lu kashenko, activists formed a human chain across the capital minsk. ms tikhanovskaya has been speaking exclusively to our europe correspondent jean mackenzie in lithuania. the woman many think should've been crowned president of belarus. a woman who never even wanted to be a politician — breaking cover for the first time since being forced into exile. she now leads the 0pposition from afar. and when we sit down with her, that reluctant sense of duty still shows. i just can't step away now, you know, because i became like a symbol of freedom. i understand that i'm not a leader. i'm more frightened than anybody else among them. what frightens you 7 i'm afraid that maybe i will not be able to do enough. i don't know, it'sjust a fear of responsibility.
this was the moment she disappeared, the day after the election when long—time president lukashenko declared himself the victor. when she emerged in lithuania, she hinted at a terrible choice she'd had to make to keep her children safe. can you tell me anything about what happened in those election offices and what choice you were given? i'm sorry, but i can't. not now. bela russians have ta ken to the streets like never before, to show they voted for tsikhanouskaya and are ready for change. "enough is enough," was her message for the regime today. "enough lying, intimidation and violence." the past weeks have seen protesters detained and badly beaten. how do you feel when you see the reports of violence that have come out of the country in the last week?
you know. . .i was really shocked. i didn't tell anybody, but i couldn't find peace, i was just crying. after a couple of hours, when we saw the first pictures, i can't imagine that belarussian people can be so cruel. with protests and strikes nearly into the third become alexander lukashenko shows no sign backing down. are you worried that the movement could fail? no, i'm not worried because i believe in belarussian people the same way they believed in me. we have no right to step back now because — if not now, we will be slaves. and our people understand this, and i'm sure we will stand till the end. that end for her is new elections, ones that are free and fair.
only then, she tells us, will bela russians know who their president truly is. jean mackenzie, bbc news. the us postmaster—general has told a senate committee that ballots in november's presidential election will be delivered securely and on time. amid concerns that recent policy changes were made to help re—elect president trump ? louis dejoy denied he had spoken to the president about service operations and said he himself would be voting by mail. barbara plett—usher has more. louis dejoy landed in the centre of a perfect storm when he became postmaster general two months ago, or did he create it? that's what this hearing was about. cutbacks that he's made to the postal services have delayed the mail and there's concerned that they will also delay mail—in ballots especially in a year where there is going to be a lot of them. and there's a suspicion that this is deliberate because president trump is against expanded mail—in voting, he says it's going to lead to widespread fraud although there's
no evidence of that. and he has opposed extra funding to the postal services because of that. but mr dejoy said there was no conspiracy to undermine the vote. he said that allegation was outrageous. he said he was a businessman who'd been brought in to fix the postal service, to whip it into shape because it was billions of dollars in debt. he said the changes he made so far did not reduce the capacity to deal with a lot of mail—in ballots but because of the concern expressed, he would put them on hold until after the election and he would make sure that things went as smoothly as possible with the mail—in ballots. but this isn't over yet, he's going to be appearing in front of another congressional hearing on monday and he's being sued by dc and six states. so thatjust shows you how much concern there is among democrats about this issue of voter suppression in this election year.
stay with us on bbc news, still to come... taylor—made donation. washington, the world's most political city, is today assessing the political health of the world's most powerful man. indeed, i did have a relationship with miss lewinsky that was not appropriate. in fact, it was wrong. in south africa, 97 people have been killed today in one of the worst days of violence between rival black groups. over the last ten days, 500 have died. czechoslovakia must be free. russia is observing a national day of mourning for the 118 sub mariners who died on board the kursk. we are all with them now, within our hearts. the pope has celebrated mass before a congregation of more than 2.5 million people in his hometown of krakow. "stay with us!"
chanted this ocean of humanity. "well, well," joked the pope, "so you want me to desert rome?" this is bbc news, the latest headlines... russian opposition leader alexei navalny has been driven out of hospital in siberia and is expected to be flown by air—ambulance to germany in the next few hours. his supporters say he has been poisoned. california's governor says lightning strikes have ignited several hundred more wilfires in the state. 12,000 firefighters are battling hundreds of blazes. in california, a mass—murderer known as the golden state killer, has been sentenced to life in prison. 74—year—old joseph de angelo murdered at least 13 people while working as a police officer in california in the 1970s and 1980s. he was only caught by a quirk of modern technology and earlier was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. a plea deal spared him
the death penalty. earlier, i asked our north american reporter regan morris about his victims — there were so many that their families couldn't all fit inside a court—room. that's right, he was sentenced inside a university ballroom and coronavirus had something to do with that because people had to be safely distanced. but there were dozens of people there, nowhere near the number of people impacted by this man, but they sat together as families. some of them gave impact statements, talking about his crimes, what the effect was on their families and he was sentenced right there in that courtroom. and he did apologise. he was in a wheelchair. he took off his mask and he told them, i am truly, truly sorry. why did it ta ke truly, truly sorry. why did it take so long for him to be caught, convicted and sentenced? well, he was a
police officer and during the 70s, some speculated they thought it was a police officer because he always seemed one step ahead of investigators. he knew what he was doing. he was fired in 1979 for shoplifting, so fired in 1979 for shoplifting, so he stopped being a police officer and he moved from the north of california, down to the south and that is when his crime spree widen. but they found him in this unusual, the first time this has happened in the united states, detectives loaded up some dna from a cold case and it matched some of his family. it was on a genealogy website, not a database of criminals. they were able to link to his family and then they were able to identify him as the golden state killer. scientists have repeatedly warned it could be
many months before we know if any of the 30 or so coronavirus vaccines currently undergoing trials, are effective. but one way to speed up the process would be to use so—called challenge trials, where volunteers are given the vaccine and then deliberately infected with coronavirus. here's our medical editor, fergus walsh. the longer we go without a vaccine, the longer people will die unnecessarily. young, healthy and determined. sean mcpartlin is 22 and studying in oxford. he keeps fit by swimming in the thames. i volunteered to be infected with the coronavirus. sean wants to take part in a so—called challenge trial, where he would first receive a vaccine against covid—19 and then be deliberately infected with coronavirus, to see if the vaccine protects him. my mother has a hereditary lung disorder, and every day we go without a vaccine is a day where she faces a risk that she might not have to. so i want to do everything
i can to help get that vaccine to her and everyone else like her as quickly as possible. the only way we'll know if a covid vaccine works is if volunteers later get exposed to the virus. but at the moment, that's being left entirely to chance. it could take months. deliberately infecting volunteers could speed things up. one day sooner is a group campaigning for vaccine challenge trials and it has the support of 15 nobel prize winners and many leading scientists. dominic wilkinson is an expert in medical ethics and an intensive care doctor. if you look at what's at stake, that thousands of lives that might be saved if we could get to a vaccine sooner, there is an ethical imperative to investigate and conduct challenge studies. a safe and effective vaccine against coronavirus is probably the only way our lives,
our society, the economy, will return to normal. so anything that can speed up its delivery has to be worth considering. but what about the risks of challenge trials? they are hard to calculate. but for healthy volunteers in their 20s, they are probably lower than the chances of dying from donating a kidney or having your appendix removed. dr katrina pollock is not convinced — at least not yet. she's running the trial of imperial college london's coronavirus vaccine. i'm not sure that it's going to necessarily accelerate development of the vaccine in a way that some people might hope. and there are certainly significant, at this point, ethical and safety considerations for doing it. we need a lot more understanding of this disease before we start thinking about those kind of studies. if coronavirus challenge studies do you ever take place,
volunteers would need to spend at least two weeks in quarantine at a clinical research unit. there are plenty like sean who are ready to sign up, hoping to play their part in the search for a vaccine. fergus walsh, bbc news. the head of the world health organisation says he hopes the coronavirus crisis can be over in less than two years. the comments by tedros adhanom ghebreyesus come as cases of the disease continue to surge in europe. france, spain, italy and germany have recorded their highest numbers of daily cases since the spring. let s get some of the day s other news. volunteers in mauritius say the government is blocking efforts to help clean up a recent oil spill. the authorities say the area has been restricted for health reasons. but there s concern to silence criticism of its handling of the spill. on tuesday, the ship's captain
was arrested and charged with endangering safe navigation. us actress, lori loughlin, has been sentenced to two months injailfor her part in a college admissions scam. along with other wealthy parents, she paid bribes so her children could get into top universities as fake athletic recruits. more than 50 people are facing charges over the scheme. in libya the internationally—recognised government of national accord has ordered its forces to cease hostilities and said parliamentary and presidential elections should be held in march next year. for its part, the eastern—based parliament, backed by the rebel leader general khalifa haftar, have said their forces will also stop fighting. in football, seville have won the europa league final against inter milan. the spanish side won an entertaining match by 3—2
in germany. they've now won the trophy six times. the game was played before an empty stadium in cologne. in the uk, the last few weeks have been uncertain for many school leavers hoping to get into university, but one student's dream is a step closer, thanks to the kindness of a very special stranger. vitoria mario, who's 18 and from london, set up an online fundraising page to help pay for college accomodation and living costs. and who should chip in, but us pop star, taylor swift. david sillito has the story. i couldn't believe it. ifeel, like, even now, i am still processing it. ijust can't believe it. it began with this text message. 18—year—old vitoria mario was in church and a friend wanted to let her know there had been a donation to her university gofundme page... ..from taylor swift. 2a hours later, it is still rather difficult to process. i was overwhelmed, i was happy, of course, very happy. i was very grateful. i wanted to hug
taylor swift, i guess! i want to say thank you, it's so amazing. i don't even know how to feel or how to handle my feelings. taylor swift had also left a message saying she had been inspired by vitoria story. vitoria had arrived from portugal on her own at 1a. four years later, she has two a—stars and a. you came to britain on your own at aged 14? you are not eligible for any maintenance grants, because you arrived here in britain on your own at aged 14? that's correct. speaking no english. no english at all. i learned mostly from the netflix. he learned english watching netflix? watching with the subtitles, so i can learn how to say it and learn how to write it. of course, this isn't the first pop charitable donation. ariana grande, rhianna and stormzy — with his
scholarship programme for black students — have all made large donations for those who are struggling. but taylor swift, who does have a new album out, has a track record of surprised gifts. but why vitoria's story touched her in particular is a mystery. where are you a taylor swift fan? of course! you're a fan now. of course, i know who she is, of course. ijust don't know... i don't know. david sillito, bbc news. a reminder of our top story.... in the last hour russian opposition leader alexei navalny has been driven out of hospital in siberia. he's heading to 0msk airport where a german air ambulance is standing by ready to fly to berlin. he remains in a coma. his family claim he was poisoned.
plenty more on that coming up here on bbc news. the last few days has brought windy weather across many parts of the country. on friday we had winds over 60 miles an hour in the south—west of wales, also the south—west of england and we saw those very strong winds pushing through the english channel as well, leading to some dramatic pictures taken earlier in the day. the weekend will not be as windy, because the deep area of low pressure that brought those unseasonably strong winds is moving away into the norwegian sea. we will continue to see some sunshine and some showers during saturday. they could be some heavy ones moving into scotla nd some heavy ones moving into scotland for a while, some longer spells of rain for northern ireland and though xiao is pushing into england and wales. driest and sunniest weather likely to be across the southern counties of england
and into east anglia. for england and wales, it is still a blustery day. not as windy but gusts of 35 to 40 miles an hour and that will take the edge off the temperatures, which may be lower than we had on friday. top temperature 22 degrees but further north and west, a few degrees cooler than that. heavy showers continue into the evening before fading away overnight and the wind continuing to drop as well. as we head into the second half of the weekend, there is a brief sign of this high pressure from the atlantic, but it is changing the wind direction to a cooler north—westerly. the wind is continuing to drop on sunday, lighter for much of the country. sunshine and showers. and on the heavy ones for northern ireland, pushing into northern and then eastern part of england with the risk of thunderstorms. 0ur of england with the risk of thunderstorms. our top temperature will be 21 degrees in the south—east on sunday, but quite a bit cooler than saturday across scotland with those north—westerly breezes.
into the early part of next week. first of all, a weather system coming in from the atlantic. it is a weak affair and the winds are light on monday but we are looking at a lot of cloud to move eastwards and patchy rain, may be heavy for across southern parts of england and wales. dry weather in the north—east of scotland but only 13 degrees in aberdeen and 19 degrees in cardiff. 0n tuesday and wednesday, we have a deep area of low pressure heading our way, threatening to bring more, very strong winds across the uk. the spell of rain will probably be followed by some sunshine and some showers.
this is bbc news. the headlines... the russian opposition leader alexei navalny has been driven out of hospital in siberia and is expected to be flown to germany for treatment. he remains seriously ill in a coma. there are claims he was poisoned. the governor of california says lightning strikes over the past 24 hours have sparked several hundred more wildfires in the region. some of the fires are the biggest recorded in the state. 12,000 firefighters are battling the blazes, and more than 100,000 people have been evacuated. thousands of british holidaymakers are racing to get back to the uk before new government coronavirus quarantine restrictions come into force. in an hour and a half anyone returning from croatia, austria, or trinidad and tobago, will have to self—isolate for two weeks, because of a rise in infections. president trump has been commenting on the democratic party convention, calling it shameful.