this is bbc news, i'm rich preston. our top stories: gunfire. the taliban seizes a provincial capital in southern afghanistan, as the un's envoy demands the militants end their offensive. we are extremely concerned about the safety and security of people in cities under taliban attacks, and what reality would await them. —— brutality. nearly half the regions in greece are on high alert, as the worst wildfires in decades rage across the country. i am sarah mulkerrins, live in tokyo, day 15 of the olympic games where kenya's peresjepchirchir has won gold in the women's marathon. and the remarkable spectacle
of south africa's sardine run and the predators it attracts. hello and welcome to the programme. welcome to the programme. to our viewers on pbs welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and around the world. let's begin in afghanistan, where in a major escalation of the taliban's offensive, the militants have captured a provincial capital, zaranj, close to the border with iran, and assassinated a close aide of the president's. they've made sweeping gains since foreign forces started withdrawing from the country. the united nations�* special envoy has warned the country is facing a possible catastrophe, and called on the taliban to halt the violence and take part in meaningful peace talks. our world affiars correspondent richard galpin has more. our world affairs correspondent richard galpin has more. in the heart of the afghan capital, another assassination.
taliban gunmen opening fire on this car, killing the head of the government's media information centre, dawa khan menapal. they'd warned officials would be targeted in response to air strikes by afghan and us forces. the war now increasingly spilling into the capital. but the taliban are also now targeting other key cities in this, their latest offensive. they claim to have captured the city of zaranj in the south—west of the country. officials say if true, it would be the first provincial capital to fall into their hands in this, the latest upsurge in fighting. and the taliban claim more will follow. at the united nations in new york, there are now calls for action. the council must act and prevent a catastrophic situation. we are alarmed by reports of incidents of gross human rights violations by the taliban and their foreign
terrorist associates in almost half of our country. and we are extremely concerned about the safety and security of people in cities under taliban attacks, and what brutality would await them. the question now, though, is what action can be taken, given the taliban advances have been precipitated by the withdrawal of foreign troops from afghanistan. the futures of millions of afghans are at stake. i think the region should very clearly tell the taliban that taliban coming to power through force and continuing the violence is unacceptable. they need to see that their government will not be accepted and recognised. but for now, at least, it seems unlikely the taliban will stop their offensive. they seem determined to seize as much ground as they can. richard galpin, bbc news. here in europe, a severe heatwave has caused a series of wildfires in greece, with strong winds fanning the flames.
thousands of people have been moved from their homes in the suburbs north of the capital athens. an extreme fire warning has been issued, with the greek prime minister saying the country's in the midst of an unprecedented environmental crisis. bethany bell sent this report from athens. around athens, the hillsides are burning. people are desperately trying to put out the flames using whatever they can find. helicopters are bringing water to drop on the fires, but the scorching winds don't help. it's so dry here you can actually hear the parched branches crackle as they burn. emergency crews are struggling to stop the wildfires from spreading. this woman is trying to save her home.
her husband's a firefighter, but she has no idea where he is. translation: i'm not leaving here, - at least for as long as i can. my house is behind here. you can see the roof. i'm not leaving, whatever happens. the effects of the fires are devastating. villages have been burnt out, and dead animals litter the roads. and it's continuing. tonight, we watched as another blaze raged in the outskirts of athens. all day long, a fire has been burning on the other side of this mountain, and now it's coming over the hill. people have been told to leave this area as soon as possible, and we've seen people pack up their cars and go. the air is full of smoke and ash. people here are desperately worried about what's going to happen to their homes. this man's house is up on that hillside. he managed to bring his family to safety. as the flames head towards his
house, all he can do is watch. this i cannot sleep. i have my mind there. i don't think that someone can sleep if he knows that maybe his only house will be destroyed. it was too dangerous to stay here. the police arrived to move people away. it's going to be a long night. people hoping against hope that their homes will be spared. bethany bell, bbc news, athens. let's get some of the day's other news. police have arrested two burmese citizens accused of plotting to kill or injure myanmar�*s ambassador to the united nations. kyaw moe tun has been a vocal critic of myanmar�*s military rulers. he earlier thanked the us government and un for their
protection. and the us military�*s central command has announced the results of an investigation into a drone attack on a merchant tank off the coast of oman. it has concluding that the drone was made in iran. a british and romanian were killed, tehran has already denied orchestrating the attack. and lawyers for the new york governor andrew cuomo have called into question the results of enquiry that said the governor had sexually assaulted women office. he has denied the allegations. one of the governor's accuses has filed a formal complaint against him. families of the ii families of the 11 september terrorist attacks in the united states have called on president joseph biden not to attend the
anniversary of the attacks, attacks, unless he declassifies files about the assaults, which they believe implicate saudi arabian officials in the plot. saudi arabia denies any involvement. what are they demanding? it is 700 peeple _ what are they demanding? it is 700 peeple who _ what are they demanding? it 3 700 people who have signed what are they demanding? it 1 700 people who have signed this letter, they have been asking for the government to declassified documents on whether the saudi arabian government was located in the al-qaeda plot, so whether saudi officials assisted or aided or funded these hijackers in any way. the saudi government has always said he was not involved and previous us administrations had refused to declassified documents, saying it was a national security issue. this letter is saying it is 20 years since this happened, there is no reason why this information has to be kept secret, and furthermore, joe biden made a campaign pledge to try to resolve this issue, and if he
doesn't do so, then the people who signed this letter say "we will feel obliged to publicly stand against him participating in any memorial services come september". they are basically drawing a line in the sand, and the white house has responded, the white house has responded, the white house spokesperson said that mr biden was indeed still committed to that pledge, she also said that white house officials had met family members a number of times, but theissue, members a number of times, but the issue, it is not clear how this is going to play out. is 20 years since the attacks, is there a sense to whether most americans feel sympathetic to those behind this letter and that they have a legitimate argument as to whether these papers should be released? i’m papers should be released? i'm not sure papers should be released? i“n not sure what polling there has been done about that, i don't think it is a widely discussed issue in terms of how these family members and people who have been affected by the
attack have pursued the saudi government over these past years, but they have been very dedicated. the us government commission that investigated the 9/11 attacks found no evidence that the saudi government had directly funded al-qaeda, but it left open the matter of whether individual officials may have done so, and so these families have long maintained that the saudi government was aware of the attack in advance and did nothing to stop it, and specifically they want to prove that some saudi nationals helped two of the hijackers in the months leading up to the attack and that a diplomat in the saudi embassy in washington co—ordinated that. so that is their argument, and then separately, they are also suing the saudi government, the families of around 2500 victims, then around 20,000 others who were either injured or otherwise affected by 9/11 are suing the saudi government for billions, and that lawsuit is ongoing. ok, barbara, thank
you. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: the us town playing host to the largest motorcycle rally in the world — despite a rise in covid cases, due to the delta variant. the question was whether we wanted to save our people and japanese as well and win the war, or whether we wanted to take a chance on being able to win the war by killing all our young men. the invasion began at two o'clock this morning. mr bush, like most other people, was clearly caught by surprise. we call for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all iraqi forces. 100 years old and still full of vigor, vitality and enjoyment of life. no other king or queen in british history has lived so long, and the queen mother is said to be quietly very pleased indeed
that she's achieved this landmark anniversary. this is a pivotal| moment for the church as an international movement _ the question now is - whether the american vote will lead to a split - in the anglican community. this is bbc news — our main headlines: the taliban have seized a provincial capital in southern afghanistan as the un envoy demands the militants and their offensive. and nearly half the regions in greece are on high alert as the worst wildfires in decades rage across the country. in the united states, it's estimated up to 750,000 people will flock to the sturgis motorcycle rally in south dakota over the next ten days. the rally is mecca for bikers
who are determined to come despite the pandemic and a rise in covid cases due to the delta variant. so what are organisers doing this year to keep cases down? earlier i spoke to daniel ainslie, he is the city manager for sturgis, and i asked for his reaction to some criticism that last year's rally was a super spreader event allegedly leading to some 250,000 cases. you know, that estimate really came from an incredibly biased study that used a false narrative before they even began doing any of their actual research. when you look at the oxford study that actually counted real cases that were verified, there was about a63 cases that came from the event last year, that had almost 500,000 people. if you compare that to another metropolitan area in america, of 400—500,000 people, we were actually the second lowest amount of transmission. so actually all things considered it was a very, very low
transmission rate, especially when you look at the actual verified cases, versus people just using pure speculation. can you talk us through... crosstalk. yeah, go ahead. can you talk us through what is going ahead this year and the measures you have put in place to keep this event as safe as possible? sure, this year so far what we have started to see is our numbers are easily meeting what they were for our largest rally which was in 2015, that was the 75th anniversary, at that we had 750,000 people, so i think you can probably anticipate somewhere in the range of 600—800,000 people will come here over the course of the last, or the next ten days. as far as mitigation measures, we of course have, anyone who would like to have a vaccine, they are able to do that, we also have numerous, we have thousands of covid tests that are available, we have actually started delivering those to anyone who requests them, we have hand
sanitising stations, we have all sorts of mitigation measures that are in place, but the reality is, this comes down to personal choice, and there comes a point where i think so many people have already reached that immunity level, whether it is through vaccinations or through their previous cases, and if someone is not immune to the virus, if they are in a susceptible range, we would recommend them not to attend and to come next year. we can see the backdrop behind you, the streets filling with people, for those who don't follow the motorcycle culture, give us a sense of the event and what is about? sure, most of the time when people come to sturgis they spend the vast majority of their time outdoors, which i think is something that people don't necessarily understand. they will spend easily half the day riding through the mountains of south dakota, it is spectacular scenery, most of the time they will end up going
to either crazy horse or mount rushmore, spending time at lakes and going through canyons, seeing our wildlife, and then when they end up coming to downtown sturgis, which most people end up doing, they will spend most of their time outside and they will end up just watching literally thousands of motorcycles that are lining our main street as well as all the sidestreets, it is by far the greatest display of motorcycles you could ever see in the world. so almost all the time is spent outdoors. now let's get an update from the olympics. day 15 of the games is well underway in tokyo. here's how the medal table stands at the moment, china is still on top with 36 gold medals, with usa in second place and the host nation japan in third. for more on this, we can now cross live to tokyo and sarah mulkerrins. we have had ourfirst gold of
the day already. we we have had our first gold of the day already.— the day already. we have. it has gone — the day already. we have. it has gone to _ the day already. we have. it has gone to kenya _ the day already. we have. it has gone to kenya in - the day already. we have. it has gone to kenya in the - has gone to kenya in the women's marathon early this morning here injapan. not in tokyo, it is in sapporo in the north ofjapan. they tokyo, it is in sapporo in the north of japan. they moved the marathon in the race walks up there to try and counteract the extreme heat in tokyo that it has at this time of year however they had bad luck because it is as hot in sapporo at the moment as it is here in tokyo. so much so that they actually brought forward the start of that women's marathon by one hours so they began at 6am local time. they battled the conditions and it was can you's peresjepchirchir who won the gold ahead of the fancied winner, brigid kosgei, also from kenya. she settled for the silver medal. she is a world record holder in this event and it was her compatriot who crossed the line in gold medal position and what a story full got bronze medal. the usa competitor in her second marathon. herfirst official
marathon. herfirst official marathon she qualified for the olympics to take part 1a usa full games with an delayed one year and here she is winning a bronze medal injust her year and here she is winning a bronze medal in just her second marathon. bronze medal in 'ust her second marathon._ marathon. not bad. absolutely amazinu . marathon. not bad. absolutely amazing. this _ marathon. not bad. absolutely amazing. this is _ marathon. not bad. absolutely amazing. this is the _ amazing. this is the penultimate day of action. what is on the cards for the rest of the day? i is on the cards for the rest of the day?— the day? i have been very intrigued _ the day? i have been very intrigued by _ the day? i have been very intrigued by the _ the day? i have been very intrigued by the women's| the day? i have been very - intrigued by the women's golf which is under way right now because we have the world number one from the usa who had been out in front and dominating for the last three rounds but she is struggling a little bit now full she started at 16 under but she has just had a double bogey on the seventh and she is back now and there are three players in for a share of the lead on 1a underpar. nellie corder and new zealand �*s lydia co was a phenomenal talent in golf, the youngest player ever to be world number one. she is up there and a 23—year—old from india. she is unheralded in the game and has not achieved too much but she is going to the track toe to toe with those big
names so that will be quite battle down the final stretch. later we will also have the men's basketball final between the usa and france. the usa are rocking the tournament. they lost two warner matches and lost two warner matches and lost the open to france. they have pulled it back together and are going for the fourth consecutive gold but they are facing the one team who has defeated them in this tournament in france so i think that will be quite a scrap for the gold medal.— that will be quite a scrap for the gold medal. and what are the gold medal. and what are the big stories _ the gold medal. and what are the big stories of _ the gold medal. and what are the big stories of this - the gold medal. and what are the big stories of this game . the big stories of this game has been the mental health of athletes and several are using the games as a platform to talk about that. hauser gone down with the athletes spoke to in tokyo? with the athletes spoke to in to 0? ., . , with the athletes spoke to in to 0? ., ., , ., with the athletes spoke to in to 0? ., ., ., tokyo? -- how has that gone down? most _ tokyo? -- how has that gone down? most athletes - tokyo? -- how has that gone down? most athletes we - tokyo? -- how has that gone i down? most athletes we speak tokyo? -- how has that gone - down? most athletes we speak to appreciate that these conversations are being put out there and that people are being open and honest about it. you can really hear a sense of that in much of the post race or postevent interviews that are being conducted here. watch of
it began with simone biles when she withdrew from that team event and the pressure on her in the buildup to these about the records that she could break and she had to step away because of her mental health for a period of time. that allowed others to talk honestly and openly about their experiences and to support each other as well through it all, to recognise what they all go through. one of the people i have been speaking to here at the games is the british diver jack laugher who won gold and silver in rio and won bronze here and he was delighted without medal because he has been on such a journey since then, particularly over the last few years. he explained to me the struggles that he has had to go through to get here. my had to go through to get here. myjourney has been very difficult. after the 2019 world championships in my final dive i championships in my final dive iaimost — championships in my final dive i almost failed it and had a very— i almost failed it and had a very similar problem to simone biles _ very similar problem to simone biles where i lost my spot and my awareness in my diving, something that i had been so
natural— something that i had been so natural out for my entire life. and _ natural out for my entire life. and that _ natural out for my entire life. and that played massively with my head. i had real mental health_ my head. i had real mental health struggles afterwards with— health struggles afterwards with anxiety around competing, anxiety— with anxiety around competing, anxiety around the skill itself and being physically scared of doing — and being physically scared of doing this skill. and i wanted to quit — doing this skill. and i wanted to quit and i wanted to end my career— to quit and i wanted to end my career because i felt like maybe _ career because i felt like maybe this is in. when i was competing back in rio i got gold — competing back in rio i got gold and silver and everything was so — gold and silver and everything was so easy and it came so naturally— was so easy and it came so naturally to me. i did not have to think— naturally to me. i did not have to think about anything. ijust enjoyed — to think about anything. ijust enjoyed the moment and i dived stopped — enjoyed the moment and i dived stopped but the last two years because — stopped but the last two years because of the issues faced i have — because of the issues faced i have not— because of the issues faced i have not been myself. the fact that athletes now are using their— that athletes now are using their platforms to talk about these — their platforms to talk about theseissues their platforms to talk about these issues that everybody goes — these issues that everybody goes through, there is no limit on mental— goes through, there is no limit on mental health, you can be absolutely anyone, a normal person— absolutely anyone, a normal person going through your nonnat— person going through your normal life or you can be a superhero athlete like simone bites — superhero athlete like simone biies or— superhero athlete like simone biles or anyone, naomi osaka, all these — biles or anyone, naomi osaka, all these amazing athletes also struggle with mental health and it may— struggle with mental health and it may seem on social media other— it may seem on social media other people are happy but no-one _ other people are happy but no—one truly knows what is going — no—one truly knows what is going on— no—one truly knows what is going on behind—the—scenes and that is_ going on behind—the—scenes and
that is one — going on behind—the—scenes and that is one of the scary things about— that is one of the scary things about mental health. everyone takes _ about mental health. everyone takes a — about mental health. everyone takes a demons home with them and only— takes a demons home with them and only some of the closest people — and only some of the closest people know what the struggle everybody is going through. but now i_ everybody is going through. but now i feel that everyone is using _ now i feel that everyone is using the platform for a good cause — using the platform for a good cause and hopefully in the future _ cause and hopefully in the future that means that more people — future that means that more people will reach out and get the help— people will reach out and get the help they seriously need, especially the man. that is jack laugher. _ especially the man. that is jack laugher, an _ especially the man. that isj jack laugher, an important message there from him and quite interesting to have that conversation, so open and honest about his experiences and wanting to talk about it in order to try and have others along the way and i think that will be one of the legacies, potentially of this olympic games. �* . , potentially of this olympic games. �* ., , ., , games. and as well as the mental health _ games. and as well as the mental health legacy - games. and as well as the mental health legacy in i games. and as well as the | mental health legacy in the coronavirus, of course, this games is being notable for several new sports being introduced as well to the olympics. introduced as well to the olympics— introduced as well to the ol mics. , , ~ introduced as well to the ol mics. , , �* , olympics. absolutely. and they have gone _ olympics. absolutely. and they have gone down _ olympics. absolutely. and they have gone down so _ olympics. absolutely. and they have gone down so well. - olympics. absolutely. and they have gone down so well. the i olympics. absolutely. and they. have gone down so well. the ioc wanted to introduce the likes of skateboarding and surfing in order to bring a younger generation of fans to the olympics to try and protect
their future, essentially. olympics to try and protect theirfuture, essentially. they want young fans to come with them through the next 20—30 years. and when we look at the entertainment value that they provided, the great height that they were getting in the drama they were getting in the drama they provided, the new stars as well, but, also, the culture that they brought to it. in the skateboarding in particular, the athletes are celebrating with each other regardless of where they went, you know? they were celebrating an achievement and you do not often see that in elite sport. so i think it has been a huge success. i think they will be congratulating themselves on that front. congratulating themselves on that front-— congratulating themselves on thatfront. ., _ ' . ~ that front. lovely stuff. thank ou for that front. lovely stuff. thank you forjoining _ that front. lovely stuff. thank you forjoining us _ that front. lovely stuff. thank you forjoining us once - that front. lovely stuff. thank you forjoining us once again. | now to south africa where a truly phenomenal event occurs each year — the sardine run. from may tojuly, millions of sardines move northward along the east coast of south africa — with thousands of ocean predators and birds in their trail. clarisse fortune has the story. deep under south africa's east coast, a beautiful and intriguing ballet�*s being performed, a choreographed dance of nature.
it's the annual migration of millions of sardines, the so—called sardine run, in this part of the indian ocean. but behind the beautiful sight looms danger. it attracts a host of marine predators looking for food. these dolphins lead the trail. they're on the hunt, a sure sign of an upcoming feast. this is a super pod of common dolphins. so, hejust sort of breached there... thousands and thousands of common dolphins, and these guys are always seen associated with the sardine run. this group of divers are scanning the surface for activity. and after several hours at sea, they strike it lucky. the cape gannets are there already. this is what's known as a bait ball, a group of sardines that predators have cut off from the main shoal. sardines are always looking
for depth, for protection, so they're trying to go down deep and that's where the sharks come in. the sharks are at the bottom, stopping them from going down. so, you have the sharks at the bottom, you've got the dolphins around the edges. and you can see how those dolphins... you see how they're jumping around like that? they're basically stopping the sardines from running away. and then one of the most menacing of guests arrives. stealthy, deadly, a large dusky sharkjoins the frenzy. the bait ball is decimated in minutes, to thejoy of the watching tourists. it was great! it was amazing! best time ever! if you haven't had that, you're not living. - you've got to have that. that is an amazing experience. the hunt will repeat itself many times over the next three to four months as kilometres of shoals migrate. clarisse fortune, bbc news. and that is it from us for the
time being. i am available on twitter. send us a note we would love to hear from you. from me and the team, thank you for watching. hello there. the very unsettled august weather continues into this weekend. low pressure nearby will generate further showers, and again, like friday, we could see some thunderstorms which could lead to some localised flooding in places. but there will be some good spells of sunshine in between, particularly across more southern areas. so, here it is, this area of low pressure, which is going to stick around both saturday, sunday and indeed even into monday. lots of isobars on the charts, so it'll be quite breezy again, particularly across southern, south—western areas, and across the northern isles, gusts of 30—110 mph. we'll have showers pretty much from the word go anywhere, but most of them will be across scotland, northern ireland, western england and wales. they will drift their way further eastwards into the afternoon, and again there'll be some torrential downpours in places. but some good spells of sunshine, particularly
across the south—east. another breezy day, these are the mean wind speeds. temperatures will be a bit disappointing for august, particularly when the showers come along, it'll feel quite cool. but in the sunny spells, we could make 20 degrees or so across the south—east. otherwise, generally the mid to high teens celsius. as we head through saturday night, we continue with the breeze, further showers. again, some of them will be quite heavy, particularly across central, northern and western areas. perhaps turning a little bit quieter across the south east quadrant of the country. and again nowhere particularly cold, with overnight lows 12—14 degrees. so, into sunday, ourarea of low pressure still with us, drifting a little bit further northwards and weakening a little bit. there's fewer isobars on the charts, but there's still enough energy in the low pressure system to generate further showers, which again could be quite heavy in places throughout sunday. mainly across central and northern parts of the country, because i think as we head on into the afternoon, there may be a greater chance of seeing some sunnier, nine drier weather for wales, central and southern england. so, that mayjust bump up
temperatures to 21 degrees, slightly lighter winds. again, for most, though, the high teens celsius. into next week, then, for monday, our area of low pressure's still with us, so it's going to be another day of sunshine and showers. but the winds will turn light, and the system continues to weaken. and as we head on into tuesday, we've got this bump of high pressure which will build in, and that should settle things down. but low pressure always close by to the north and the west of the uk. so, we'll have most of the showers through the new week across northern and western areas. greater chance of seeing some drier, sunnier and warmer weather in the south and east.
this is bbc news. the headlines: afghan officials say the taliban have seized the south—west city of zaranj, the first provincial capital to fall to the militants for five years. during a un emergency meeting to discuss the worsening violence, its envoy to the region demanded the militants end their offensive. nearly half the regions in greece are on high alert as the worst wildfires in decades rage across the country. the government has issued a warning about a second wave of blazes as strong winds whip up many of the fires that were being brought under control. the penultimate day of action at the olympics is underway in tokyo. kenya's peresjepchirchir has won the women's marathon, claiming the country's second consecutive gold medal in the event. later, medals will also be up for grabs in basketball, volleyball and golf. now on bbc news, global questions.