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tv   BBC News  BBC News  August 19, 2021 4:00am-4:31am BST

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this is bbc news, i'm lewis vaughanjones. our top stories: president biden says us troops could stay in afghanistan beyond the end of the month if more time is needed to get every american out. the taliban strengthens its grip on power, as many afghans desperately try to flee their country. "who will help us?" the people of haiti hit by saturday's powerful earthquake say there's still no assistance. and thousands are moved to safety as firefighters continue to battle blazes from greece to the french riviera.
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welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and around the globe. president biden says us troops might stay in afghanistan beyond his deadline at the end of the month, if more time is needed to get every american out of the country. it comes three days after the taliban takeover, which prompted thousands of people to try to leave. we'll have a full report from there in a moment, but first here's president biden explaining the chaos we've seen in kabul in the last few days. he's been speaking to us network abc news. when you had the when you had the government when you had the government of when you had the government of afghanistan, the leader of that government getting a plan, taking off to another country, when you saw the significant collapse of the afghan troops we had trained, up to 300,000 of them, just leaving their equipment and taking off, that
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was... . ., ., ,, equipment and taking off, that was... . . ., ,, ., was... that what happened. that is sim -l was... that what happened. that is simply what — was... that what happened. that is simply what happened. - 0ur north america correspondent, david willis has more on what president biden had to say. the president making the point that he is committed to keeping us forces in afghanistan until every american is evacuated, evenif every american is evacuated, even if that means maintaining a military presence in afghanistan beyond the deadline of august 31, that he himself set for a full american withdrawal. he said if there are american citizens left, we will stay until we get them all out. given the current pace of the withdrawal, it does seem as though the us is not going to make that deadline, which, of course, is less than two weeks away. it might still do, but at the current pace it is probably not going to do so. that, and the declaration by mr biden today in the same interview
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that the chaos we saw at kabul airport over the past few days was unavoidable, i think is only going to fuel criticism of the way that the us has handled this withdrawal. what about the wider public? i gather there is general support for the principle of withdrawing from afghanistan, but the political fallout for biden is still there. there was consistent approval in the polls coming up to the last few weeks for the withdrawal of american forces from afghanistan, but a poll conducted on monday by the reuters news agency showed that mr biden�*s approval rating is now at its lowest since he took office seven months ago, and less than half of those questions approve of that withdrawal, the way it carried out. biden has received criticism from not only
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republicans but also members of his own party, who believe this operation was botched, to put it mildly. meanwhile, the taliban are strengthening their grip on power in afghanistan. they've violently put down a demonstration in the eastern city of jalala bad. heavily armed taliban militants are patrolling the capital, kabul, and there are fewer women on the streets. 0ur correspondent secunder kermani has returned to the afghan capital for the first time since the taliban takeover on sunday and has sent this report. outside the airport, chaos continues. thousands are still desperate to leave the country. here, a girl — terrified. "the taliban are coming for me", she cries. this family has been camped outside here for five days. "the situation here is very bad", she says. "no one wants to live here. "everyone wants to live in peace and to be able to study. "we want to go anywhere
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that is safe." despite assurances from the taliban that anyone linked to the government will be given an amnesty, many here are deeply fearful for their future, and that's why we're still seeing these chaotic scenes the airport. no one's clear yet what comes next, but political discussions have begun. this was the arrival of a deputy leader of the taliban in kandahar — their spiritual home. whilst this is a member of the notorious haqqani family, deeply entrenched in the taliban's leadership, meeting with former president hamid karzai and other senior afghan politicians. in a speech tonight from the gulf, the former president, ashraf ghani, said he supported the efforts and hoped to return to the country. that seems unlikely. in the centre of kabul, early signs everyday life
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is beginning to resume. heavily armed taliban patrols are all around but shops and streets are busier than they've been since the takeover. "it's not the same as before", says this man. "people are scared but it's better than the past few days, at least." there are far fewer women out and about than before and they're dressed more conservatively, though not in the all—encompassing burqa. many major businesses have sent female employees home, unsure whether the taliban will allow them to work. but there have been signs of defiance. this is a protest in support of the afghan flag, replaced in some areas by the taliban's. a number of demonstrators were reportedly shot dead in jalalabad. whilst this was another rally in eastern afghanistan. look at the huge taliban convoy that's speeding towards it. the taliban have been making
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conciliatory noises in public, but many fear they won't tolerate any challenges to their authority. secunder kermani, bbc news, kabul. the international monetary fund has said afghanistan cannot access the fund's resources because of uncertainty over the recognition of the government in kabul by the international community. afghanistan was due to receive around $1160 million next week as part of a global imf response to the economic crisis. i spoke to a doctor from the centre for strategic and international studies, research organisation. i asked international studies, research organisation. iasked him if president biden was right to say the afghanistan government was responsible for the swift taliban takeover. i think it is disingenuous. in conversations i have had with senior afghan officials over the past few days, what they
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have indicated is that morale collapsed in part because the us was going to withdraw all of its forces, not provide any support, including air support in case of engagements,, and the taliban had the backing of the taliban had the backing of the trainees. you saw that with the trainees. you saw that with the chinese foreign minister meeting with one of the taliban leaders a few weeks ago. pakistan, the main backer, the iranians and the russians. i think this was a fait accompli, triggered by the us withdrawal. i think that was a critical factor. that is very interesting. was that moral issue a failure in us intelligence to work out that would happen? i don't think it was a failure of us intelligence, because us intelligence agencies have been becoming more dire in their
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assessments of a collapse of the afghan national security forces as we got into the spring and early summer of 2021. i think this is, spring and early summer of 2021. ithink this is, if anything, a failure of policy, and so the decision to leave, knowing the afghan national security forces might collapse, thatis security forces might collapse, that is what us intelligence assessments indicated — that is what i think is the failure. i see, what about an alternative? how could this withdrawal have been handled differently that would have led to a different result? i think there were probably two choices, one was what the us military had suggested, which was to leave a small footprint in the country, including keeping a presence at certain areas. the other was to start earlier in the spring, evacuating american citizens and others who had worked with us and other western forces. that wasn't done either. in it the us congress, there has been
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a lot of push among republicans and democrats to do that months ago. the pentagon did not do it. i see, given that we are where we are now, if you were in your old role, or any other role in the administration now, what would your priority? what would you try to do? in addition to getting americans, and those who also worked with other us and nato forces out, i would do two things, prepare for what is likely to be a humanitarian crisis with internally displaced persons and refugees. the second would be to put together a counterterrorism mission because one of the most striking developments over the past few days has been the release of thousands of foreign fighters, including al-qaeda fighters, including al-qaeda fighters from prisons in places like kandahar. the terrorism issue is not over. . ~' the terrorism issue is not over. ., ~ , ., the terrorism issue is not over. ., ~ ,, the terrorism issue is not over. ., ~' ,, , in other news, let's turn to haiti now.
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the head of the pan american health organization has called on the international community to provide urgent medical personnel and equipment to the country, which suffered a devastating earthquake last saturday. the earthquake is now known to have killed nearly 2,000 people. 0ur correspondent james clayton reports from near the epicentre of the quake. as you head out from the city of les cayes to rural marceline, the road is marked by landslides... ..and deep cracks. the village is remote and the scale of the damage, catastrophic. rosemary took me to her house. her 15—year—old son was charging his phone when the quake hit. the wall collapsed on him. translation: these are his books. - he had recently got them so he could start a new year of school.
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and now, he's gone. i wrap his shirt around my waist. it keeps me strong. when you come to these rural areas, the level of destruction just ups a notch. almost every single house here is completely destroyed. five people were killed in this house alone. and to understand why, you have to look at the cement and rock that these houses are built from. it's really hard to lift this, it's really heavy and of course, when those kinds of walls fall down, they can cause catastrophic injuries. with no sign of aid or help, many people are living on top of the rubble of what was their homes. "do we have to scream for the government to hear us," this woman says, "or is life over?" the people of haiti feel like they've been forgotten, and in many ways, they have. james clayton, bbc news, marceline.
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hundreds of firefighters in france have spent a third day battling a fast—moving fire near the french riviera. it's the latest in a string of deadly fires in the mediterranean in recent weeks, amid intense heatwaves. officials have blamed climate change. courtney bembridge reports. this is what firefighters are up this is what firefighters are up against. a fast moving fire fuelled by an intense heat wave. thousands of residents and tourists have been moved to safety, while others went back to inspect the damage after a terrifying escape. translation: ., translation: the fire arrived about eight — translation: the fire arrived about eight o'clock, _ translation: the fire arrived about eight o'clock, it - translation: the fire arrived about eight o'clock, it was - translation: the fire arrived about eight o'clock, it was so l about eight o'clock, it was so fast. it came from higher up. we tried to control the sparks but it was too intense, so we took refuge in the vineyards. europe has been ravaged by wildfires this summer, with record temperatures across the
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mediterranean. greece has been badly head, this is the latest fire burning through one of the last pine forests near athens. residents here were caught by surprised atjust how quickly the flames reached their homes. translation: we the flames reached their homes. translation:— translation: we watched as it all burned. _ translation: we watched as it all burned, from _ translation: we watched as it all burned, from the _ translation: we watched as it all burned, from the front - translation: we watched as it all burned, from the front and l all burned, from the front and from the back. and there was no—one, no—one here, no want to warn the citizens here with our houses. and we were running, we were running. greece fought more than 100 wildfires this month alone as they battle the severe heat waves. scientists say it is another reminder of the impact of man—made climate change. courtney bembridge, bbc news. a wildfire near the californian city of sacramento has exploded and grown by a factor of eight in just 2a hours. the caldorfire suddenly expanded on tuesday morning and within a day was consuming more than 53,000 acres.
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two people have been seriously injured and thousands of residents have been evacuated from the eldorado national forest. it's one of many fires currently raging across the western united states. stay with us on bbc news, still to come: new york's central park becomes an impromptu battlefield as teams of knights battle it out in full medieval armour. the big crowds became bigger as the time of the funeral approached. as the lines of fans became longer, the police prepared for a hugejob of crowd control. idi amin, uganda's brutal former dictator, has died at the age of 80. he's been buried in saudi arabia, where he lived in exile since being overthrown in 1979.
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two billion people around the world have seen the last total eclipse of the sun to take place in this millennium. it began its journey off the coast of canada, ending three hours later, when the sun set over the bay of bengal. this is bbc world news. the latest headlines: president biden has defended his decision to withdraw us troops from afghanistan, insisting there wasn't a way for them to leave "without chaos ensuing". there have been chaotic scenes outside kabul airport, as governments rush to bring home their citizens
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as well as afghan colleagues. pakistan fears trouble spilling over the border. for decades it has served as a sanctuary for afghans being well. now the government in is not a bad set it has reached its limits. there are two main border crossings between the main countries. under the surface it almost looks normal on this part of the border but look closer, so much has changed. the taliban are now in control of the busiest crossing with pakistan. a few days back, hundreds of
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civilians gathered here, desperate for a way out but then, what seemed inevitable, happened, at numbered, they surrendered to the taliban. now the number seeking refuge is much less. the taliban are not letting anyone out, only traders or those with valid travel documents are allowed to cross. we have seen citizens interacting with taliban fighters. standing at a safe distance. border security officers have told me that since the situation in afghanistan has deteriorated, they have increased renting passage into pakistan. that is why we are seeing cues here. pakistan, worried about spillover fighting, pakistan, worried about spilloverfighting, edged it spillover fighting, edged it side spilloverfighting, edged it side of the border prior to the
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taliban takeover. it has been the main point of influx for decades but amid increasing violence across the border in recent years, the country has been fencing itself off from afghanistan but whatever happens on the other side of the border, will always resonate here. this market, just a few kilometres away is secreted by afghans who have fled to pakistan. translation: a lot of people are not happy with the taliban, the people who live in villages have been around them but those who come from cities are not happy because they are not used to restrictions.— because they are not used to restrictions. almost 3 million afu han restrictions. almost 3 million afghan refugees _ restrictions. almost 3 million afghan refugees had - restrictions. almost 3 million afghan refugees had been i restrictions. almost 3 million i afghan refugees had been living in pakistan for decades, half of them are registered. the un refugee agency has been asking them to reopen the borders to
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refugees but the government here insists that he cannot bear any new wave of refugees from the war—torn country. both sides have delivered opening statements in the trial of the grammy—award—winning us singer r kelly, at a us federal court in new york. the r&b star is accused of racketeering, sexual abuse and bribery — charges which he has denied. the bbc�*s samira hussain reports from new york. for r kelly's many accusers, this federal court in brooklyn is where, finally, their voices may be heard. jonjelyn savage is here. for years, she has been pushing for charges against kelly. she says her daughter had been held captive by the musician. the opening statements will open some people's eyes to what we have been knowing for the last five and a half years, when we started this journey, because we knew something wasn't right
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and we knew that it had to stop. in those opening statements, prosecutors said kelly targeted, groomed and exploited young girls and boys for his own satisfaction, and that this case is not about a celebrity who likes to party, but a sexual predator. # i believe i can soar... r kelly is one of the most successful artists of all time, credited with redefining r&b music. but in a spectacular fall from grace, the musician has spent the last two years behind bars awaiting trial. kelly and members of his entourage are accused of recruiting women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with the r&b singer. he is also accused of paying victims and witnesses to cover up his alleged crimes. i didn't do this stuff! r kelly has been confronting allegations of sexual abuse for more than two decades, but the only time he faced criminal charges, back in 2008, he was acquitted. these new charges against r kelly are far more serious, and this time several victims
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will testify against him. but also perhaps there has been a shift in culture — the me too movement has made it harderfor rich, famous abusers to hide their misdeeds. samira hussain, bbc news, new york. let's get some of the day's other news: a court battle in canada over the extradition of huawei's chief financial officer to the united states has ended after two and a half years. the canadian government prosecutor said the court should have no difficulty in finding mung wanjoe had committed fraud, and so should be handed over to the americans. her defence team deny any fraud. a date for a ruling will be set in october. european union interior ministers have pledged to send experts and equipment to the eu's borders with belarus to cope with what they see as an orchestrated influx of migrants. they're accusing president alexander lukashenka of encouraging migrants to cross in retaliation for sanctions — that's been denied by belarus.
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formula 0ne's japanese grand prix due to take place in october has been cancelled because of a rise of covid cases in the country. f1 says the decision to cancel it was taken by the japanese government. the revised calendar for the season will be revealed in the coming weeks. when you think of knights in shining armour, you no doubt think of medieval europe. pitch battles involving broad—swords, chain—mail and lances. now, some of those conflicts are being re—enacted, but in a venue you might not expect, as the bbc�*s tim allman explains. it was another age, another place, a time, we are told, of chivalry, honourand place, a time, we are told, of chivalry, honour and violence — lots and lots of violence. now you can try it out for yourself, here in new york? central park. these are
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gladiators nyc, a group who meet up once a month, put on steel armour and then attack each other. it is a combination of mediaeval compact and mixed martial arts although there is not much chivalry involved. victory is really not the main point of the fighting. i am nowhere near good enough for any sort of place or title or medals. i do not have the time, the energy, money for the kid. i'm just here the violence. this is pretty gruelling stuff. the armour can weigh up to 45 kilos or more and it was all the brainchild of a former gladiator of wall street who says trying to make a positive difference. it says trying to make a positive difference-— difference. it 'ust hit the call. difference. it 'ust hit the can. se _ difference. itjust hit the call. be perfect, - difference. itjust hit the call. be perfect, you - difference. itjust hit the call. be perfect, you eat| difference. itjust hit the - call. be perfect, you eat more healthy, change your lifestyle and now we are saving lives up it is a free programme available to anyone who is
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interested. b, available to anyone who is interested.— available to anyone who is interested. �* . ., . ., , ., interested. a chance to improve our interested. a chance to improve yourfitness— interested. a chance to improve your fitness and, _ interested. a chance to improve your fitness and, who _ interested. a chance to improve your fitness and, who knows, i yourfitness and, who knows, become a knight of the big apple. tim allman, bbc news. the tissue used by messi during his farewell adress to the spanish football club fc barcelona is being sold at auction. the tear—soaked kleenex was put on the market by an anonymous seller, with the price set at $1 million. messi announced earlier this month he would be leaving barcelona, ending his 21—year spell at the club. a supermarket shopper in sydney got more than she was expecting when she was searching for spices. take a look at this... this 3 meter long diamond python slithered out from a supermarket shelf and came face to face with helaina alati. luckily the diamond python is not poisonous and ms alati is a wildlife rescuer. so she popped home, retrieved her snake bag and then returned to the shop where she caught the snake and released it back
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into the wild. that is pretty impressive. this is bbc news. hello. it feels a little bit like our weather has been sulking so far this week — kind of stuck in a rut of grayness and lingering cloud. it's not in a great hurry to get out of that position through today, either. we did see some sunshine on wednesday across central and eastern england, and i'm hopeful we will see some for at least a time today — this break in the clouds ahead of a weak weather front coming in from the west. so through the morning, some sunnier skies working their way eastwards, perhaps something a bit brighter behind that band of showery rain further west for the afternoon. but still, a lot of cloud for many of us, and temperatures a little down on where they should be for the time of year. a few heavier showers roaming around
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through the evening, but overnight, guess what — it's all pretty quiet and light winds, a lot of cloud, quite misty and murky around the coast and for the hills. friday daytime, looking at that chart, you think, oh, things might start to get moving. well, not in any great hurry, i'm afraid. this weather front will push some rain into northern ireland through the day, throwing some showers towards wales, as well. potentially, though, with a little bit of a strengthening southerly breeze, we could break the cloud up a little bit more across southern and eastern england. looking pretty gloomy and murky there across scotland and generally across the northern half of the uk. for the weekend, however, this low will make a bit more of an effort, and friday into saturday, this front pushes slowly further eastwards. the notable thing that it does, though, is drag up some warmer air from the south for central and eastern england. so after a week where temperatures have sat below average, we could actually see some
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significantly warmer weather, at least briefly this weekend. but there is a price to pay. saturday, we will see, i think, temperatures getting up into the mid—20s across central and eastern england with some sunshine. but coming into the west, some heavier and more persistent rain, some strengthening winds, as well as that area of low pressure finally gets down to business. for sunday, even more widespread showers, i think, as the low pressure sits across the uk. and we start to lose that southerly airstream as the low shifts, temperatures edge down yet again. a bit drierfor monday, but still a little on the cool side.
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this is bbc news, the headlines: president biden has said us troops might stay in afghanistan beyond his deadline at the end of the month, if more time is needed to get every american out of the country. it comes four days after the taliban takeover, which prompted thousands of people to try to leave. the head of the pan american health organization has called on the international community to provide urgent medical personnel and equipment to haiti, following a devastating earthquake on saturday. the disaster is now known to have killed nearly 2,000 people. hundreds of firefighters have spent a third day battling a fast—moving wildfire near the french riveria. it's the latest in a string of deadly fires to affect the mediterranean in recent weeks, during intense heatwaves. scientists have blamed the impact of man—made climate change. now on bbc news, it's hardtalk.

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