tv BBC News at Six BBC News April 4, 2017 6:00pm-6:31pm BST
at least 58 people are dead, and many more injured, after a suspected chemical bombing raid in syria. it happened in the rebel—held province of idlib, with the un saying the attack came from the air. clinics struggled to cope with the injured. witnesses claim many of the victims were choking, fainting, or foaming at the mouth. what we understood, it was a chemical attack and it came from the air. the syrian and russian governments deny any involvement in what's being investigated as a war crime. we'll have the latest. also on the programme. russian investigators say the explosion on the st petersburg metro was the result of a suicide bombing. a man who sexually assaulted a woman with learning disabilities, keeping her a prisoner for eight years, has been jailed in northern ireland. new tax and benefits changes will affect millions, we'll have a special report. and the sieve that can make sea water, drinkable, and it's all down to the wonder material, graphene. coming up in sportsday
later in the hour on bbc news, we'll look ahead tonight's premier league fixtures including manchester united's match against everton, asjose mourinho‘s team try to stay in touch with the top four. good evening, and welcome to the bbc news at six. at least 58 people have died, with many more injured, in a suspected chemical weapons attack in syria. eyewitnesses say victims were left choking, fainting and frothing at the mouth, and many of the dead are children. the un claims the attack came from the air, and the foreign secretary borisjohnson says if chemical weapons were used, then president assad is guilty of a war crime. syria and russia deny any involvement. the attack happened
in the north—west of the country, in the rebel—held province of idlib. un war crimes investigators say they've opened an inquiry. our diplomatic correspondent james robbins reports. there are distressing images from the start. he is alive but he is struggling to breathe. around him, other children are already on oxygen. all of them victims of gas. other pictures, too graphic to broadcast, show fire crews in the streets of khan sheikhoun, spraying adults and children where they fell, many of them clearly among the dead. translation: i lost my son, my children, my neighbours, my daughter. they are all gone. i only have god left. translation: all are wounded, some are dead, there are many suffocation cases. we couldn't enter khan sheikhoun city because
the systematic shelling. then as a searing activist was filming in one hospital treating victims, this happened. and apparent air strike. —— a syrian activist. this whole rebel held area in north—west syria, a last opposition stronghold, has been under heavy bombardment by pro—government forces. there is a history of chemical attacks in syria's six year—long civil war. president assad's government had known stocks and was widely accused of this attack in august 20 13. that appeared to cross a red line which had been drawn by president obama but britain and the us pulled back from military action. instead, the assad regime, under pressure, agreed to surrender its known stocks by the middle of 2014. but later, a un commission found evidence of chemical weapons being used in attacks in idlib, both in 2014 and 2015. government supporters are
blaming today's poisoning on the rebels, accusing them of storing gas ina rebels, accusing them of storing gas in a factory which exploded close to the town. but the un's syria envoy, while cautious, did not appear to back that account. what we have understood, it was a chemical attack and it came from the air. we have been and we will be stimulating or those who have the capacity of finding out technically what happened. efforts are already being made to gatherforensic happened. efforts are already being made to gather forensic evidence in the hospitals where today's victims are being treated but it seems clear war crime has been committed. the use of chemical weapons is banned under international law, a law which appears to have been violated once again in syria today. james robbins, bbc news. our middle east editor jeremy bowen is here. the white house says this attack is reprehensible and it cannot be ignored but realistically, what can anyone do if it is proved that the syrians and russians are behind
this? is 2013 is anything to go by, not a great deal. as you heard, their stocks were taken out, or be declared stocks that the syrians had we re declared stocks that the syrians had were taken out and destroyed. did they have some left over? we don't know, we don't know who did this. there's another issue, back in 2013, president obama had sketched out a red line and said, "you used these weapons, though over the red line and you will get attacked", but he decided against doing it and after that, president assad and his regime, iwas that, president assad and his regime, i was there at the time and you could see them growing in confidence. they could not believe they have got through this crisis. 2013, the us administration threatened military action but did not do it. we don't know where president tromp's red lines are, if they exist. will he take military action against the regime it is proved that the regime did this? i wonder, frankly. so i think that if you say president assad was behind
all of this and his people were behind all of this, i think it is a sign at the moment of the utmost confidence that they can get away with a lot. thank you forjoining us. with a lot. thank you forjoining us. jeremy bowen. russian investigators say yesterday's explosion on the st petersburg metro, was possibly caused by a suicide bomber. 14 people died in the attack, and 50 were injured. steve rosenberg reports from st petersburg. this is what chaos looks like underground. this mobile phone footage was shot seconds after the bomb. there is a mad scramble to get out of the train alive. "smash it, break it down", says a voice. some passengers were helped to safety. "give me your hand". at that moment, somebody cries, "mum, mum!" the injured are pulled away. "i was just sitting there", she says.
and here is the station today, wreckage cleared, service back. st petersburg, trying to be normal. it is astonishing how quickly a scene of chaos and carnage can be replaced by an error of normality. replaced by an air of normality. as you can see, the metro is up and running again today. but look over here, and you see a reminder of yesterday's drama. people are normally rushing by in the metro. not today. some here said prayers for the dead. but returning to normal isn't easy. more metro stations were shut today because of bomb threats. still, aksana, who witnessed yesterday's chaos, says she is not scared. "they want to divide us, the terrorists do", she says. "but all this does to russians is unite us". one hero from this tragedy is the driver of the bombed train,
for keeping calm and not stopping in the tunnel. "i was just doing myjob", alexander kaverin says. russian investigators now say that yesterday's attack on the train was carried out by a 22—year—old man from central asia who had been living in st petersburg. they are searching for clues to explain why. that is a question the people of st petersburg are asking. this has been a day of mourning here, a day for paying respects to the victims, to the passengers of a metro train who never made it home. steve rosenberg, bbc news, st petersburg. well, the main suspect has been named as akbarzhonjalilov, a 22—year—old man who was born in
kurdistan in central asia but had been living in st petersburg and although russian investigators have not used the term suicide bomber, they have made it clear they believe it was his bomb which blew up the train and that he was killed in the blast. steve, many thanks. steve rosenberg reporting. a married couple in county armagh have been jailed for the sexual abuse of a woman they held captive for eight years. the victim had severe learning difficulties, and when she was discovered by police, weighed just six stone. keith baker was sentenced to 15 years, while his wife caroline was given three years. chris buckler‘s report does contain some harrowing testimony. for almost a decade, this estate in craigavon housed the secret of serial abuse. inside their home and hidden from view, keith and caroline baker kept a woman with severe learning disabilities a virtual prisoner. during those eight years, keith baker and his wife repeatedly raped and indecently assaulted her, and she wasn't his only victim. he was raping me for 13 years and i couldn't
tell anybody about it, and it was hurting. mandy highfield lived with the couple and she's the mother of some of keith baker's children. she says she didn't know that the bakers were sexually abusing the vulnerable woman held captive in their house, but she eventually contacted the police because of the squalid conditions she was being kept in. she was 45 and that, but she was like a 12—year—old. keith took the handle off the door. there was no light bulb in the light, no carpet on the floor, no curtains up against the window. it was like a little prison. they were sick people, just really sick people. when the police found the woman, inside an unlit bedroom in the house, she weighed just six stone and the court was told that she only had one sound tooth.
neighbours said keith baker seemed controlling of his wife but they had no idea what was happening behind the doors. ijust thought she was in a situation of domestic violence with an abusive husband who was controlling. but it was very, very quiet. the woman had been reported missing by her husband in england in march 2004, when the bakers took her to northern ireland, supposedly on holiday. but it wasn't until december 2012 that she was discovered in this house, along with videos of the bakers abusing her. the whole case is extremely upsetting, it's horrific and it's depraved and the suffering of this woman, over a period of around eight years, can only be imagined. the dark truth of what happened in this house may now have been exposed, but authorities on both sides of the irish sea face serious questions about how she ended up in the hands of a couple who abused her under the pretence
of offering her a home. chris buckler, bbc news, craigavon. theresa may is in saudi arabia for talks on trade and security, saying it's in the national interest to maintain good relations, despite the kingdom's controversial human rights record. a saudi—led coalition has been accused of abuses in yemen's two—year civil war, but mrs may says engagement is the best way to raise what she called "hard issues". our deputy political editor john pienaar is travelling with the prime minister. a warm welcome for theresa may, and this time no—one could blame herfor enjoying it. her day started with a visit to this uk—supported secondary school in oman, where these children, jordanians and syrian refugees, learn and dream, some told her, of becoming doctors. the smiling face of british policy in the region. it's not all this easy.
next stop, saudi arabia and down to business, boosting trade, mostly lucrative arms sales. earlier, she'd brushed aside those who say it's wrong to support and sell weapons to a country so criticised for its record on human rights. well, the important thing for the united kingdom, when we meet people and we want to raise issues about human rights is if we have the relationship with them, then we are able to do that. so rather than just standing on the sidelines and sniping, it's important to engage. war across the border against rebels in yemen is being led by a saudi coalition. british weapons sales to saudi arabia were worth over £3 billion in the first year of the fighting up to last march. planes, arms and target training — britain's contribution to the yemen war effort. there's famine, mounting civilian casualties. britain joins the aid effort while supporting its saudi ally. mrs may spelled out her new mission.
what is the may doctrine of foreign policy? well, the may doctrine of foreign policy is that everything we do is in our british national interest. it is in our british national interest to have good relations around the world, so we can trade around the world, that brings jobs and prosperity to the uk. it's also in our national interest to ensure that we are working with others around the world to maintain our safety and security and, yes, it is in our national interest to ensure that the values that underpin us as britons are values that we promote around the world, and that's what we do. so today she was a house guest at a saudi palace, meeting the crown prince, the kind of relationship she's keen to cultivate for post—brexit britain. the prime minister needs to strengthen political and trading links beyond europe if britain is to remain a strong, global player after brexit. no—one knows how well britain will come out of its eu divorce. a committee of mps said today that ministers had no idea and needed
to work out the cost of brexit if negotiations end up with no deal. she was staying optimistic. i'm confident that we can get a good deal with the european union. i'm confident, notjust because that would be good for us, but it'll be good for them, as they have acknowledged. maybe, but that deal‘s for the future and her mission beyond europe can't wait. she dropped by the saudi stock exchange too. she's been busy, but ahead of brexit, business is business. john pienaar, bbc news, riyadh. our top story this evening: at least 58 people have been killed and many more injured in a suspected chemical attack in syria. still to come: researchers in manchester have found a new way of turning sea water into drinking water. coming up in sportsday on bbc news in the next 15 minutes: the latest on the ice hockey row that could see a very second rate tournament at the winter olympics next year.
millions of people will be affected by new changes coming into force this week, on taxes and benefits. the measures include child benefit being limited to two children, a freeze on some working tax credits and a rise in the living wage. our home editor, mark easton, has been to blackburn to assess the impact of the changes. blackburn is going to be more affected by this week's welfare tax and wage changes than almost anywhere else in the country. more than half the town's children live inle low income, working households receiving tax credits, help being progressively cut in real terms. child benefits frozen for the next three years and parents who have a third or or subsequent child won't receive any additional state support. how does that go down with
this mum, pregnant with her third baby? in this day and age you should be able to get the help regardless and be free to expand your family and be free to expand your family and always have that support. third child is a luxury. a luxury, you think? is well, ijust mean, i wouldn't have a third child because i know i couldn't afford to have a third child. as things stand, the tax and welfare changes will see a low earning couple with two children, living here in blackburn, losing around £450 a year by 2020. for some families it will be seven times that. overall, the welfare reforms will take £50 million a year out of the fragile local economy. but the government argues public spending misbe reduced and the changes will encourage people to become less reliant on the state. it's wrong people have to go out to work. we go out to work, you have to come home and look after your kids and people get paid to sit at home
and people get paid to sit at home and do nothing. that is wrong. families are struggling. they are struggling with food as it is now. the cost of living is going up, the benefits are staying more or less where they are. they are cutting them more. ithink where they are. they are cutting them more. i think it's wrong. one in eight of blackburn's workers earn the minimum wage. many in the health and social care sector. michelle will gain in this week's increase in the national living wage but loses for the freeze on her working tax credits. i'm in favour of the reform. we go out to work to earn money provide for our children and oui’ money provide for our children and ourfamilies. ideally, money provide for our children and our families. ideally, that money provide for our children and ourfamilies. ideally, that is where we wa nt ourfamilies. ideally, that is where we want to go so we are earning income without relying on the government. your tax credits will be frozen. you are feeling a bit of it? i don't mind it. my wage is going up. michelle's boss warns that wage levels set in whitehall may not make sense for an economy like blackburn? a lot of companies are working with fine profit margins. there is a trend to go towards £9 by 2020 if people aren't able to charge more
and people aren't able to pay more that will be difficult for companies. businesses could go under? they could. the economy here is precarious. how blackburn responds to this week's reforms will have a profound impact on the lives of many. mark easton, bbc news, blackburn. a breast surgeon, accused of carrying out unnecessary operations, has told a jury that none of his patients are "liars", even though he rejects their allegations. ian paterson is on trial for allegedly causing grievous bodily harm to several women, over a 14—year period. he denies any wrong—doing. sima kotecha is at nottingham crown court. sima, take us through what happened today? well, 59-year-old ian paterson was being cross examined by the prosecution for the second time today. he told the court, "i care about my patients. " when asked if he disputed what an alleged victim accused him off he said, "aim i'm
not call any of these patients liars i'm just think they remember what they remember now, ten years after they remember now, ten years after the fact" he is accused of carrying out several operations unnecessarily on ten patients. we heard from some of the alleged victims over the last few weeks, including from one man who said he had a double mastectomy when the surgeon told him he was on the way to developing cancer. ian paterson denies 20 counts of wrong—doing. paterson denies 20 counts of wrong-doing. thank you. eight people, including a 15—year—old boy, have appeared in court in relation to an attack on a teenage asylum seeker in south london. reker ahmed, a kurdish—iranian boy, was chased and subjected to a "brutal attack" in croydon on friday night. a total of 13, all aged between 15 and 24, have been charged with violent disorder. the computer scientist who invented the worldwide web has marked the receipt of a prestigious award by condemning official attempts to increase surveillance of the net.
sir tim berners lee said it was human right to communicate without governments snooping on individuals. he also described any plan to undermine or break encryption walls, as a "bad idea". ken livingstone's future in the labour party will be decided in the next few hours. the former mayor of london will find out whether he's to be expelled after claiming that hitler supported zionism in the 1930's. he's been attending a labour party disciplinary hearing and our political correspondent, alex forsyth, is there for us now. alex, fill us in on the background to all of this? well, ken livingstone is a big figure in the labour party. he has been a member for many years, a former london mayor, a colourful character, but also no stranger to controversy. this latest one steams from comments he made last year. he was giving an interview to a bbc radio station. he was defended a labour colleague from claims of anti—semitism when ken
livingstone said at one time hitler had supported zionism. it was that comment which provocked an angry backlash. some labour mps accuse ken livingstone himself of being anti—semitic. others say said what he said was highly offensive. he has stood by his comments. he said they we re stood by his comments. he said they were a matter—of—fact and were misreported and taken out of context. misreported and taken out of co ntext. h e misreported and taken out of context. he was suspended from the labour party and a dis—palestinary panel, meeting behind me, will decide his fate. whether or not he should be expelled from from the party for bringing it into disrepute. we are expecting the result any minnow. ken livingstone said if he's kicked out of labour, he will challenge that decision. alex, many thanks. alex forsyth there. the world's most expensive diamond has been sold at auction, fetching close to £60 million. the 59.6 carat stone, called the pink star, tookjust five minutes to sell after a bidding war between three
buyers at sotheby‘s in hong kong. it was bought by a localjewellery company and broke the record sale price set last year for diamond, of £35 million. scientists in manchester have made a remarkable discovery, creating a sieve that can make sea water drinkable. the discovery involves graphene and raises the tantalising prospect of helping millions of people around the world who don't have easy access to clean water. well, our science correspondent, pallab ghosh, is at the national graphene institute in manchester. pallab. clive, manchester is one of the world's leading centres for graphene research. it was here that the material was first isolated in 2004. it was here that researchers won the know bile prize for developing the technology in 2010. now, they've made yet another big step forward in tackling a problem
that's left 663 million people without clean drinking water. it's three times the strength of steel and incredibly flexible, and that's not all — graphene has been described as a miracle material. here in manchester, graphene oxide has been used to create a filter to take salt out of water. the aim is to convert sea water into a form that's drinkable. the potential of this technology is giving clean water to millions of people around the world and we're sure that this technology will be available in a couple of years' time to sell to people around the world. like any sieve, this graphene paper has tiny holes in that lets the water through, but not the salt. in the past though, it's not worked properly. that's because the graphene weakens and the holes get bigger. so the researchers here have coated it with a chemical that stop the holes from expanding. so the water here is completely salt—free.
and this is why it matters. according to the un, drinking water will be scarce for 1.2 billion people by 2025. it's hard to believe that countries don't have water at the moment. if you don't have it, it compromises everything that you do — your health and the ability to educate your children. a lot of things rest on this basic human right, so this is why we focus a lot on this. current desalination plants, such as this one in london, are expensive. it costs £270 million to build and they use a lot of energy, though the technology is improving. the graphene based filter could be a much cheaper and greener solution, but the big question is whether it works just as well in real situations as it does in the lab. pallab ghosh, bbc news, at the national graphene institute in manchester. time for a look at the weather, here's jay wynne.
spring hasn't disappeared quite yet? no. it's looking good over the next few days. we have a weak weather front to the south—east through the day today. we have a big area of high pressure. that will settle down over the next few days. question marks about cloud amounts. some places had a lovely day today. this is the view from one of our weather watchers in cumbria. there's not been a great deal of rain, but there has been some. a good slice of sunshine from the south—west of england, through wales and into northern england with showers in northern england with showers in northern scotland. it will be windy here, 70mph with frequent showers. elsewhere it will be a dry story with increasing amounts of cloud drifting down from the north. it will help to keep temperatures up, but in the south—west, where winds are lightand but in the south—west, where winds are light and skies are clear, it will turn chilly, particularly in rural spots. across northern
scotla nd rural spots. across northern scotland it will be windy with showers moving through on the breeze. the eastern side of scotland will get away with a dry start. a shower or two in northern ireland, but northern england will have a lot of dry weather. further south we head into the sunshine, there will bea head into the sunshine, there will be a chill in the air, but winds will be light. as you go through the day the cloud will drift southwards, clouding over in east anglia and into the south—east. the south—west should hang on to sunshine into the afternoon and the eastern side of scotla nd afternoon and the eastern side of scotland doing as well as well. a few showers to the far north and west. 10 degrees in aberdeen, 14 in london. through the evening the dry weather will continue. thursday and friday look like similar days. chilly first thing. a fair bit of cloud around, spells of sunshine as well and temperatures should be in the range of 10—11 to 14 degrees. clive, back to you. not too bad. many thanks for that. our top story
this evening: at least 58 people have been killed, and many more injured, in a suspected chemical attack in syria. that's it. so it's goodbye from me, and now on bbc one, let's join our news teams where you are. have a very good evening. hello. this is bbc news. the headlines: at least 58 people have reportedly been killed in a suspected chemical weapons attack in the rebel—held syrian province of idlib. activists said most of the dead in the air raid were civilians including children. these gas attacks are continuing everyday and no one is doing anything to stop these gas attacks. the white house called the attack reprehensible and said it couldn't couldn't be ignored, theresa may called for an investigation into what happened. we condemn the use of chemical weapons in all circumstances. if proven, this will be further evidence of the barbarism of the syrian regime. russian investigators say the man who carried out the st petersburg metro attack was a suicide