this is bbc news. i'm tom donkin. our top stories: president trump's health secretary quits, after using expensive private planes for government business. but as tom price departs, could others now follow? mass rallies in catalonia in support of sunday's planned independence referendum. spain says the vote violates the constitution and won't go ahead. the us cuts its diplomats in cuba by more than half and warns its citizens to stay away. it says mystery attacks have injured several embassy staff. and at the eu summit in estonia, the head of the european commission says brexit talks "need a miracle" to keep them on track. hello and welcome to bbc world news, i'm tom donkin. president trump has accepted the resignation of his
health secretary, tom price, who had come under pressure after it emerged he had been using expensive private jets while travelling on government business. mr trump had said he was disappointed in mr price. he's the latest on a growing list of administration officials to resign or be sacked. the bbc‘s laura bicker has the latest from washington. donald trump pledged to his supporters that he would come to washington to drain the swamp, to end politics as usual. and here we are, his own health secretary is seen swanning around on private planes when the official government business should always be done on commercial planes. so when it comes to how he's going to persuade his supporters that he's the man in charge, that he is going to continue to rail against the elite and he can sort out his own cabinet, he needs to have shown that his own health secretary is following the rules. he is said to have been absolutely furious with mr price. and here we are, friday
evening in washington, and yet another resignation. i think the other problem with this scandal is that it has been a huge distraction for the white house. you've had several attempts at healthcare reform. you've got a hurricane crisis in puerto rico and also donald trump is trying to reform taxes here in the united states. all the while he's doing it, the republicans and democrats are still not coming on board. so here he has now a health secretary and other members of his cabinet using private planes during government business and simply mr price had to go. the treasury secretary steve mnuchin, the interior secretary and the environment chief, all three members of cabinet are under investigation for their private plane use. now, so far that's still under investigation. there are allegations that newspapers have been digging and posting a number of... ..certainly times when each of those members of cabinet have used private planes.
when it comes to that kind of usage, it's something that donald trump supporters, the blue—collar workers, are just simply not going to support. so donald trump will probably be looking at that too. this is also not following the rules. and a number of the people that he hired onto his team have been wealthy bankers, or people with wealthy backgrounds. so when they're seen swanning around in a private plane seats, it doesn't look good for donald trump. the other issue is this is the 14th member of donald trump's administration to resign or be fired since he took office. the rest have been members of the white house administration, this is the first cabinet member. but to lose 1a members of your administration in such a short time doesn't look good. the bbc‘s laura bicker in washington.
thousands of catalan separatists have held a final rally ahead of sunday's planned referendum on independence from spain. the head of the regional government told the crowd he believed catalonia would become a sovereign nation. but madrid is trying to block the vote, calling it unconstitutional. and a court has ordered google to block an app, telling people where to cast their vote. tom burridge is in barcelona. chanting tonight, a call to vote on a yes—no question, should their region break away from spain? it's true that a lot of people are waiting this moment lots of years. to vote 7 to vote, and i hope it will be yes. but beyond the fiesta, there is deep uncertainty.
and in the palace at the heart of catalonia's devolved government, the leader disobeying spain's courts and government. a referendum on sunday, he says, will go ahead. translation: the overwhelming majority of people in catalonia want to vote, to decide. not like this. yes, but what other option did we have? we've offered to negotiate. this vote is not a crime. but there is a catch. many in spain's richest region only want a referendum with madrid's consent. likejose gonzales. born in malaga, barcelona has been his home for 66 years. "our families and friends are divided," he says. "we can barely talk about politics any more." in madrid today, a mock vote.
they want catalonia to remain part of spain. and like their government, they don't recognise sunday's referendum. it is not a question of stopping people voting. well, that's what you want to do this weekend. no, no. let me be clear on this. in catalonia, they vote, they vote on local elections, european elections, according to the law. sure, but not... what they are trying to do is an illegal self—determination consultation. this evening, after—school activities, a bid by parents to occupy polling stations and prevent the police from shutting them down. barcelona, and its region, walking into the unknown. rhythmic clinking listen to this nightly ritual. a protest of pots and pans. ringing out across the city. people who say they will vote.
let's take a look at some of the other stories making the news. the united nations is to send war crimes investigators to yemen, after a compromise agreement overcame objections from saudi arabia. the un human rights council unanimously adopted a resolution that will establish what is described as a group of eminent regional and international experts to examine all violations committed by all parties in the conflict. president trump will attend a summit of south—east asian nations in manila. the white house says he'll travel to several states in november. he'll visit china, south korea, japan, vietnam and the philippines. the crisis in north korea is likely to dominate. the us diplomatic presence in cuba will be cut by more than half and american citizens have been warned not to visit.
that was the announcement from the state department after what they called mysterious "attacks", which have caused hearing loss, fatigue and dizziness among those working in the us embassy. cuba has responded, saying the decision is hasty and will affect relations. barbara plett—usher reports. this was supposed to mark the beginning of better relations between cuba and the us. but little more than a year after the mission was formally reopened in havana, us employees began to report hearing loss and other mystery health problems. the americans now say their diplomats are being attacked. they do not know who, or with what, but they have decided it's no longer safe for them. only a skeleton staff will remain. it will be a blow for us travellers. many were excited by washington's historic opening with cuba in 2015. there's no evidence that private citizens have been attacked, but the state department is warning they could be at risk. president obama took a risk by renewing ties
with cuba's communist leaders. he was convinced it was in america's interests. and the cuban government has denied any role in this bizarre and troubling episode. it has been helping with the investigation. but the secretary of state, rex tillerson, has pointedly reminded havana it has an obligation to protect us government employees and their families. relations had begun to strain under the weight of the new president who rolled back some elements of the agreement. you're going to see what's happened in cuba. they did some bad things and you will see what happened. cuba says the decision to downsize the embassy was hasty and will further affect ties. the ending of hostilities between the two cold war enemies was a legacy moment for president obama. celebrated with scenes that could have been filmed
for a feelgood american movie. now sabotaged by a plot that could have been written for a cold war spy novel. barbara plett usher reports, bbc news, havana. someone from a group that specialises in connecting us and cuban specialises in connecting us and cu ban citizens spoke specialises in connecting us and cuban citizens spoke to us earlier about the impact this decision might have on relations between the two countries. on the surface this is incredibly alarming. there are some things that will cause problems between the us and cuban people. a travel advisory could affect us travellers going to cuba, which i think is warranted. there's zero risk for us travellers. it continues to be one of the safest places in the world, so that's com pletely places in the world, so that's completely unnecessary and out of context. and then with a scaling back of the us embassy, we've already heard from countless cubans
who are going to not be able to come and visit their family members who are going to not be able to come and visit theirfamily members in the united states. i guess you have knowledge into the more personal stories of cubans and americans wanting to visit. what have they been saying to you in terms of this story and in a wider context the relations between the two countries? i think from the american perspective, our office has been bombarded with calls today, travellers curious as to whether it is safe to go to cuba, and the state department's press release even indicated that there is a zero evidence from their investigation that any of these incidents have affected private citizens or will affected private citizens or will affect private citizens. nevertheless, they included a travel warning. soi nevertheless, they included a travel warning. so i think americans are curious about what it means that i think they are somewhat nervous because the state department has included a travel warning. i think when they look at the facts they
will recognise that it continues to be safe to travel to huber, one of the safest places in the world, actually. —— cuba. in terms of cubans, there are the 1,000,000,000th live in the us. it is very important for them to get visas to come here and travel. we have scientists, academics and others who are now involved in collaborative projects, so all of them are at risk right now. and this story all this scenario with the diplomatic staff in havana comes at a time when raul castro is prepared leave his position and donald trump is firming up his views countries. where do you see this going in the future? hopefully calm and patience and pragmatism can rule. i think that it's an incredibly important time for the united states to have a presence in cuba. not only is it
undergoing a political transition, there is a process of economic reform and the united states and cuba have made incredible strides of the last couple of years in terms of cooperating with each other on environmental issues. a couple of weeks ago after it can hit cuba and miami at the same time —— a hurricane. so it is imperative we speak to each other. the majority of americans and cubans feel the same way, so americans and cubans feel the same way, so we are americans and cubans feel the same way, so we are hoping this prevails. that was collin laverty speaking to us that was collin laverty speaking to us from miami. president trump has defended his response to the hurricanes that have ripped through puerto rico, saying aid efforts have been hampered by the fact the territory, is an island. the governor of puerto rico has said more aid is now getting through, although there's an issue of who will pay for it. puerto rico faces a series of challenges unprecedented in its recent history. even before hurricane maria struck, the island was hit by a deluge
of another kind. a torrent of debt. $72 billion that puerto rico has no means to repay. over a week on from the category 5 storm, islanders continue to pull out what they can salvage from under their collapsed homes. but puerto rico has already submitted to the crushing weight of local government debt. in may, the island filed for america's biggest ever municipal bankruptcy and now there are questions over how much of a role the federal government will play in the crisis. and the response and recovery effort probably has never been seen for something like this. this is an island surrounded by water — big water, ocean water. ultimately the government of puerto rico will have to work with us to determine how this massive rebuilding effort will end up being one of the biggest ever,
will be funded and organised, and what we will do with the tremendous amount of existing debt. most of the island's 3.4 million residents face a tenth day without the basics and their political leaders believe not enough is being done. iam begging, begging anyone that can hear us to save us from dying. federal authorities are now rising to the enormity of the crisis caused by hurricane maria. it is also one that will take not days but months to overcome. david campanale, bbc news. celebrations as radio one clocks up 50 yea rs
celebrations as radio one clocks up 50 years on britain's airwaves but who is still listening? in all russia's turmoil, it has never come to this. president yeltsin said the day would decide the nation's destiny. the nightmare that so many people have feared for so long is playing out its final act here. russians are killing russians in front of a grandstand audience. it was his humility which produced affection from catholics throughout the world. but his departure is a tragedy for the catholic church. israel's right—winger ariel sharon visited the religious compound and that started the trouble. he wants israel alone to have sovereignty over the holy sites — an idea that's unthinkable to palestinians. after 45 years of division, germany is one. in berlin, a million germans celebrate the rebirth of europe's biggest and richest nation.
this is bbc news. the latest headlines: the us health secretary tom price has resigned amid an outcry over his use of private jets for government business. campaigners have taken to the streets of catalonia as the region prepares for an independence referendum that spain has banned. the president of the european commission, jean—claude juncker, says miracles are needed if the brexit negotiations are to move onto the next stage anytime soon. speaking at a summit of eu leaders in estonia, he said he didn't think there'd been enough progress to allow talks on trade to begin before the end of october. but theresa may says she's pleased with what's been achieved so far. our europe correspondent kevin connelly reports from the estonian capital tallinn.
at a military base in estonia, the prime minister on a mission. theresa may's signal that britain will remain an important player in european defence and security far beyond brexit. the problem — well, getting beyond brexit isn't easy. at the very least, there's a difference of emphasis about how the first rounds of talks are going. i'm pleased that the negotiations have been making progress and i look forward to developing that deep and special partnership with the eu, because i think it's not only in the interests of the uk, it's in the interests of the eu as well. the eccentric staging invited the thought that the remaining eu 27 are singing from the same hymn sheet as brexit looms. and neverfar away, a sense of the uk isolated as the eu presses for more concessions. there will be no sufficient progress from now until october, unless miracles will happen.
in bilateral meetings like this one, theresa may is trying to broaden the brexit conversation beyond those difficult divorce talks in brussels. it's not clear to what extent leaders like angela merkel are engaging. the next time these leaders meet, brexit will be centre stage and they will be deciding if britain has given enough to persuade them to move the talks on from those difficult separation issues, like money, to a future trade deal, as theresa may would like. for now, the odds are against early progress. when they sit in judgement in three weeks' time, theresa may will not be in the room. kevin connolly, bbc news, tallinn. the us—based entrepreneur elon musk says he aims to start sending people to mars by 2024, and will begin building the spaceships within the year. he claims the same rockets could carry people to any
destination on earth in underan hour. this promotional video from mr musk‘s space x company claims the london to new york journey would take just 29 minutes. thousands of people in geneva have enjoyed the sight of two giant puppets being marched through the streets of their city. the massive marionettes are in town for three days and are the creation of a french street theatre group. aaron safir has the story. many of us struggle to emerge from our slumbers in the morning. if you're a i9—foot marionette, you definitely need a hand or two. but once firmly on her feet, the 5—year—old took a gentle stroll through the streets of geneva, even stopping for a quick snack. translation: i found this absolutely fabulous because i've never seen anything like it. i was there with my grandson who was afraid because we were very
close and he was trembling in my arms, but he was captivated by all this, and so was i. and i must say, the logistics behind this show must have been absolutely incredible, incredible. elsewhere in town, the girl's 83—year—old and 26—foot grandmother needed a little bit more help getting going. but with walking stick securely in hand, she also stretched her legs. keeping grandmother and granddaughter on the move, a 60—strong team of aerialists, puppeteers, and crane operators who call themselves the lilliputians. speaks french. and of course, because giants don't speak french, the lilliputians do translation too. speaks french. the puppets are the work
of the french street theatre group royal de lux, which has marched its creations through cities around the world, including london and montreal. each city gets its own puppet with its own story. for the grand puppet master, it's about pulling the heartstrings too. translation: i like creating these big, crowded events forfree to bring people together of all ages and all political leanings of this and that and to stop compartmentalising society into small pieces with these fights over this and that. you have to believe in something that's bigger than that. it's usually called poetry. the organisers expect up to i million spectators over the course of the weekend. although for those who weren't in the know, the site of two massive marionettes making geneva their stomping ground might have
been a little alarming. for most people, though, it was time to stop, stare and marvel at the puppets. aaron safir, bbc news. 50 years ago, the bbc launched radio one, with tony blackburn as the first dj on air. others who followed, have become household names, including kenny everett, john peel, and more recently chris moyles. this weekend, a series of special programmes will celebrate radio one's half century on the air. our arts correspondent david sillito reports. one... bbc radioi... we are celebrating 50 years. go! there we are. radioi — bright, young, and 50 years old. 50 yea rs. they give you the opportunity to reflect and celebrate, but, importantly, look to the future. because that future is a bit of a worry — in an age of smartphones and streaming, can old—style radio stations remain essential listening, given the radio is, for many,
a bit of a mystery? can i give you this? it's a radio. yeah... you've got it upside down at the moment. could you find radio i on there? i'll try. i have no idea. but you've never used a radio, have you? no. never. is this how you find signals? you've never held a radio, have you? this? you are making me feel very old today. good morning, everyone, and welcome to the exciting newshour on radioi. but not quite as old as this well—known face, who will, —— new sound of radio i. but not quite as old as this well—known face, who will, tomorrow, recreate this — the first ever newshour. —— tomorrow, recreate this — the first ever radio one show. i listen to some of the things i was doing on the breakfast show and cringe with some of the things i was doing, like the knocking knees club, and some of the stuff,
you just think "that is awful." i've got lovely kneeca ps, just listen to this... but for that era, it was ok. you know, it was all right. it is also a reminder of a time 21 million were tuning in every week. the djs were as big as the artists. i mean, they really were. we'd go everywhere and we'd be absolutely mobbed. it was very nice. i enjoyed it. fix radio, we are made for the trade, and this is the full fix breakfast... however, it is not all doomed. about 90% of us to listen to the radio each week. —— about 90% of us still listen to the radio each week. new stations continue to open — there is one just for builders, and we did find one radio—savvy teenager. you have done it in one. i am a legend! do you ever listen to the radio? no. david sillito, bbc news. and now to china, where they have been preparing for the upcoming —— you can get in touch with me and most of the team on twitter, hello.
some of us may get off to a fine start on saturday morning, but by looking at the big picture you can work out why that is not going to last. several weather systems queueing up in the atlantic to come our way, so we will all have rain at some stage of the weekend and the winds will be picking up as well. this is how it looks for early risers. wales and north—west england with cloud and outbreaks of rain. a lot of cloud in the rest of england. showers spreading east as the day goes on. a lot of fine weather in northern ireland, with variable cloud and sunny spells. after morning showers in scotland, the afternoon looks drier, with fewer showers, more sunshine. there's your fine weather in northern ireland. some sunny spells in northern england as well. but for the midlands, east anglia, south—east england, likely to be a fair amount of cloud around and an increased chance of showers spreading east in the afternoon. for wales and western areas of england, we keep a lot of cloud throughout and the rain gathers again by late afternoon and into the evening. another spell of wet weather moves in and covers much of the uk as we go through saturday night and into sunday morning.
the wind picking up as well. in northern ireland we have some especially heavy rain coming in by the end of saturday night. a mild start to sunday and a mild sunday to come. it won't feel like that in the wind. cloud around. a very wet morning in northern ireland. heavy rain spreading across scotland. for the rest of england and wales there will be some outbreaks spreading eastwards as the day goes on. of course it is windy on sunday. coastal gales in the west. the wet weather clearing through much of scotland and northern ireland as it brightens up. a few showers around, but the wind will get even stronger, especially in scotland. so it will be very blustery in scotland for the great scottish run and expect a lot of rain in the morning, clearing in the afternoon. the cardiff half marathon. windy here too. there will be some rain, although not as persistent as the rain in scotland, but some outbreaks moving through during sunday.
but it's close to this low pressure going into monday where we expect some really nasty wind for a time, especially in parts of scotland. the further north you are, severe gales, up to 70 mph. gusts in the northern england could be up to 50—60 mph, so that could be disruptive. showers towards the north—west and some spells of persistent rain into northwest scotland. so the weekend starts on a fine note for some, but we will all have rain moving in and the winds picking up as well, especially sunday and into monday. this is bbc news. the headlines: the us health secretary tom price has resigned. he'd faced mounting pressure from president trump for using expensive privatejets to travel on government business. the trips are reported to have cost the taxpayer more than $1 million. two other members of the cabinet are under scrutiny for their travel. thousands of catalan separatists have held a final rally ahead of sunday's planned referendum on independence from spain. the head of the regional government,
told the crowd he believed catalonia would become a sovereign nation. madrid's trying to block the vote, claiming it is unconstitutional. the us has warned americans not to travel to cuba and pulled half the staff from its embassy in havana, after a spate of "sonic attacks". more than 20 people have suffered symptoms, including dizziness and brain trauma. the cause remains a mystery. birmingham's bid to host the 2022 commonwealth games has officially