this is bbc news. the headlines at 2. the first of a group of critically ill syrian children are allowed to leave a rebel—held area of damascus. motorists are being warned that snow and ice are causing disruption to motorways in england and wales. stansted airport had been closed after snow caused all flights to be suspended for several hours. and thousands of properties are without electricity, mostly in the midlands. prince harry and how he sees his role as a senior royal. he promises to remain above politics, but shine a light on certain issues and causes. i will continue to play my part in society and do myjob to the best of my ability, so i can wake up in the morning and feel energised, and go to bed hopefully knowing that i have done the best that i can. in halfan in half an hour, join me as i take a look back to the photocall held at
kensington palace that introduced prince harry's bride—to—be, meghan markle, to the media. that is the royal review, 2017. good afternoon and welcome to bbc news. aid workers have begun evacuating critically ill children from a rebel—held suburb near the syrian capital, damascus. four patients were reportedly taken out of ghouta overnight. another 25 are expected to be evacuated in the coming days, although hundreds more are in urgent need of treatment. some 400,000 residents have been under siege by government forces there since 2013. matthew thompson reports. a wave, a smile. and for eight—year—old imjy a chance, at least, at life. 29 seriously ill civilians are due
to be evacuated from this besieged suburb of damascus. many others were not so fortunate. eastern ghouta is one of the last strongholds of rebels fighting the forces of president bashar al—assad. it has been under siege by government troops since 2013 and as peace talks in geneva have faltered, the humanitarian crisis has escalated. food and fuel shortages have led to rampant inflation, starvation, and with medical supplies severely limited, doctors are powerless to help those in need. to escape the constant bombardment, for months families have sheltered in the basements of shattered buildings. but they offer no protection from hunger and disease. these people have been besieged and bombed. and living in the most atrocious conditions. there is just a little chink now and if we can get the ceasefire extended, there are peace negotiations starting up again in sochi in the next few weeks.
russian sponsored talks may offer a way out but so far rebel groups have refused to engage. meanwhile, the un has identified nearly 500 seriously ill civilians in desperate need of evacuation from eastern ghouta. 29 may be a start, but there is much more to be done. matthew thompson, bbc news. we will get more on the situation in syria shortly. police are warning drivers of hazardous conditions on the roads today, as heavy snow hits parts of the uk, leaving thousands of homes without power. there are ice warnings in scotland, northern ireland and north east england and warnings for snow in parts of england and wales. the runway at stansted airport was closed for a time while snow and ice were cleared. simonjones has this report. as many took to the roads again
after the christmas break, heading home or back to work, these were the conditions people were facing in bristol. for the emergency services the wintry weather meant numerous call—outs, crashes, breakdowns and jack—knifed lorries kept the police busy. torrential rain overnight has become snow in many areas and that has led to some pretty grim conditions on the roads. many are slushy, there is ice in a lot of areas and notjust the minor roads, but motorways have been affected as well. particularly hard hit was the a14 near kettering, a series of crashes led to some drivers being stuck for hours. i'm on the a14 trying to go eastbound to northampton. i set off from my house in hinckley at 6am this morning. i have been on the a14 for three hours now. as you can see there is nothing going in the other direction. a bit cross! those who braved the conditions to get to stansted airport found flights disrupted or cancelled after the runway had to be shut for a time.
the snow also brought down power lines, more than 20,000 homes left without electricity as temperatures plummeted. there were warnings for ice in scotland, northern ireland, and north east england. 0n boxing day, two walkers had to be rescued from a precarious ledge in snowdonia. the coastguard said they were not properly equipped. a reminder, like here in the lake district, that the snow may look beautiful, but it is posing considerable risks. simonjones, bbc news, high wycombe. we can go back to our serious story. —— story on syria. joining me now is dr ghanem tayara, the chairman of the union of medical care and relief 0rganisations who have been helping to co—ordinate this evacuation. how the evacuation is kevin? it
started yesterday. so far, only four cases have been evacuated from eastern ghouta in damascus. there was a little boy and three others. the number is much higher than that. we are hoping that another 15—20 will be evacuated within the next 48 hours. how ill are these children? they are very ill. they have been under siege forfour they are very ill. they have been under siege for four years, and they are very ill. they have been under siege forfour years, and it was a tight siege in the last six, seven months. the patients, kids, have had no basic treatment for a long time and they lack immunisation and inoculation and antibiotics. even when they have been subjected to treatment, they have been treated ina to treatment, they have been treated in a basic way. surgical tools have been reused without proper
sterilisation. hepatitis, meningitis, polio, you name it, it is widespread now. you need to remember most of them... 12 persons, kids under ten have malnutrition, which puts you at a higher risk of being prone to infection and other problems. why has it taken longer than 24 hours to get the children about? i understand it will take place over a number of days. u nfortu nately, place over a number of days. unfortunately, those patients are stuck between a political issue out here. the patients being evacuated in exchange of some hostages for the regime held by the rebels. the evacuation will only go if this negotiation continues to go through.
the risk and fear now is if the negotiation falls apart, and absolutely there will be no evacuation, it will stop completely. about the deal and negotiation, who have the players being? your organisation has been speaking to mr assad, i understand. we have been speaking to all partners, including the united nations. we have no role in the negotiation, we only operate ona in the negotiation, we only operate on a humanitarian basis and have nothing to do with political issues. we have been trying to flag up something needs to be done for the patients, especially the kids. we approached the office of president assad and we had some feedback, which is different from the negotiation itself. we have no contact with the rebels. we are
trying to be neutral with all parties. we will leave it there. thank you. the former us president barack 0bama has warned about the irresponsible use of social media in his first interview since he left office at the beginning of the year. mr 0bama said social media was, in some cases, simplifying complex issues and reinforcing people's biases. he was speaking to prince harry, who was the guest editor of radio 4's today programme. this report from our royal correspondent, nicholas witchell. prince harry, first of all, you are very welcome to our studio. good morning. joining the today programme for the day had been a big learning curve, harry said. but he had enjoyed being the interviewer, rather than the interviewed. it was quite fun, especially interviewing president 0bama. his principal scoop had been to persuade barack 0bama to give his first interview since standing down as us president. the word trump was never mentioned. but may have been in mr 0bama's mind when he warned about the irresponsible use of social media. how do we harness this technology in a way that allows
a multiplicity of voices, allows a diversity of views, but does not lead to a balkanisation of our society but rather continues to promote ways of finding common ground? harry had also interviewed his father — the main focus had been on climate change. the issue prince charles has championed for decades and for which he was sometimes derided. maybe now, some years later, they're beginning to realise that what i was trying to say may not have been quite as dotty as they thought. but, i mean, the issue really that has to go on being focused on, big time, i think is this one around the whole issue of climate change, which, you know now, whether we like it or not, is the biggest threat multiplier we face. and then at the end of the programme it was time to face questions, rather than to ask them. first about his fiancee meghan markle and her first christmas at sandringham.
she really enjoyed it, the family loved having her there. and you know, there's always that family part of christmas, and always that work element as well. and i think, together we had an amazing time, we had great fun staying with my brother and sister—in—law. harry's commitment to issues he cares about like the armed forces and mental health, had come through strongly. so how does he see his future? part of my role and part of myjob is to shine a spotlight on issues that need that spotlight, whether it is people, whether it is causes, issues, whatever it is. so i will continue to play my part in society and do myjob to the best of my abilities. so that i can wake up in the morning and feel energised and go to bed hopefully knowing that i've done the best that i can. not so long ago, he admits to having doubts about a royal role. clearly, no longer. nicholas witchell, bbc news. just to update you on some of the
chaos the weather is causing we have had confirmation from luton airport the snow that had fallen earlier and forced it to reduce the number of inbound flights has been sorted out. the airport remains open and it is operational. some of the flights have been cancelled, some have been delayed, because they had to de—ice some of the aircraft. they believe the worst of the weather is over and the worst of the weather is over and the main information to take from this is that luton airport remains open and is operational. the company that ran grenfell tower is handing back control of its other properties to the local council, saying it can no longer give tenants the service they expect. the kensington and chelsea tenant management organisation has responsibility for 9000 properties, as andy moore reports. grenfell tower is owned by the local council,
but it was run by one of the largest tenant management organisations in the country. this body manages thousands of properties in the area. it was this management organisation that made the now controversial decision to refurbish grenfell tower in cladding suspected of fuelling the fire. both it and the local council are now under investigation by the police over possible corporate manslaughter charges. the organisation has sent out a letter saying it would be in the best interests of all residents that the services which the tenant management organisation currently provides are handed back to the council. the handover, which will start at the end of next month, means the royal borough of kensington & chelsea will take over repairs and day—to—day running. but a resident on the grenfell recovery scrutiny committee says the council isn't up to the job of running a large housing stock, when he claims it has failed to deal effectively with the aftermath of the fire.
there's also a fear the tenant management organisation could escape criminal responsibility if it ceases to be a functioning company. the organisation said that wouldn't happen. the royal borough of kensington & chelsea said it saw this as a temporary measure and residents would ultimately decide how they wanted their homes managed. for the survivors of grenfell, who recently attended a memorial at st paul's cathedral, this comes as a further complication after reported delays in special christmas payments. a man who is serving a 20—yearjail sentence for throwing acid across a packed london nightclub has pleaded guilty to being in possession of a prohibited item in prison. 25—year—old arthur collins hid a mobile phone, two sim cards and two usb sticks in a crutch while he was on remand in september. he was awaiting his trial over the acid attack,
in which 22 people were injured. the headlines. the first of a group of critically ill syrian children have been amount to leave the rebel held area of damascus. motorists are being warned that snow and ice are causing travel disruption in england and wales. prince harry sets out how he views his role as a senior royal and promises to remain above politics, but to shine a light on certain issues. retailers are warning that a sharp rise in shoplifting is being fuelled partly by police forces, who are not investigating the theft of items worth less than £200. persistent offenders are exploiting a change in the law, which allows for more minor cases to be dealt with by post. the government says it doesn't diminish the seriousness
of the crimes, and has been working with police and retail organisations such as the association of convenience stores to find the best ways of tackling retail crime. joining me now is james lowman from the association of convenience stores. thank you forjoining us. what are your thoughts on the current situation? there are two different issues. the £200 threshold, many police forces are saying they will not go out and investigate crimes of that level of theft. the concern is sending the message to criminals could have the effect where they are cynically saying we will steal up to that amount and we know the police will not come out. the separate issueis will not come out. the separate issue is that if someone is caught stealing goods up to that outcome they can be dealt with by a fixed penalty notice. you get a ticket and
you can pay that. those should not be used for repeat offenders or people with drug and alcohol problems not when there are exacerbating circumstances such as violence and threats, but often they are misused in those circumstances and often they are not paid. these things together combined to make our members, retailers, feel exposed to shop theft. also not intervening with people committing shop theft early enough maybe they graduate to other crimes and if we talk about addicts and people with alcohol problems, the help they need at an early stage, and the problem cycles on. have you seen evidence it is fuelling people to go on to bigger crimes? there is evidence. there are different types of people and examples, groups who behave in different ways but there is a group
that starts with shop theft, often starting in the local shop, and then they graduate to higher value items in oxford street and major centres, and then they move onto other crime. we do see that. day—to—day the biggest problem is people with drug and our goal problems being helped. —— drug and alcohol problems not being helped. the first thing is police have to work closely with retailers to try to tackle crime and establish good reporting mechanisms. it means retailers who can send good cctv images and pass on intelligence about who may have committed the theft. to do that they need the faith police will investigate. the other side of the coin is the criminal justice system other side of the coin is the criminaljustice system will take the offences seriously and pursue people in the courts. we do not expect every person will go to
prison. but there needs to be intervention. it might mean going to prison, community—based sentences or help and support for people because of the problems they are facing. this stepping back and not intervening is letting these problems cycle potentially outer control. why do the police not follow through, and why when it gets to the court, there are not the convictions? the police, it is a resource decision and i sympathise with the police. they have a diminishing resource and a range of priorities. they generally investigate instances of violence, and we want more of that support on those incidents. but it has been taken away from something police are likely to deal with and we need to readd ress likely to deal with and we need to readdress that and see the impact it is having on crime generally. and on
whether it leads to people cycling into different types of crime by not tackling it at that stage. the courts have to also take it seriously when it gets to them. protection do your members have against these crimes? mainly from themselves, the cctv and crime prevention measures in their stores. some retailers will put a tag on high—value products so it cannot be removed, or it sounds an alarm when it leaves the -- the store. are they insured? how can they get the value reimbursed? the great myth is retailers are insured and this is a victimless crime. retailers are not insured against shop theft, it comes from their pockets. the cost, every transaction in a convenience store,
with 50,000 convenience stores, the cost of crime and 7p to every transaction, the measures they have to invest to prevent it and the cost to invest to prevent it and the cost to the bottom line so ultimately eve ryo ne suffers to the bottom line so ultimately everyone suffers as retailers have to make it back to what they charge to make it back to what they charge to customers, 7p in every transaction in convenience stores. interesting. thank you. two journalists from the reuters news agency have been visited by their families and friends for the first time since they were arrested in myanmar two weeks ago. wa lone and kyaw soe 0o were charged with illegally obtaining information and intending to share with the foreign media. they appeared at a court in yangon, where their detention was extended for another 14 days. the pair had been reporting on burmese military actions against rohingya muslims in rakhine state and their arrests have been condemned as an assault on media freedom. workers could see another year without a pay rise, that's according to the resolution foundation think—tank, which looks at living
standards in the uk. it said a year—on—year rise in real pay wouldn't be noticeable until december next year. the government says it's cutting taxes for millions and raising pay through the national living wage. parts of the united states are receiving a full dose of winter, with some northern states in a deep freeze. pennsylvania has declared a state of emergency after smashing its highest ever daily snowfall record by more than 30 centimetres. georgina smyth reports. winter white—out. trees buckling under the snow, streets choked with ice. all the hallmarks of winter and some, with a record—breaking snow dump of 53 inches — that's nearly 1.3 metres — in erie, pennsylvania. at four times the city's previous all—time christmas record, it is the snowiest day on record for what is already one
of america's snowiest cities. and the white stuff isn't making it easy for motorists. outside the city, it forced the festive traffic to a standstill on christmas day. officials have since declared a snow emergency, with some roads deemed dangerous and impassable. but for those at home with nowhere to go, there was only one thing to do. head out and enjoy the winter magic. scenes like this are likely to continue for several days, with the snow still falling thick and fast, erie could receive another foot of it in the next day. 0n the west coast, hopes for a white christmas were granted when seattle had its first snow in nine years. portland had its sixth since 1884. in boston, icy conditions sent a plane skidding down a taxiway. heavy snowfall put a freeze on arrivals and departures
at logan international for close to an hour. tesco has apologised after people complained turkeys they bought from them for christmas lunch were rotten or gone off. the traditional turkey was the centrepiece of tesco's christmas ad campaign this year, but the supermarket‘s social media feeds featured angry customers complaining their christmas meals had been ruined. the supermarket chain has apologised and promised to investigate. among those with a dodgy bird was lee ashforth, whose parents travelled from spain for christmas and they found their dinner was not up and they found their dinner was not up to scratch. we got it from the 23rd from tesco and put it in the fridge. 0n 23rd from tesco and put it in the fridge. on christmas eve we checked and everything was fine and ready to
go for christmas day and when we got it out of the fridge on christmas day morning, the smell was horrendous and we realised the turkey was off. when we took the wrapping off, the smell was horrendous. we knew it was off. we put it outside straightaway and windows and things. we had to rush about, driving around petrol stations and offers licenses trying to get food for christmas dinner. fortu nately we to get food for christmas dinner. fortunately we live on a new estate and we put it on the group and a guy called matthew helped us. fortu nately called matthew helped us. fortunately he had something we could use and we managed to get something on the table for christmas dinnerand he something on the table for christmas dinner and he saved us. my mother and father went yesterday. i was at football and they went to the tesco store where we bought it and took the turkey bracket several carrier bags and took it to customer services, who rang the manager and
asked the manager to come down, who refused to come down but did say, give them their money back. at this point my mum was upset and emotional and crying at that point another member of staff spoke to her and asked her the problem and she told them. she called another manager across, who was not particularly helpful but they gave as a £30 voucher, but i do not think that is enough and i know my father is writing them a letter as we speak, to complain further. i think the customer service to complain further. i think the customer service and the way they have dealt with it is disgusting. i ama have dealt with it is disgusting. i am a placid person and when it happened, it is christmas day, let's get on with it. i said it would probably be an isolated incident but when you see it is national views with a lot of people in the same situation, tesco needs to be seen dealing with it. they are ok taking your money off you but when it is
something on this scale, as a nation christmas day is massive, the fact it takes a 65—year—old woman to stand there crying is disgusting. tesco said they will offer customers a goodwill gesture of £75 and have issued a statement... we saw pictures earlier, a deep freeze in pennsylvania. what about closer to home? they had this much snow and we had a tiny bit, fairly insignificant, but it still cause problems this morning and it seems any amount of snow causes problems
in this country. we just cannot seem to deal with it. even when we prepare for it. tonight, where ever snow fell and if you were caught in the traffic, it is no laughing matter, because it is awful and it slows people down. tonight the hazard will be for some of the slush to freeze again. there has been a lot of rain and icy patches are inevitable on thursday morning. it will be a very cold night. in the countryside in scotland it could be below —10 degrees, maybe minus 15. tomorrow starting cold. a lot of sunshine. there may be rain at the tip of cornwall, other than that, a lovely cold day. the next spell of snow will be early friday across this area. stay tuned. this is bbc news, our latest headlines —
the first of a group of critically ill syrian children are allowed to leave a rebel held area of damascus. motorists are being warned that snow and ice are causing disruption to motorways in england and wales. prince harry sets out how he views his role as a senior royal. he promises to remain above politics, but shine a light on certain issues and causes. now on bbc news, from the engagement of prince harry and meghan markle, to the retirement from royal duties of the duke of edinburgh, sarah campbell looks back on the key events, in review 2017: the royal year. reporter: congratulations from all of us!
how are you both feeling? thrilled! this was the year in which prince harry introduced his new leading lady, the american actress, meghan markle. the fact that i fell in love with meghan so incredibly quickly, was sort of confirmation to me that everything, all the stars were after 70 years of public service, the duke of edinburgh, britain's longest—serving royal consort, hung up his hat and retired from royal duties. prince george had his own milestone moment — his first day of school. and flexing their royal muscles in an effort to put the issue of mental health firmly on the national agenda.