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tv   BBC News at Ten  BBC News  March 6, 2018 10:00pm-10:31pm GMT

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tonight at ten — counter—terror police take charge of the inquiry into the suspected poisoning of a former russian agent and his daughter, in salisbury. sergei and yulia skripal are still critically ill in hospital, after they were found unconscious two days ago. it's believed the father and daughter were captured on cctv shortly before being found on a bench nearby. her eyes were just completely white, wide open butjust white and frothing at the mouth. the man went stiff, his arms stopped moving but he was still looking dead straight. military scientists are testing samples of the substance thought to have caused the illness, as ministers warn that russian state involvement is being looked at. should evidence emerge that implies state responsibility, then her majesty's government will respond appropriately and robustly. mrjohnson added that russia was a "malign and disruptive force". moscow said his remarks were "wild' and "preposterous". also tonight: in syria, the terrible suffering
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of civilians who are unable to leave the besieged suburb of eastern ghouta. north korea's leader kim jong—un, has hinted that he's willing to begin talks about giving up his nuclear weapons programme. food companies are told to reduce the calories in products by 20% to deal with obesity. and, how picasso celebrated the beauty of his young lover, we visit a major new exhibition at london's tate modern. and coming up on sportsday on bbc news: with it all so comfortable for liverpool. could psg comeback against real madrid in tonight's other champions league game to reach the quarterfinals? good evening.
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counter—terrorism officers have taken charge of the investigation into the suspected poisoning of a former russian agent and his daughter, in salisbury on sunday. sergei skripal had been convicted in russia, 12 years ago, of passing secrets to mi6. he and his daughter yulia are both critically ill and military scientists are testing samples of a substance which may have caused their illness. the foreign secretary borisjohnson has promised a robust response, if there's conclusive evidence that russia was involved. our first report tonight is by our home affairs correspondent tom symonds in salisbury. a father and a daughter apparently struck down in public on a sunday afternoon in salisbury. the bbc revealed today that yulia skripal had been visiting her father sergei from russia when it happened. they were left fighting for their lives. her eyes were just completely white, they were wide open butjust white and frothing at the mouth.
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and the man went stiff, his arms stopped moving, but he was still looking dead straight. cctv images obtained by the bbc appeared to show mr skripal and his daughter walking together at 15:47 on sunday afternoon. they were heading for a small park surrounded by shops in the centre of salisbury called the maltings. the camera which captured these pictures is yards from where they were found. police were called at 4:15pm when people reported the pair were unconscious on a park bench. last night zizzi, an italian restaurant nearby, was sealed by police, followed today by a local pub, bishop's mill. did someone slip something into theirfood or drink? for the police this is a highly sensitive and potentially hazardous investigation, not least for the officers involved. the key question of course is what was the substance that left a father and his daughter in such a terrible condition on the park bench covered by the tent behind me?
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there will be toxicology reports prepared but we understand that several police officers were admitted to hospital, one has been kept in. symptoms include breathing difficulties and itchy eyes. experts at the research facility porton down are now involved, testing for a wide range of substances. from things that are chemically toxic to things that are radiological such as was used against litvinenko. i think people will have an open mind, they will be looking at what is in the environment, what is on the clothing, on the skin of the people and also what is in blood and urine and any other samples. so far the tiny wiltshire police force has led the investigation but that changed today in a significant department. this afternoon the metropolitan police have confirmed that, due to the unusual circumstances, the counterterrorism network will be leading this investigation as it has the specialist capability and expertise to do so.
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after all, as the foreign secretary made clear in parliament this afternoon, this incident could have implications for britain's relationship with russia. should evidence emerge that implies state responsibility, then her majesty's government will respond appropriately and robustly. sergei skripal was arrested in 2004, accused of spying for mi6, convicted, but in 2010 handed over to britain as part of a spy swap. sergei skripal‘s wife, older brother and son have died in recent years — the family believe in suspicious circumstances. he has been living quietly here, vigilant and fearful of russian intelligence, his relatives said, but under his own name. he would not have been hard to find. tom symonds, bbc news, salisbury. in moscow, the russian government has vehemently denied any
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suggestion of involvement, and promised to cooperate with the inquiry if asked. a foreign ministry spokesman accused borisjohnson of making "wild" and "preposterous" statements, and the russian ambassador in london accused the british media of trying to demonise russia, as our correspondent steve rosenberg reports from moscow. it sounds chillingly familiar. russia under suspicion of planning and executing an attack, 2,000 miles away, in britain. in 2006, the target was former russian agent alexander litvinenko, murdered in london. the man britain believes poisoned him is andrei lugovoy. today, he dismissed claims that moscow had attacked sergei skripal as propaganda. translation: why do they say he was poisoned? perhaps he poisoned himself or had a heart attack.
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you talk about propaganda, but what about alexander litvinenko? the inquiry in britain into his death found that you had poisoned him, probably on the orders of vladimir putin. translation: there was no official investigation into litvinenko‘s death. there was an attempt to accuse russia and a russian citizen, me, of poisoning him in britain with polonium. as for the kremlin, well, it's been saying very little today about sergei skripal. president putin's spokesman told me earlier, "we have no information about what happened. we cannot comment." although he did add, it was a "tragic situation." but catching spies has become one of vladimir putin's priorities. yesterday, the former kgb officer praised russia's security service for uncovering 397 spies last year. the kremlin leader has never hidden his contempt for those who betray the motherland for money. "traitors will kick
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the bucket, trust me." "these people betrayed their friends, their brothers in arms. whatever they got in exchange for it, those 30 pieces of silver they were given, they will choke on them." yet sergei skripal wasn't an obvious target for the kremlin. translation: there are certain rules that the secret services keep to. when there's an exchange of spies, the matter is considered closed. skripal had been exchanged, russia had no problem with him. moscow denies any connection, but a former double agent, collapsing in britain, it can only add to the chill in relations between the uk and russia. steve rosenberg, bbc news, moscow. as we've heard, the man at the centre of the investigation, sergei skripal, arrived in the uk in 2010, as part of an exchange of spies.
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he was a former colonel in russian military intelligence. and mr skripal‘s relatives have told the bbc that he believed russia's special services could come after him at any time. 0ur security correspondent gordon corera examines whether the signs so far point to a state—sponsored assassination attempt. does the long arm of the kremlin reach all the way from moscow to salisbury in wiltshire? and if the attack on sergei skripal did come from russia, why? after being released from jail, skripal had spent the last eight years living quietly in salisbury but he still had enemies. sergei skripal had been imprisoned in russia for selling secrets to british intelligence here at mi6. it's claimed he provided the identity of hundreds of russians operating undercover in europe. even though he had been pardoned as part of a spy swap, his former colleagues would still have regarded
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him as a traitor. the fact that he blew a whole range of russian agents, there may be personal animosities there. the fact that he was a british spy, a former member of the russian military, in most russians‘ minds actually it would categorise him as a traitor. so yes, there would have been, there are people there delighted to see him dead. no one yet is confirming that moscow was involved but there have been other incidents involving russians in the uk. as we have heard, most famously alexander litvinenko, another former russian spy, poisoned in london's mayfair. and there have been other figures whose deaths have aroused suspicions like badri patarkatsishvili. alexander perepilichny died suddenlyjogging in surrey. 0ne test revealed traces of a rare toxin in his stomach and a businessman campaigning over his death says not enough has been done to deter russia. based on the reaction of the british
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government to the murderer in mayfair using nuclear material with alexander litvinenko, which has nothing, it basically gave a green light to vladimir putin that he could do whatever he wants here. and he has been doing whatever he wants here for quite awhile. it is still too early to be sure this investigation will go. but if the trail does connect salisbury to moscow, then the pressure will be on the british government to respond. gordon is here, how close are we to finding out what this substance was? tests have been going on and it is possible they may have some kind of preliminary assessment of what it might be. but officials know, they are not saying until they are sure. 0ne are not saying until they are sure. one possibility it was some kind of nerve agent. some counts about
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eyewitness of foaming and voluntary movements, it might fit above. it was a nerve agent used on the korean leader's half brother. it is usually a spray. it could be a poison or tucks in ingested in a drink. with alexander litvinenko, it was a cup of tea. that might be harder to do surreptitiously. if it is some kind of unusual toxin or some kind of chemical weapons, that may point to a state being behind and potentially a state being behind and potentially a small group of states who have that capability. so it could be a very important piece of the puzzle. ministers will be updated on the latest are at a meeting of the cabinet office emergency committee cobra which is taking place tomorrow morning chaired by the home
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secretary. thank you very much for the update. in syria, the intense bombardment of rebel—held territory in eastern ghouta, has left around 800 civilians dead over the past fortnight, according to local activists. the besieged enclave is the last area under rebel control near the capital damascus. the russian military, which supports the syrian government, has offered civilians what it calls "safe passage". but the un says some are being prevented from leaving by rebel fighters, as our middle east editor jeremy bowen reports and, a warning, there are some graphic images from the start. it was another day in the life and death of eastern ghouta. the bbc‘s been following dr amani ballour, a paediatrician in an under ground hospital, through the worst days of attacks. this was filmed for the bbc, the syrian government won't allow us into the enclave. dr amani and her colleagues were dealing with the results of an air strike on a market, more than 20 dead and 90 injured. translation: the hospital is stuffed with injured people, including women and children.
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their injuries include brain damage, fractured and amputated limbs. a child's arm was amputated. some children were seriously wounded, others were killed. dr amani examined a boy who'd been brought in, presumed dead — she found a pulse. they went to work to get him to breathe. he was rushed into intensive care, but it was a false hope, a few hours later he was dead. in a siege surrounded by casualties, the world shrinks to a few essentials. the most important is survival — living through this day to have the chance to start another. 0n the battlefield the syrian army, helped by russia, has been advancing.
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resistance seems to be collapsing. the trucks that took aid into the enclave were forced out by shelling, with ten out of 46 still unloaded. un aid workers said civilians were terrified, angry and many wanted to get out, but couldn't. they feel that they're being blocked. there are snipers sitting at the checkpoint exit, the corridor that is there. they‘ re very unhappy with their own armed groups inside, but there is also this other narrative, which is very strong amongst the elders and the leaders, is that this is our place, we're not moving out from here. a russian general, yuri yevtushenko, said his men would guaranteed the safety of civilians who wanted to get out, and he said fighters could leave with their personal weapons and immunity. russian troops are very visible around the war zone. moscow has given the syrian army the fire power to break into rebel strongholds.
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0n the front—line, around eastern ghouta, most of the troops were syrian, but the russians were there, alongside them. russia is now the most important foreign power in this war. president putin was given equal billing with president assad in this position. the russians are preparing for the day after. it looks as if the end game is approaching for the armed opposition in eastern ghouta. elsewhere in the country, rebels still control territory, though not nearly as much as before. and fighting goes on, it's particularly fierce at the moment up near the turkish border. syria's war is changing, but it's not ending. jeremy bowen, bbc news, damascus. after months of growing tensions on the korean peninsula, north korea's leader, kim jong—un, has hinted
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he is willing to start talks about dismantling his nuclear weapons, if his country's safety can be guaranteed. he's agreed to meet the south korean leader at a summit next month, the first meeting of its kind for more than a decade. 0ur correspondent, laura bicker, is in seoul. laura, this does seem to represent a significant change in tone. what do you make of it? well not only is kim jong—un willing to discuss getting rid of his nuclear weapons he's willing to do so with the united states and he said he will halt any missile tests while those talks take place these are extraordinary announcements. they come from a dinner in pyongyang hosted by kim jong—un where he welcomed ministers from south korea for the first time. those delegates will travel from here in seoul to washington to brief the trump administration. the us president believes its his policy of maximum pressure, those
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international sanctions, that has forced kim jong—un to the table. it may well be that pyongyang is running out of cash, but it could also be that kim jong—un running out of cash, but it could also be that kimjong—un is lying, trying to buy time to continue to build his missile programme. 0r trying to buy time to continue to build his missile programme. or it could be that the young leader is looking for something that his father and grandfather failed to achieve, a peace treaty with the south. whatever the motivation behind this change of heart, ministers here in seoul say they are dealing with the north with clear eyes, but they are also very aware of the effects of war on this peninsula and they‘ re of the effects of war on this peninsula and they're willing to go wherever these talks may lead them. laura, many thanks for the latest there. laura bicker, our correspondent in south korea. food companies have been told to reduce the calories in their products, or face legislation if they fail to comply. the target of a 20% reduction, over the next five years, is the latest attempt to tackle the problem of obesity, which is costing the nhs
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an estimated £6 billion a year. public health officials are also recommending new reduced calorie limits for meal times, as our health editor, hugh pym, explains. it's time for action and food companies must cut calories. that's the demand from public health chiefs, who want to see new recipes, smaller portions or more effort to move customers to healthy options. here's the obesity problem. a child's diet might include breakfast with nearly 500 calories. a packed lunch with more than 1,000. an after—school snack at around 250 and pasta and a pudding for dinner, with more than 800 calories. but that's nearly 600 above the recommended limit for children, which is like eating an extra meal a day. but with an ice cream van parked outside this school in salford today, parents told us it wasn't easy keeping their children's diets under control. well, look, there's an ice cream van
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right now outside the school. there's something everywhere, isn't there? so it's hard, but i do try. if children want an ice cream, they just want an ice cream, don't they? kids are just going in mcdonald's and eating burgers and stuff, and even i don't even know what calories are in them, to be fair. mcdonalds, in fact, is one of the big companies which has agreed to a calorie cutting plan for its meals and it's backed a campaign telling customers what they can get if they want to stick to a 600 calorie limit. subway is another company publicising nutritional information and says all its individual items are under 600 calories. do you acknowledge that your company and others have contributed to this problem? i think with the choice that customers have today, there is so much choice on the high street. four out of ten subs purchased every single week is from our low—fat range. there's still a lot of detail to be worked out on how the calorie reduction plan will work in practice. the fast—food chains and supermarkets have until 2024 to deliver the 20% cut.
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so the question arises, what happens if things aren't on track? so what we need to see is regular, transparent reporting so we can see which parts of industry are playing their role and who's lagging behind. if change doesn't happen fast enough, we need the government to introduce legislation to make this mandatory. there's already a sugar reduction plan for cakes and other sweet items. that has to deliver by 2020. but the new calorie initiative for other food runs four years beyond that. some say that's not fast enough to tackle what's been called an obesity epidemic. hugh pym, bbc news. a brief look at some of the day's other news stories. the body of a woman, who'd been stabbed, has been found in herfamily home in south—west london. the discovery was made an hour after the bodies of her husband and two boys, aged seven and ten, were discovered at the foot of cliffs in east sussex. police say they're not looking for anyone else in connection with the investigation. a lorry driver has been convicted of causing the deaths of eight people
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in a crash on the mi, near milton keynes, last august. ryszard masierak had stopped in the inside lane for 12 minutes when a second lorry and a minibus collided with his vehicle. the threat of plastic pollution in the world's oceans has been highlighted again, this time by a british diver. rich hornerfilmed himself swimming through large quantities of plastic waste off the coast of the indonesian island of bali. the balinese authorities have previously warned about the problem and its effect on the tourist industry. thousands of people in parts of the uk have spent a fourth day without water after pipes that froze last week burst as temperatures rose at the weekend. water companies have continued work to restore supplies to homes and businesses in parts of london, kent, sussex and parts of wales. the industry regulator, 0fwat, said suppliers had "fallen well short" on theirforward planning. 0ur correspondent,
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emma simpson, reports. a sussex country pub with lots of beer, but no running water. not today. i'm really sorry. that's all right. they've been saying sorry to customers since saturday, 200 lost bookings, and counting. how much is this all going to cost you? probably £6,000, £7,000 so far. it's devastation, we can't open and we've lost food. we've lost our revenue, you know. down the road, yet more emergency supplies for households in need. 0h, we're managing. you know, we're british, aren't we! they were helping themselves in west wales, and there are still thousands without water in london. here's the problem — just one of many burst pipes still being repaired. no quick—fix, but progress is being made. the big freeze has put an enormous strain on the water network, but critics say the water companies
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should be investing much more in improving ageing infrastructure and making the system more resilient. south east water will invest £450 million into its infrastructure from 2015 to 2020. we're dealing with an unprecedented event here due to the weather, where we've seen a 25% increase in burst and water demand over a couple of days. back at the pub, the chef's cleaning, not cooking. they just want to know when they can re—open. this ale won't keep if it's not soon, yet more money being poured away. emma simpson, bbc news, wadhurst. a former private investigator, engaged by the sunday times and other media, has spoken for the first time about the extent of the criminal activity he was involved in while obtaining information for the papers.
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john ford told the bbc that hundreds of members of the public and well over a dozen leading politicians, including tony blair and gordon brown, were among his targets. his admissions come days after the government abandoned the second phase of the leveson inquiry into press standards. 0ur media editor, amol rajan, has the story. i did their phones, i did their mobiles, i did their bank accounts. i stole their rubbish. for 15 years, john ford was engaged by the sunday times. now, for the first time, he's speaking out about what he did, including targeting tony blair and gordon brown. he received a police caution for fraud in the course of his work. as a private investigator, he earned up to £40,000 a year. there were a lot of people who say that britain's newspapers for many years harboured huge and industrial scale criminal activity. does your experience, working for them, suggest that's true? absolutely, and i was at
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the forefront of it, i'm ashamed to say. for almost two centuries, the sunday times has been an ornament to british journalism, launching many of the most famous campaigns and names in the trade. like other titles owned by rupert murdoch, it was involved in the leveson inquiry into press ethnics. last week the government finally scrapped phase two of the leveson inquiry, which was due to look at allegations of police corruption and failures of corporate governance at murdoch's news international and other media organisations. the government and newspapers argue it would be an expensive distraction from the real challenges facing the industry. but together with hacked 0ff, the group campaigniing for victims of press abuse, john ford wants to see phase two happen. how many members of the british cabinet in that new labour period, after 1997, do you think you targeted? 15 to 20. can you describe the nature of your attacks on members of the british cabinet? aggressive, unprincipled.
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fishing expeditions often. what is the nature of the fishing expeditions that you conducted on the british cabinet? hundreds of telephone interceptions, hundreds of bank interceptions. utilities, i've been through mortgages, i've stolen rubbish. i'v i mean, i'm afraid the list is endless. not all thatjohn ford did was illegal, some of it may have been in the public interest. in a statement, a spokesperson for the sunday times said... the sunday times has also said "it has always been its expectation
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and practice that its contractors work within the law." the government says that we need to move on and fight the next battle, but with sir brian leveson and victims of press abuse saying that we need phase two of his inquiry, fleet street's past still casts a long shadow over its future. you're aware clearly that you're confessing, as it were, to large scale criminality? yeah. what do you think are likely to be the legal repercussions for you now? i don't know. but as far as whatever is coming my way, i'm ready to accept it because what i want is my conscience to be clear. amol rajan, bbc news. picasso's young lover, marie—therese walter, inspired some of his most celebrated works of art. a new exhibition, at london's tate modern, focuses on picasso's work
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from the year 1932 and includes the dream, and nude in a black armchair. one of picasso's portraits of walter sold recently for nearly £50 million. 0ur arts correspondent, david sillito, reports from tate modern. there's a lot of emotion in this exhibition. it's kind of into lust and into life. there's also drama. normally a tate show would be a retrospective of a life's work, but this is just retrospective of a life's work, but this isjust one retrospective of a life's work, but this is just one year of picassos. that year is 1932. this is picasso and this is his wife 0lga. but when you look at the paintings, it's another face. wherever you look you see the same
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shock of blonde hair, the same profile. here she is again. the same hair, the same profile. we're not looking at picasso's wife here though, this is marie—theres walter. this is her granddaughter, diana. two generations may have passed, but i think you can probably see a certain family likeness. what i think of, it as a granddaughter, when i walk in an exhibition like this, is that it's not a great artist it's a an accounter. she is everywhere. an obsession. picasso was approaching 50 when the affair began. marie—therese was a teenager. she was very young when she met


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