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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  July 5, 2018 4:30am-5:00am BST

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to novichok — the same type of nerve agent used in the attempted murder of a former russian spy and his daughter. offciers say there was no evidence that the couple had been deliberately targeted. officers say there's no evidence the couple were deliberately targeted. in thailand, 10,000 litres of water an hour are being pumped out of the flooded cave complex where 12 teenage boys and their football coach are trapped. the hope is they can be rescued before the monsoon rains start, within days. otherwise they may have to wait underground for up to 5 months. there's been more heavy fighting in southern syria, as government forces try to recapture daraa province — one of the last rebel strongholds. un officials say at least 270,000 people — a third of the population — have fled their homes. let's get more now on our top story: british police have confirmed that a man and a woman
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are in critical condition after being poisoned by novichok — the same nerve agent that was used in the attempted murder of the former russian spy sergei skripal, and his daughter yulia in wiltshire. neil basu, assistant commissioner of the metropolitan police and sally davies, chief medical officer of england, gave details about the couple, who were found unconscious on saturday, and their findings so far. here's what they said: earlier today, the deputy chief co nsta ble earlier today, the deputy chief constable gave an update on the situation. however, ican constable gave an update on the situation. however, i can confirm to note that there has been a significant development is bell and the counterterrorism policing network is now leading the investigation into this incident. the ambulance service was called to
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an address and a 44 you're a woman had collapsed and was taken to hospital. at around 3:30pm that day, the ambulance service was called back to that same address where a 45—year—old man had also fallen ill. he was taken to hospital and at wiltshire police were then inform the. from initial assessment, wiltshire police were then inform the. from initialassessment, it wiltshire police were then inform the. from initial assessment, it was thought that the two patients had been fallen ill after using drugs by eight potentially contaminated that. however, on monday the second of july, due to the concerns over the symptoms they were displaying, samples from both patients were sent to porton down labradorian for analysis. following a detailed analysis. following a detailed analysis of those apples, we can confirm the man and woman have been exposed to the nerve agent novichok, which has been identified as the same nerve agent that contaminated both julia and sergei same nerve agent that contaminated bothjulia and sergei skripal. the latest update we have from the hospital is that both patients
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remain ina hospital is that both patients remain in a critical condition in. both are british nationals and are local to the area. offices are still working to identify their next of kin. at this stage, and this is important, at this stage no one else has presented with the same symptoms linked to this incident. the priority for the investigation team now is to establish how these two people have come into contact with his nerve agent and i have around 100 detectives from the counterterrorism policing network working solidly on this investigation alongside their collea g u es investigation alongside their colleagues on wiltshire police. we have cornered off a number of sites in the amesbury and salisbury area is that we believe that people have visited before they fell ill. this isa visited before they fell ill. this is a precautionary measure while we continue to investigate how they came to be exposed to this substance. i do want to reassure the public that there is no evidence that either this man or woman recently visited any of the site
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that have been decontaminated following the attempted murders of julia and sergei skripal. looking ahead over the current days, people in the area can expect to see an increased police persons, including officers wearing protective equipment as they carry out activities in a number of sites. this will look very similar to some of the activity you have all seen taking place salisbury earlier this year. again, this is a precautionary, but necessary measure that allows officers to do safely carry out meticulous and systematic services for evidence that will support the investigation. this must be done with great care to ensure there is no outstanding risk to those officers and the public at large. i appreciate there will be a great deal of speculation as to whether this incident is linked to those events in salisbury in march this year. i would add that the complex investigation into the attempted murders ofjulia and
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sergei skripal remain ongoing and detectives continue to sift through and assess all the available evidence, they are following every possible lead to identify those responsible for what remains a reckless and barbaric criminal act. however, i must say that we are not ina however, i must say that we are not in a position to say whether the nerve agent from the same batch that they were exposed to. the possibility that these two investigations might be when is clearly a line of enquiry. it is important that the investigation is led by evidence available and the fa cts led by evidence available and the facts alone and we don't make any assumptions or indulge in speculation. therefore, we are keen to hear from anyone who speculation. therefore, we are keen to hearfrom anyone who might speculation. therefore, we are keen to hear from anyone who might have information that could assist the investigation and if you think you do, i would urge you to contact our police. the investigation team, as it has done in march, worked closely
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with experts from public health england, who emphasised that basically —— based on the number of casualties, that there is a significant health risk to the wider public. at the chief health officer is with me and will update you on the very latest public health advice, after which we will be happy to ta ke advice, after which we will be happy to take one or two questions.” advice, after which we will be happy to take one or two questions. i am professor sally davids and as you have heard, these two patients are ina have heard, these two patients are in a critical condition following exposure to the nerve agent novichok. following events in march, we have a well established response to this kind of incident and clear processes to follow. our priorities at this time are to care for the patients and to understand the circumstances surrounding how these two individuals became unwell, thus ensuring there is no further risk to the public's health from this incident. as the country's chief medical officer, i want to reassure the public that the risk to the general public remains low. i
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understand that those in salisbury and surrounding areas will be concerned of this news, particularly those who have recently visited the area is now cordoned off either police. my advice for any individual that may have been in any of the areas i'iow that may have been in any of the areas now cordoned off from 10pm on friday evening onwards is highly precautionary. as before, my advice is to wash your clothes and white down any personal items, shoes and bags, with whites before disposing of them in the usual way. this is the same public health advice i gave during the previous incident, but i'iow. during the previous incident, but now. i should also warned the public to be careful, as always, of digging up to be careful, as always, of digging up any unknown or already dangerous objects such as needles and syringes. you do not need to seek advice from a health professional unless you are experiencing symptoms as any individual who had been
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significant exposed at the same time, would by now have symptoms of. those people from the area who are concerned should call nhs trip one. —— triple won the. i also want to highlight that the areas of salisbury already cleaned our sakes, i would like to commend the professionalism of our emergency staff, as well as those at salisbury district hospital, particularly the intensive care unit. and i want to reiterate the police are still investigating how this event happened and the public should continue to follow the police's advice and that public health england. we will ensure updates as we get further information. thank you. chief medical officer sally davies there. our correspondent nawal al maghafi spent the day yesterday in amesbury speaking to some of those caught up in the investigation. a quiet, commissioning corner of
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southern england. most people moved into this brand—new housing estate just weeks ago. but today, normal life has been taken over by police tape and rows of television cameras. we were watching the football and all outside and it was all ambulances and fire engines. i think it was three on this road, just along here and an ambulance and police and they had cordoned off the whole field so people couldn't come out and look. it is not very nice when you have two kids inside and you don't know what is going on, so, it isa you don't know what is going on, so, it is a little bit worrying. emergency services were called here to the home of lawn sturgess and charlie roughley, the latest victims of what seems to be poisoning. he was sweating, dribbling, he couldn't speak to them and was making funny noises and was rocking back and forward. there was no response, he didn't even know i was there, like he was in another world, hallucinating. the couple are now in
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critical condition and are being treated at salisbury district hospital. as well as marbled and road, the police have cordoned off a number of sites, including a baptist centre where the couple attended a community event and a goods chemist —— goods chemist. the site cordoned off by police in amesbury are only seven miles away from the centre of salisbury and it is there that the story of the skripal‘s and today's events a re story of the skripal‘s and today's events are linked to. it is said they visited this park a few days before falling ill and is a short walk away from where julia and sergei skripal were found unconscious. porton down analysed the sample and confirmed it was novichok, the same substance that also poisoned the skripal‘s. novichok‘s are very consistent, they large —— last for a long time. these
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last four months, possibly several months. it was designed to over match nato defence of chemical capabilities, it is very difficult to detect and why it has taken so long in salisbury to decontaminate is that the sample every area, check it in the lab and then come back. once we know where it is is relatively easy decontaminate. as the couple fight for their lives, more disturbing developments are coming to light. for people here, this sequence of events is all too familiar. well, these latest events in and around salisbury remind us that it has gone quiet there as far as the investigation into the skripal‘s poisoning is concerned. so, what intelligence do we have as to who was behind it? mark urban has been following the skripal case very closely. here is his report on what we know, and what we don't. in the months since the salisbury
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poisoning, whittle has leaked out of the police investigation. —— little. a slow death at, leaders described as challenging. but we do no more now about why the government should be could blame, critically that it had evidence that russia had the skripal‘s under surveillance. in a letter to nature, britain said that julia's e—mail account had been hacked back in 2013. i understand that britain has evidence that they we re that britain has evidence that they were keeping tabs on the skripal‘s a long time after that. both sergei skripal and his daughter were subject of lengthy monitoring by the russian state, even though that evidence was pieced together after the assassination attempt. there is quite clearly an attack by an agent of the russian state against two individuals in the united kingdom
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and the fact that we cannot immediately identify the individual who conducted the attack is hardly surprising when you consider that they have the support of the fsb and could easily leave the country under a different name very quickly. the detail on that additional surveillance is classified, of course. but it is quite likely that julia's phone was used as a mean of tracking her, it may have even been switched on as a microscopic as to whether sergei skripal was followed on the streets of salisbury prior to the attack, that is a matter of active investigation. another key aspect in britain's attribution was in the identification of a specific novichok nerve agent and the observation of his behaviour at contaminated sites. the secret report from the international watchdog shows, i am told, that
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agent hardly degraded at all in the rain, back in the relevant to today's news, its measure of its exceptional stability. they deduced it was chemistry of a very high quality. the agent is extremely pure, there are hardly any impurities. is my understanding that the formula is in the confidential brief paper, which, at the request of the uk, the opc w has distributed to all state parties, to the cwc tommo then we also have a statement by the russian ambassador, specifically mentioning a novichok variant. as the agent mentioned to him by british officials. the
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problem from the assassin ‘s point of view is that the poison applied asa of view is that the poison applied as a viscous liquid on their front door handle was absorbed only very slowly and during that time, going to the pub and restaurant, they would have been able to wash a good deal of it off their hands. but what of the man at the centre of this? well, we can also reveal a little more about him. last summer, i came here and met sergei skripal on a number of occasions that. it was pa rt number of occasions that. it was part of research for a book project i was doing. ifound part of research for a book project i was doing. i found a man who was proud of his achievements in life, a big person with a wry wit, irrepressible in the face of the setbacks and sorrows he had experienced in his life. chatting to sergei skripal in his home last
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summer, i didn't find a man who seemed particularly worried about his personal security. he did at that time express concerns about being quoted, but that in terms of the possible threats to his son and daughter travelling to and from russia. now, of course, from those calculation is have to be rethought. tragically, his son died lastjuly of liver failure. tragically, his son died lastjuly of liverfailure. it tragically, his son died lastjuly of liver failure. it was another bleak episode four sergei skripal following the loss of his wife and brother of that he took it with remarkable strength. iphone and it august to offer my condolences. he seemed resigned to his loss, but he did say that life would be that much harder without sasha. the skripal i glimpsed last summer was a loving family man and one of routine, regularly visiting the cemetery and stopping by the nearby shop to buy
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scratch cards or enjoying a drink with friends. it was semi— retirement, because he did give occasional lectures still, to military and intelligence services audiences in frilly countries. that may have led the russians to see him as still being involved. it is clear sergei skripal will not be returning to his road, the taxpayer has bought his house, the car and many other possessions for decontamination or destruction. this chapter of his life is definitively over. it would be up to sergei skripal to decide how he wishes to approach the rest of his life, but he has that to realise that a failed attempt at murder by the fsb doesn't exactly fill anyone with confidence and therefore, i suspect, fill anyone with confidence and therefore, isuspect, he fill anyone with confidence and therefore, i suspect, he will require significant levels of protection for many, many years and maybe indeed, he may have to adopt a
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new identity. but what of his daughterjulia, who came here in march and planned on a two—week visit. during the last couple of months she is said to have been reassessing her calculations, not least about life with her boyfriend in moscow. translation: my life has been turned upside down as i try to come to terms with the devastating changes, both physically and emotionally. i want to help care for my father until he is —— until his full recovery. in the longer term i hope to return home to my country. julia, is clear she wants to return to russia, but that is a hope for the future. her father has no such choice. the man at the centre of this, sergei skripal, remains silent. he didn't choose to make state m e nts silent. he didn't choose to make statements after being discharged from hospital in the same way his daughter did. as he regains strength and makes decisions about his
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future, that may change. equally, there is every possibility that he may stay silent as the two countries at the centre of this row de—escalate and re—enter the shadows. the back for those hoping for some kind of closure or even the trial they would be poisoner, odds are against it. everyone concerned is struggling to establish some kind of normality. so much remains unfinished. nearly 700,000 rohingya muslims fled last year's military crackdown in myanmar. hundreds of villages were burnt to the ground, and there was widespread rape and murder. the un called it "ethnic cleansing." myanmar‘s military says it is fighting rohingya militants and denies targeting civilians. the country has refused to allow access to un investigators, but officials recently took a group ofjournalists to the area on a tightly—controlled visit. the bbc‘s myanmar correspondent nick beake joined the trip. this is part of the trip they did
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not want us to see. this is to be a rohingya village. the people are long gone. if you look around you can see evidence of fire here. they are trying to usher us away again. they are saying it is time to move on. why can we not go in here? why can we not go inside? because it is very dangerous. something could happen. we do not know is do not come in there. we wa nt
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we want to go back to our homeland. myanmar‘s government insists it wa nts to myanmar‘s government insists it wants to bring them back home. but they are sceptical they feel no one wa nts they are sceptical they feel no one wants them. how would you describe the rohingya
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people in three words? he only needs one. "terrorists." bats often get a bad rap. i'm thinking vampires here. but they're actually essential for agriculture, they keep insects down and fertilize crops. however, a fungus that causes deadly white nose syndrome is spreading across the us. it's a wildlife wipeout, killing millions of bats. but in hard hit pennsylvania, scientists are hoping to slow the fungus by changing the temperature of bat caves. jane o'brien reports. the best way to check a bat for the syndrome is to catch it. and this little brown that shows clear evidence of the disease. look at the wing, especially if we hold it up to
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the light, you can see lots of wind damage where she has had lots of infection from the disease. so you can actually see the damage she? right. that hole. yes. greg turner has witnessed the population in pennsylvania alone plunge from 20 to 30 million a few years ago to about 10,000 today. it will probably take about 500 to 8000 years in order for the bats to get anywhere closer to where they were before white nose syndrome. and that is if scientists can find syndrome. and that is if scientists canfind a syndrome. and that is if scientists can find a way to stop white nose spreading. —— 1000. what about looking at where bats hibernate to slow the growth of the fungus. it is much colder. yes. just to this point. white nose syndrome cannot flourish in cold temperatures so
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scientists created a single to cool it down. before you altered this cave, how many bats were? seven. seven? and after we manipulated this down here, we went one year after 28 bats. that still does not sound very much. it doesn't, but with 9996 much. it doesn't, but with 99% mortality statewide, you want to do everything you can for survivors. now we have 36. a nice upward trend. there are only a few known site in pennsylvania that are naturally this cold. so this is a way to artificially manipulate the environment in other caverns across the state. it is a lot of work, but the state. it is a lot of work, but the bats seem to know what is good for them. they are definitely selecting a site where survivors are aggregating because they like what we have done. this is the
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alternative, a cave littered with dead and dying bats attacked by white nose syndrome while they hibernate. without bats, crucial pollinators and insect eaters, the entire ecosystem suffers. a couple of holes, definitely some big chunks. that is pretty bad as well. and the disease is spreading. from its first appearance in new york ten yea rs its first appearance in new york ten years ago, it has been confirmed in at least 32 other states and canada. if it isn't stopped, some that species to become extinct. good girl. shane o'brien, bbc news, pennsylvania. it's time for the weather with helen willetts. hello there. 29 degrees celsius was the high yesterday. that was in northern ireland. there will be a dramatic dip in the temperature here during the day ahead.
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we had and will have a dramatic drop in temperature for parts of scotland. you can see we had a few shower clouds yesterday. we had a few light showers across the southern half of the country. just a smattering of rain for some of the gardens. we will, i think, see perhaps a little bit more during the day ahead. the change in scotland and northern ireland was brought about by this band of cloud in a weak weather front. the odd spot of drizzle. the noticeable change is a dip in temperature. for many of us, temperatures are higher than wednesday morning. a bit more comfortable for sleeping, i'm sure. this weather system is not bringing much weather. just a line of cloud. the odd spot of drizzle. most of the rain is further north. but it is bringing the fresher atlantic air in. you can see the delineation between the hotter air and this atlantic influence getting in. that is why temperatures in scotland and northern ireland could be 10 degrees lower than those of yesterday. there should not be as much weather on that system. just a bit more cloud as it goes gradually east through the day. things will brighten up.
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there will be cloud building further south. a few showers in the pennines. more likely in the southern half of the uk, parts of wales in southern and central england. they could well be heavier than yesterday, even the odd rumble of thunder, given the heat building. it looks like the heat will be higher on the temperatures by a degree or two for the bulk of england and wales. a contrast after the 29, only 18 or 19 during the day ahead. there will be some refreshing sea breezes around the coast on thursday and friday. the change in the wind on thursday today should see the low cloud shift away from the east coast more quickly. early—morning mist will burn away. then it's a lovely day. just the odd shower potentially in the east. temperatures are gradually starting to recover across scotland and northern ireland as we lose the atlantic influence, building the heat again by the day and therefore by night. so it will become uncomfortably hot for many of us once again with temperatures in central and southern areas getting towards 30 degrees. high pressure ensures lots of dry weather towards the weekend. the fly in the ointment is perahsp more cloud at times, producing patchy rain on these weak weather fronts towards the north and west.
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but for many central and eastern parts of scotland and northern ireland, temperatures recovering and hot further south. refreshing sea breezes around the coast. still strong sunshine. looks as though fine weather will last into the early part of next week. this is the briefing. i'm sally bundock. our top story: british counter—terrorism police investigate as a couple fight for their lives after coming into contact with the nerve agent — novichock. we can confirm the man and woman have been exposed to the nerve agent novichok which has been identified as the same nerve agent that contaminated the sergei and yuliya skripal. training for escape in thailand. the boys trapped in a flooded cave get advice from the military on a possible plan to get them out safely. we report from syria on the plight of people in one of the last rebel strongholdsunder fire from government forces.
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