welcome to bbc news. broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is lebo diseko. our top stories: the controversial head of the us environmental protection agency quits afterjust five months. scott pruitt‘s facing at least a dozen investigations into his conduct. moving towards a trade war? a wide range of chinese exports will be hit by donald trump's 25% tariffs from today. japanese media say seven mebers of a cult including its leader have been executed for carrying out a sarin attack in 1995. a dangerous time for rescuers and the trapped voice of. one of the navy seals rescuers has died. —— trapped bullies. —— trapped boys. hello and welcome to bbc world news.
it was — according to critics — a question of when and not if. now, after being under pressure for many weeks — the head of the environmental protection agency — scott pruitt has stepped down. his resignation follows a series of ethics scandals that have dogged his tenure. president trump announced it in his usual way — by tweeting. he said: "i have accepted the resignation of scott pruitt as the administrator of the environmental protection agency. within the agency scott has done an outstanding job, eric ham — a political analyst and author on the republican party — says it was inveitable that pruitt would leave office. scott pruitt is under investigation. he is under 13 investigations right now. i think where he went too far was with this issue as it relates tojeff sessions, the embattled attorney general.
and we saw that that led to the president. and so while the president was willing to look over many of scott pruitt‘s ethical lapses and controversies, the fact that this final controversy landed right at the president's doorstep, that was a bridge too far because, as any cabinet member knows, your first order of business is to do no harm, particularly to the president. and this is an issue where i think the president finally saw the writing on the wall and had to move forward with allowing scott pruitt to move on. what impact will this have on things within donald trump's inner circle, do you think? well, we are looking at at a white house already stretched very thin. i mean, if you look at what is going on, the president is looking to announce his nominee to the supreme court on monday. so that will be a very bruising nomination fight that will take place in the fall. he still has to see his veteran's affairs nominee get
to a confirmation fight as well. add to that a third possible nomination fight for his next epa administrator. we took about three nomination fights moving into the all—importa nt mid—term elections. i think even for this president, that is going to be a lot that is going to reall tax the people around him to try to move all of this forward at the same time when he is trying to ensure that republicans keep the house in the senate. a lukewarm reaction by the democrats. you would have thought that they would have been pleased. talk us through this. well, i think right now
because you are looking at so many issues taking place — in fact, when you look at it, i spoke this afternoon to congressmen elijah cummings. as you know he is the ranking democrat on the house oversight committee, and he did inform me that they are looking at additional investigations. in fact they sent a letter the inspector general of the epa, so even though scott pruitt has left his position — or will be leaving his position — he is still not out of the woods on these investigations. they can still be dogging this white house as well as scott pruitt for some time to come. when president trump and xijinping met in november, they were all smiles and handshakes. but a lot can change in a matter of months, and the trade war between the us and china is about to step up. in the next few hours, the us starts imposing tariffs of 25% on $34 billion worth of chinese exports. beijing is hitting back with tariffs on american agricultural produce. so are the worlds two largest economies on the brink of a fully—fledged trade war? here's our china correspondentjohn sudworth.
here is just one of the products on the us tariff list. 12,000 of these chinese—built machines have been shipped to america this year. a trade that is about to be flattened. translation: an extra 25% tax, of course, affects us very much. it will reduce our potential profits. is cfmoto stealing american jobs? if you take a look at our factory, you will realise we have got where we are on our own strength, and by respecting international rules. but such individual protests are now in vain.
china's incredible economic success, donald trump argues, has been built on bending the rules. in particular, the large—scale theft of us intellectual property. tariffs, he hopes, will force china to change its behaviour. china hopes its matching tariffs on us imports will force america to back off. if it's not yet a fully fledged trade war, then it's the beginnings of one. mr trump is threatening a massive escalation, moving beyond the relatively obscure products on the current list to almost everything china produces. for decades, successive us presidents have, whatever the difficulties and differences, seen trade with china as a good thing. not any more. donald trump is doing precisely what he said he would on the campaign trail — taking the fight to factories like this one, where falling orders may very quickly translate into lost jobs. the world's two largest economies
are careering into the unknown. there's little sign of meaningful dialogue and no one seems ready to put on the brakes. john sudworth, bbc news, beijing. and for more on the possible impact of those trade tariffs including in depth analysis from our correspondents just go to our website. thats bbc.com/news. some sad news coming out of thailand, a former navy diver has died while delivering supplies to the boys and their coach trapped in a case. diver who left the navy came to help the rescue lost consciousness on his way back and he wasn't able to be revived by his colleagues. there's still no decision on how to rescue 12 boys and their football coach, who've been trapped in a
flooded cave for almost 2 weeks now. the children were found on a rocky ledge around 2.5 miles from the mouth of the cave on monday. more than 128 million litres of water has been pumped out of the cave — allowing rescue teams to walk further into the tunnel. but some parts are too narrow and more heavy rain is forecast. the boys are being taught the basics of diving — some need to be taught how to swim, but it's feared that option could be too risky. 0ur reporter at the scene has more on the rescue effort before the death of the navy seal was announced. how long will they stay down there? the boys are now getting care and food, but the thai authorities are still debating whether to risk bringing them out quickly or waiting, possibly for months. dozens of volunteers
are helping the navy divers. this is an exhausting and sometimes dangerous operation. this television actor is one of them. "water is the main obstacle," he says. "if we can get the water level down, the boys can be brought out." but while a massive pumping effort is reducing it in the first section of caves, it's having less effect deeper in, where the boys are trapped. so, the thai army has been taking equipment to the other end of the mountains to try and lower the water table here, close to their location. they have a number of ideas they want to try. but their first effort has been to divert the streams which feed the underground pools. we followed them up,
alongside pipes that had been laid just in the past few days. this creek has completely dried up. a week ago it was filled with water. so you can see that this project, with all these pipes, is definitely having an impact. higher up, we were shown in newly built dam. work like this is now going on all over these mountains. no—one is sure yet how much they can bring down the water that is blocking the boys‘ escape, or whether they'll win the battle against the imminent monsoon rain. they just know that they have to try. jonathan head, bbc news, tham luang caves, northern thailand. let's bring you some developing use from japan. —— developing news. we're getting reports from japanese media that seven members of a doomsday cult which carried out a deadly nerve gas attack on the tokyo subway in 1995
have been executed. shoko asahara, the leader of the aum shinrikyo group, was among those hanged after years on death row. thirteen people died and thousands more were hurt when members of the cult released the nerve agent, sarin, on the tokyo metro system during the morning rush hour. jake adelstein is a journalist who covered the attack in 1995. he joins us now from tokyo. take us back to the morning of that attack and what happened? the group had been preparing for a an armageddon that they were going to bring up on the world. on the day when they took sarin gas developed by the nazis, which they were able to recreate because they have bright people working for them, they put it in wastebasket and bags all over
subway stations in tokyo and released it all at once, making thousands of people sick thomas topping the trains, they killed 13 people. and they also get a test run the year before in an obscure town in the outback of japan where they killed seven people. said the number of people that have been killed by this group i poisonous gas is probably closer to 20. it must have had a massive impact on the japanese people and also the families of. how have they reacted to the news today? the families are, for the most part, except for shoko asahara's own children, who unfortunately enough have a father who was essentially a serial killer, i think are expressing relief that it is over, that it expressing relief that it is over, thatitis expressing relief that it is over, that it is done. the death penalty
injapan has a support rate, depending on which newspaper is taking the poll, between 70— 80% and i think there is a sense of release, it really that justice i think there is a sense of release, it really thatjustice has been done. —— relief. it really thatjustice has been done. -- relief. why did it take so long for this to happen? japan is very careful about death penalty offences, they do not want to execute the wrong person and there have been a couple of cases where people on death row were later proved to be innocent. so before they will execute someone, every single legal appeal has to be exhausted and there were many members of this cult on death row facing this penalty, until the very last of them had exhausted their appeals a did not want to kill any of them because it's someone is go
to make an appeal and a witness is already executed than you might question whether justice already executed than you might question whetherjustice has been done or not. after these members had exhausted all of their appeals in march everybody knew it was pretty much a matter of time before shoko asa ha ra was executed. much a matter of time before shoko asahara was executed. now, why did they choose this day to do it? it is never clear. 0ften, they choose this day to do it? it is never clear. often, as callous as it sounds, when thejustice ministry executes a criminal, it is often to detract from a scandal involving the prime minister and his cabinet. we are going to have to leave it there, thank you to joining are going to have to leave it there, thank you tojoining us are going to have to leave it there, thank you to joining us from tokyo. stay with us on bbc world news, still to come: going underground in eastern ghouta — we discover the hidden tunnels below what was once a rebel stronghold in the syrian war. central london has been rocked by a series of terrorist attacks. police say there have been many casualties and there is growing speculation that al-qaeda was responsible.
germany will be the host of the 2006 football world cup, they pipped the favourite south africa by a single vote. in south africa, the possibility of losing hadn't even been contemplated and celebration parties were cancelled. the man entered the palace through a downstairs window and made his way to the queen's private bedroom, then he asked her for a cigarette. and on the pretext of arranging for some to be brought, she summoned a footman on duty, who took the man away. one child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. education is the only solution. this is bbc world news.
the latest headlines: the controversial head of the us environmental protection agency quits afterjust five months. scott pruitt‘s facing at least a dozen investigations into his conduct. in southern syria government forces, helped by the russians, are continuing to push ahead as they try to recapture territory from the rebels. the shelling and bombing has forced up to 325 thousand civilians from their homes — that's according to the un refugee agency. it's one of the last rebel strongholds in syria. government forces have been spurred on after defeating the rebels in eastern ghouta earlier this year. 0ur middle east editorjeremy bowen has been back to find out what's happened to the people who lived there. time has passed. seven dark years. the war isn't over, but it's changing. in the spring, the regime won the battle of damascus, smashing the last rebel enclaves.
for the war weary, it's a kind of peace. the great souks in the old city survived, unlike the suburbs, where the fight for damascus was lost and won. this is douma in eastern ghouta, the last major rebel enclave to fall. even the graveyard is in ruins, hit by shells. the firepower of the syrian army and its russian allies was overwhelming. the heavy guns have been moved to other battlefields. no—one shoots now when you walk past the empty ruins. life never stopped here, but now they can live it in the sun. when the war was being fought they retreated underground into cellars
and a network of tunnels. they were built to last by skilled engineers. the regime says prisoners of the rebels were forced to do the digging. some tunnels are wide enough for vehicles. one area, used as a car park, was burnt out in the last days of the siege. in this section the system goes down four levels into deep concrete basements. there are jail cells, and close by the command centre forjaysh al—islam, which was the dominant rebel group. the commanders down in this bunker thought that they were going to win and for a while it looked as if it might happen. but in 2015, the russians intervened and since then everything has changed. president assad and his generals, who have been ostracised by the western world, by the saudis and others,
are now heading closer to victory. with the guns quiet, grandparents were checking their home in douma's wasteland for the first time in six years. it was even worse than they had thought. it wasn't just their flat or the block — the entire neighbourhood was gone. around 12 million people, half syria's prewar population, have fled their homes. translation: it's happened to everyone, notjust us. we've lost everything we've ever worked for. the apartment was all we had. translation: it's god's will, god protect the soldiers and the president. everything is much better now. thousands of eastern ghouta's people, some from the losing side, are in camps without
even ruins to visit. some of the men said this camp was a prison, because they're not allowed out to work. people were desperate to talk, despite our usual military and civilian minders. they were frantic about 100 men who'd been taken away six days earlier. we arrived at this place only about 20 minutes ago and there are lines of people queueing up to tell their stories, and they are similar stories. they are stories about family members going missing, men being taken, and women being very worried about the state they may be in now. translation: we are here under international guarantee.
they say the young men are fine, but where are they? we came out of one siege to land in another. 0ne mother claimed her 15—year—old son and husband had been taken. the authorities denied that and said the missing men included killers and others on the run from army service. translation: they took my son, left his wife and child and me. we want bashar al—assad to give our young men amnesties. ismail haidar was killed in 2012 when he was 21. his father says he forgives his killers. ali haidar, bereaved father, is also minister of reconciliation. he says only forgiveness will heal syria, but he accepts some people in the camps fear the state. translation: i understand that the families of the young men who were taken to detention centres to fix their problems are scared, because of those human rights reports. we know they've written to put pressure on the syrian government,
like the chemical weapons file, even if they're wrong. the war blew through douma for six years. it's moved on while the president and his allies deal with their remaining enemies. douma is just one fragment of the wreckage of syria. it might be too late to put this country back together. jeremy bowen, bbc news, damascus. two years ago an explosion at a market to more than a0 in mexico. the second time in a month, site of
a fatal accident involving the local lilacs industry. the explosion was visible for miles when once again, sparking a fireworks factory set up a chain reaction and left behind a trail of devastation and loss of life. 0nce trail of devastation and loss of life. once the blaze was under control, the extent of the damage became clear. among those killed was a child and some of the emergency service workers who were first on the scene to attend to the injured. translation: when the emergency services arrived, firefighters and police, there was a second explosion and that is why they lost their lives, were now providing first aid for the initial blast, the second one happened. for many mexicans, this tragic episode could have been avoided. as recently asjune, seven
people died in similar circumstances and in late 2016, more than a0 were killed when the san pablito fireworks market packed with christmas shoppers and revellers caught fire. at the time, the president promised to improve the site and proved by regulations but said on this occasion that he deeply regretted the loss of life however questions will have to be asked about how this can continue to happen. the town is famous for its artisan or fireworks but local producers admit regulations are lacking. translation: offered as firework makers, we don't take our precautions or carry tests. some fireworks on marked. some don't even show the percentages of what is with them. that is what causes problems. there is little doubt that fireworks are the mainstay of the local
economy, providing in comfort thousands of families in the community but with an average of a serious incident every year, the authorities must now decide whether to clamp down on this dangerous and unregulated industry. will grant, bbc news, mexico city. a former thai navy diver has died while delivering supplies to those 12 boys and their coach trapped in a cave. these are pictures from there. what we understand about the diver, trying to deliver oxygen and he didn't have enough on his way back. he lost consciousness and wasn't able to be revived by his colleagues. we are following bbc breaking news. thank you for watching. well, i'm sure you will know what i'm going to say,
we're in for a hot and sunny day, no changes to our weather. in fact, the weekend is looking particularly hot across england, temperatures expected to rise. i will say, though, there is a chance of one or two storms across south—eastern parts of the country on friday, or at least a big downpours. we had that on thursday, tunbridge wells with some flash flooding. there's a lot of clear whether across the country now, no widespread cloud rain or anything like that but the heat is so intense that it has been sparking off some showers. this is a picture from thursday from east sussex where we had some downpours and we could see further downpours around sussex in kent and maybe even greater london a bit later on friday afternoon. in the short—term, early hours of friday look fairly quiet across the uk, no rain out there. temperatures on the muggy side, 17, the starting temperature in london. 13 in newcastle. a bit fresher in rural parts of scotland.
as we head through friday morning, into the afternoon, it's basically sunny. a bit of fair weather cloud developing so it may not be clear blue skies but sunny enough and those temperatures will peak at around 30 degrees in london. we had 30 on thursday, we will get that probably on friday. to the north of that, comfortably warm. the low to mid—20s and those showers around kent and sussex at some point in the day. through the weekend, familiar pattern. weather systems away to the north of us, there could be a frontjust about sneaking into wester, north—western parts of scotland later on in the weekend, probably sunday, but still a while away. here's saturday, lots of clear weather around in the morning, lots of sunshine in the afternoon. temperatures will be skyrocketing across the south, posibly up to 30 or 31. 30 is not of question in the midlands too and in the north of the country, northern ireland and also scotland, temperatures up into the mid—20s as well.
come sunday, the heat continues to build across many parts of the uk. notice the cold front, a weak cold front, it means a bit of cloud, some spots of rain, you see the yellow colours so a lot fresher for our friends in the outer hebrides and the western isles, maybe around 16, cool north atlantic air but the heat is very much present across many parts of england and wales. so, hot sunday on the way and beyond that, guess what? there's little change. the heatwave continues throughout much of next week with temperatures expected to remain on the high side. this is bbc world news. the headlines: in thailand, a former navy seal has died while delivering supplies to the 12 boys and coach trapped in a case of he lost consciousness on his way back from the cave and could not be revived by his colleagues.
in the next few hours, the us is set to start imposing tariffs of 25% on $3a billion worth of chinese exports, including industrial machinery, and medical devices. china has hit back with tariffs on american agricultural produce. the controversial head of the us environmental protection agency, scott pruitt, has resigned. mr pruitt faces at least a dozen investigations into his spending habits and alleged misuse of office. president trump said he had done an outstanding job. now on bbc news — hardtalk‘s stephen sackur goes tojerusalem