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tv   BBC News  BBC News  November 16, 2019 8:00pm-8:31pm GMT

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this is bbc news. i'm lukwesa burak. the headlines at eight: prince andrew speaks publicly for the first time about his friendship with the convicted sex offenderjeffrey epstein. in an exclusive interview with bbc newsnight, the duke says he was wrong to stay at epstein‘s house in new york and admits he let "the side down". iadmit i admit fully that myjudgment was probably coloured by my tendency to be too honourable, but that is just the way it is. prince andrew said he had "no recollection" of meeting one of epstein‘s chief accusers, virginia roberts. miss roberts claims she was forced to have sex with the duke when she was 17 after being groomed by epstein. prince andrew denies any
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inappropriate conduct. the education secretary orders universities to review fire safety in all their buildings, after 100 students had to flee a blaze at their halls of residence in bolton. jeremy corbyn has led a meeting of senior labour figures to decide the party's manifesto — promising a vision for a "better britain for everyone". competing on green issues, the conservatives pledge to plant 30 million trees, a year by 2025, but the lib dems say they would plant twice as many. prince andrew has told the bbc he categorically denies having sexual relations with virginia roberts, who says
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she was forced to have sex with him when she was 17 years old. in an interview with bbc‘s newsnight, he's answered questions for the first time about his links with the convicted sex offender, jeffrey epstein. the duke of york said, a ‘sense of honour‘ led him to continue his assocation with the disgraced financier. our royal correspondent, nick witchell reports. the year's 2010. prince andrew is in new york. he is videoed staying at the mansion of a convicted child sex offender called jeffrey epstein, who had just been released from an 18 month prison sentence. andrew's presence gives rise to questions, put to him by bbc newsnight‘s emily maitlis. you were staying at the house of a convicted sex offender. it was a convenient place to stay. i mean, i have gone through this in my mind so many times. at the end of the day, with the benefit of all the hindsight that one can have,
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it was definitely the wrong thing to do. but at the time, i felt it was the honourable and right thing to do. and i admit fully that myjudgment was probably coloured by my... tendency to be to honourable, but that's just the way it is. and then there is andrew's alleged contact with the then 17—year—old virginia roberts, who was on epstein‘s payroll. she has alleged that andrew seduced her. that is something andrew says in the interview that never happened. she says she met you in 2001. she says she dined with you, danced with you at tramp nightclub in london. she went on to have sex with you in a house in belgravia belonging to ghislaine maxwell, your friend. your response? i have no recollection of ever meeting this lady.
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none whatsoever. you don't remember meeting her? no. it was in 2001, according to virginia roberts, that she had sex with andrew on three occasions, including one orgy. the palace has denied that. in 2008, epstein was convicted of procuring for prostitution a girl under the age of 18. he was sentenced to 18 months in prison. it was in 2010, after epstein had been released from prison, that andrew visited him in new york and stayed at his mansion. i stayed with him and that's, that's the bit that... as it were i kick myself for on a daily basis because it was not something that was becoming of a member of the royal family, and we try and uphold the highest standards and practices and i let the side down, simple as that. but nothing about this story is simple. jeffrey epstein can't answer questions — he took his own life in august.
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as for andrew, lawyers for virginia roberts want him to make a statement under oath. the us authorities would most certainly like to hear his account of everything he witnessed. nicholas witchell, bbc news. earlier i spoke to our royal correspondent, nicholas witchell. he told me that the duke of york and his advisors clearly thought that doing an interview on the subject was a gamble worth taking. i think that it is clear that it was andrew's determination together with his private secretary to go ahead and do this. they have been in the driving seat, they are the people who felt this is a gamble that was worth taking. i am not sure the mainstream, buckingham palace communications experts have really been involved in this and i'm not sure they would have advice for him to go ahead with it. but there it is. he has decided he wants to get his story out there. it is a
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high—risk gamble. you will be hoping that he gains credit for subjecting himself to the best part of an hour and as emily has said, there were no restrictions on what she could ask and as we have seen already from the clips that have been issued, she asks some very tough questions and he hasn't flinched. he has whatever we think of what he said, he has sat there, take on it and come up with what he must consider to be the best and most plausible answers. many are saying it is a really strange time for him to stop speaking about this because often, a lot of the stories simply go away over time. there is no precise explanation, no imprecise explanation as to why he felt this was the moment he wanted to do it. i can only think he wants to draw a line. this was an opportunity, he is coming up to his 60th birthday, he
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has his other daughter's wedding next year. he perhaps felt this was something that has been hanging over him, that he wants to take the risk of going out and putting his side of the case and hoping clearly that people will find his answers to be credible and plausible. certainly in relation to virginia roberts, the one area of courseware as we have seen already he adds up, owns up to letting the side down his decision to stay with epstein after he was released from prison. there is no mitigation of that fact and he has accepted that was a misjudgment. mitigation of that fact and he has accepted that was a misjudgmentm this trying to repair the reputation of himself but also the wider royal household? what of himself but also the wider royal household ? what is of himself but also the wider royal household? what is at stake? there is no implication insofar as the rest of the royal household. this is an affair which is centred squarely on him. i am sure that there is considerable dismay within the royal family at the way at which this has
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played out. there must be disappointment at his lack of judgment. i am sure there will be members of the family who must be aghast at the fact that he went back after epstein‘s conviction and still stayed with him. andrew has said he went back because he wanted to break off the friendship. well, it is curious really. he says it was a matter of convenience to stay with him. there are hotels in new york and yet he stayed at this man was a house for three or four nights. and thatis house for three or four nights. and that is a really rather extraordinary decision and andrew has said that he did this because he is so honourable. well, by that i suppose he means he feels a loyalty towards this man who had been a friend for a number of years. but i think most people would think that honour and loyalty to a man who has been convicted of the crimes that he was convicted of really shouldn't arise. just to remind you that you can see that interview in full.
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in a bbc newsnight special on bbc 2 and here on the news channel, tonight at 9 o'clock, and also on the iplayer. an investigation is underway into the cause of a fire at a block of student flats in bolton. witnesses say the blaze spread quickly to the upper floors, prompting concerns about the cladding on the block. two people were injured. from bolton, 0livia richwald reports. these videos posted on social media show an intense fire which spread rapidly, sending chunks of burning cladding and sparks to the ground. at first, some of the students ignored the alarms. there is a girl who came running and was banging on doors and she just started screaming saying, "there is a fire, "get out of here right now". we were running down the stairs, and it was getting higher and higher. the cladding on this building
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is not the same as that which has been blamed for exacerbating the fire at grenfell tower in 2017, which killed 72 people. the students had been reassured it was safe. but videos posted on social media has raised alarm bells. this is not a grenfell scenario, it is a different type of material. it is a material that is combustible. as we have seen from the footage, once it takes hold with a fire, it has the potential to impinge on the evacuation of the occupants. this afternoon, the prime minister visited a shelter to meet affected students, and then to the scene, where he met firefighters. the university of bolton says it is finding new accommodation for its students and offering them support. all of my belongings, they are all gone. and how are you feeling? traumatised.
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tonight, there is a warning from the fire brigade's union. they described the videos as alarming, and say urgent action is needed. the labour party has reached a "unanimous agreement" over the contents of its manifesto and will publish it next week. labour has already announced a number of policies, including a pa rt—nationalisation of bt, to make broadband free for everyone, and extra spending on infrastructure. jeremy corbyn said the document will "change the lives of the people of the country for the better". that is partly how this system works here. a huge document, perhaps 130 pages and some people have disagreements with it but they are relu cta nt to disagreements with it but they are reluctant to throw the whole thing out. they are also very keen to show some kind of unity. withjeremy corbyn emerging from this building arejust
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corbyn emerging from this building are just about an hour ago, he said the document would be very radical and would have the capacity if implemented to transform britain. we have just had a very extensive meeting of parties national executive, shadow cabinet and other people as well and we have reached unanimous agreement on the contents of our manifesto which will be published next week. that manifesto isa published next week. that manifesto is a transformative document that will change the lives of the people of this country for the better. it will be a once in a generation opportunity to vote for a more egalitarian society that cares for all and egalitarian society that cares for allandl egalitarian society that cares for alland i are egalitarian society that cares for all and i are very proud of the content of it and i can't wait to ta ke content of it and i can't wait to take those contents and its promise ofa take those contents and its promise of a better britain to everyone all around this country during our election campaign. thank you very much indeed. you agreement for the ma nifesto, much indeed. you agreement for the manifesto, that doesn't mean to say there weren't arguments here during six hours of debate amongst the
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leading figures. i will run you through a few of them. one of them was over the issue of freedom of movement. the party ‘s grass roots at its conference, they voted to extend freedom of movement for workers to and from the european union. that is something which some people felt might not play very well for vote rs people felt might not play very well for voters concerned about immigration. as far as i am aware, what they have decided to do is say that if the uk stays within the european union, then continue freedom of movement would be met with new stronger regulation of the employment market so that people would not be undercut. there is also an argument over another commitment from the party conference for net zero carbon emissions by 2030. one of the big unions, the gmb not very happy about that. didn't think it was realistic. it was a bit of a fudge of that so it does not become a fixed deadline and there was talk about eliminating the majority of
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carbon emissions by 2030, so new policy is emerging as well. help for older women worried about the increase in the state pension age and also i'm told there will be a new retail offer in politics to give people not just free new retail offer in politics to give people notjust free prescriptions in england but free dental checks as well. we will get some of those details for the manifesto launched on thursday next week. the snp leader, nicola sturgeon has called on the scottish people to deny boris johnson the ‘majority he craves‘. speaking on the campaign trail on the east coast of scotland, she said that evidence suggests that brexit will hit the north east of scotland harder than anywhere else. 0ur news correspondent, alexandra mackenzie, sent this update. nicola sturgeon has been out campaigning across the north—east of scotland. she was here in arbroath, the home of the arbroath smokie. her main message today has been about brexit. scotland voted to remain within the european union and nicola sturgeon has said today
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a vote for the snp is a vote against borisjohnson‘s hard brexit. in her words, a vote for the snp is a vote to stop scotland being taken out of the european union against its will. there are 13 tory mps across scotland and nicola sturgeon has said that the snp is the main challenger in all of those seats. she has said that this election is probably the most important in her lifetime. nicola sturgeon has also said, again, she would like an independence referendum in 2020. she said that scotland would be better if the power was within the hands of the scottish people. now, we are here in arbroath. this is where the declaration of scottish independence was signed in 1320. so possibly no coincidence that nicola sturgeon was here earlier today.
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elsewhere, the conservatives and the liberal democrats are both promising to plant millions of trees to tackle climate change if they win the election. liberal democrat leader, jo swinson, says the party would plant 60 million trees every year, across the uk by 2025, while the tories are pledging to plant 30 million. the headlines on bbc news: the duke of york says he "let the side down" by staying at the home of convicted sex offenderjeffrey epstein in new york. the education secretary orders universities to review fire safety in all their buildings, after a blaze rips through a student hall in bolton. jeremy corbyn has led a meeting of senior labour figures to decide the party‘s manifesto — promising a vision for a "better britain for everyone". competing promises on the environment —
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the conservatives pledge to plant 30 million trees a year by 2025 — but the libdems say they would plant twice as many. sport and for a full round up, from the bbc sport centre, here‘s ben croucher. it isa it is a busy weekend of international football with all of the home nations in action tonight. wells moved a step closer to qualify for next summer ‘s european championships. goals from kieffer moore and harry wilson saw them beat azerbaijan 2—0 in the penultimate euro qualifying game. if wales win at home to hungary and slovakia drop points, wells will be through automatically. scotla nd automatically. scotland can only reach the finals by the nation ‘s play—offs but they got theirfirst by the nation ‘s play—offs but they got their first away win under steve clark in cyprus. they took the lead through ryan christy‘s greats like.
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cyprus responded with a brunette goal of their own, northern ireland current playing the 11 ohms. realistically they need to win to stay in with the chance of automatic qualification. just over half an hour gone at windsor park. it is goalless although northern ireland havejust missed a penalty. england are already assured of a spot at euro 2020. they have their final qualifier against kosovo tomorrow. the liverpool duo missing over a knee injury and a viral infection. the rest of the squad trained today before heading out to pristina. it comes before heading out to pristina. it co m es two before heading out to pristina. it comes two days after gomez was booed at wembley following his clash with raheem sterling. i think now is a good moment for him just to go home for a couple of days, clear his
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head. the pleasing thing for me is that we got him back on the pitch. i think the fact that raheem put out the tweet that he did the other note was real closure on that whole incident. we get him back on the pitch tomorrow. we won the match on thursday and we can nowjust look forward. tennis now, stefanos tsitsipas described beating roger federer in the semi tennis now, stefanos tsitsipas described beating roger federer in the semi finals of the atp world tour finals as a ‘dream come true‘. the greek is 17 years federers junior but flew out of the blocks to take an early lead before and eventually the first set by six games to three. federer was flawless in beating novak djokovic in the round round stage but was well below par.. as tsitsipas eventually took the match in straight sets. much better news for the england women‘s rugby union side — who‘ve had successive wins over france in their autumn internationals.
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after an error strewn first half, lydia thompson scored a dramatic late try in the 79th minute to seal the 17—15 victory in exeter‘s sandy park. they play italy next weekend. it‘s the opening weekend of the european champions cup and ulster got off to a winning start — beating bath away — but onlyjust. this try from john cooney gave ulster a 7—6 lead at half time. and they extended that advantage through robert little midway through the second half. bath scored a try of their own moments later — but ulster hung—on for a 17—16 win. glasgow also enjoyed a narrow win in their opening match. dth van der merwe with their only try as glasgow beat sale 13—7. no problems for exeter in their opening match — they beat la rochelle 31—12 in france. england‘s henry slade scoring one of theirfour tries. wins too for munster, leinster but harlequins were hammered by claremont.
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the championship was decided a couple of weeks ago but still two more races in the f1 season to go. it‘s the brazilian grand prix this weekend and max verstappen will start on pole position with his red bull wasjust a tenth of a second faster than sebastian vettel‘s ferrari. new world champion lewis hamilton slipped into third place right at the end of the session. that‘s all the sport for now. michelle 0‘neill has been re—elected as sinn fein‘s vice—president, seeing off a challenge from the former stormont education ministerjohn 0‘dowd. the vote took place at the party‘s annual conference in londonderry. michelle 0‘neill will continue in the position which, in effect, means she is leader of sinn fein in northern ireland. she said the contest had been conducted in a "comradely way". more than 60 flood warnings are still in place across england and wales as water levels begin to subside after large parts
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of the country were water—logged. south yorkshire has been worst hit. today hundreds of volunteers started a clean—up effort in doncaster, a week on from the worst of the flooding. some people travelled miles to help out, as tom airey reports. we went down to the foundations. two weeks ago, glyn had decorated in his living room putting up a new wallpaper. a week later its volu nteers wallpaper. a week later its volunteers ripping up the floor after floodwaters rose up through it. we had a few sandbags that i bought years ago and put them in front of the door, but a stupid person drove by and knocked my wall down. everything... everything. but i couldn‘t work without these people. glyn has been uninsured after the cost of flood cover became
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unaffordable following major floods here 12 years ago. we came together to help him. what we can do for these people is what the insurers won't do. we took all these flaws up and then all this rubbish from underneath here is we need to dry it out and then what we will do when we have all these floors up, we'll deodorise it and put dehumidifiers in. today's clear up was organised by volunteers. we had a massive response. i‘m guessing over 100 people here already. we have put them all globs, shovels and away they have gone. we broke off into five teams and you will see they are out on the streets helping everybody and trying to get this place tidy. the doncaster suburb was submerged in knee deep water after the river don burst its banks. the high volume pump to are now being cleared away
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and it marks the end of the emergency phase. now the volunteers here are running in to help with the recovery process in residents here say this process will take months to complete. the efforts are involving everyone, neighbours, local businesses and even those who have cross county borders to lend a hand. just got together just to help cross county borders to lend a hand. just got togetherjust to help clear out a lot of the ruined carpets, furniture, not of the fridges and washing machines women, so if we can get them at the houses, it makes life easier. stuff from a nearby supermarket added their support while residents build bagged with women clothes are destined for the skip. and despite the rain falling once again, it didn‘t dampen efforts of the volunteers giving up their weekend to help others. the environment agency is warning of high water levels in the west of england, as water continues to flow down the river severn and avon. 0ne place particularly susceptible to flooding is tewkesbury in gloucestershire, where properties have
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already suffered damage. andrew plant is there for us and sent this update. they call this the island of tewkesbury. and you can see why. although, people here see this scene pretty much every year. this bit here is supposed to be a river. this is the river severn going past us pretty quickly here. all the way back on the horizon behind there behind those trees is the river avon. and the bit in the middle there for about ten months of the year, that is just a field. but at the moment, of course, it is basically a lake. and that is normal, that happens, as i say, almost every year. the problem is when it starts to sweep into the areas where people live. and that is beginning to happen already this year. now, the worst flooding here was back in 2007. they had really high water levels, hundreds of homes were flooded. they are talking about this year possibly being the worst since then. everybody you talk to on the streets here, the locals are keeping one eye on the water levels. people are taking precautions. we have seen people putting up floodgates today, not just on their front doors, but also their gates, too. those will be effective as long as the water doesn‘t get more than about 12 inches high.
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if it does, it starts to spill over into their homes. we have already seen a couple of cellars that are flooded with water. people getting the pumps on already to get rid of that. they have much bigger pumps on standby, standard kit, really, if you live by one of these rivers, to get rid of the water if it does start to come into their homes. now, the environment agency say it is a delayed reaction. so the rivers swell with the rains from the past few days, and eventually they meet here and they reach a peak. and they are probably expecting that to happen sometime early this evening. so everybody here in tewkesbury and the environment agency too keeping a very close eye on what happens with the waters here. there have been clashes in hong kong between police and pro—democracy protesters. these scenes took place near the polytechnic university where police fired tear gas and petrol bombs were thrown. earlier, in a highly unusual move, chinese soldiers based in the territory left their barracks and helped dismantle barricades, set up by protesters.
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counting of votes is under way in sri lanka after people cast their ballots in a presidential election with a high turnout of around 80%. the main contest is between the former defence secretary, gotabhaya rajapa ksa, and the housing minister, sajith premadasa.the election comes just seven months after a terrorist attack killed more than 250 people. the bbc‘s yogita limaye reports from colombo. buses carrying muslim minority voters, attacked by unidentified gunmen in sri lanka‘s north west. no—one was injured, but it meant the election started on a nervous note. as voting got under way, worries about continuing violence began to dissipate. people came out in large numbers. in a country that saw fear and religious divides after deadly bombings this year, it was a sign ofjust how much this election matters.
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we do not want the separation. all must be together. a bomb went off quite close to my house. it made me think, "that is my family, we might be gone," you never know what could happen. so i want my country to be stabilised again. the attacks that took place inside this church and at several other locations in sri lanka, carried out by islamist extremists, were the worst instances of violence this country has seen since its civil war ended ten years ago. they brought the issue of national security back into the spotlight. he has been pitching himself as the man who can keep the country safe — gotabhaya rajapa ksa, a controversial former defence chief, credited with ending the civil war, but accused of human rights abuses by minority groups. the other big contender is this
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man, sajith premadasa, sri lanka‘s housing minister. he is projecting himself as the more democratic leader, but many believe the government he is a part of failed to prevent the easter attacks. sri lanka‘s future is on the cusp of two divergent paths. in these boxes, the people‘s choice. yogita limaye, bbc news, colombo. now it‘s time for a look at the weather with chris fawkes. we still have over 70 flood warnings in force and we have got more patchy rain to come overnight. and into tomorrow as well. some damp weather overnight for england and wales. another sister and bringing rain for a time into scotland and northern ireland, falling as snow on high ground of the highlands. where this sky is clearfor ground of the highlands. where this sky is clear for any length of time, we could be looking at frost and
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chilly conditions on sunday. cloudy, damp weather will affect parts of northern england, north midlands and wales on sunday. southern england, brighter conditions but the best of the day‘s sunshine for scotland and northern ireland. some showers across northern areas as we go through the day. quite prolonged showers in the shetlands. monday‘s weather, high pressure looks likely to give us a fine, chilly but cold day but low pressure with rain gets pretty close to eastern england. that is your weather.


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