tv BBC News at Ten BBC News August 3, 2021 10:00pm-10:31pm BST
tonight at ten... we talk to the sprinter from belarus who refuses to return home from the olympic games. krystina timanovskaya tells the bbc that she asked poland for protection because of serious concerns for her safety. translation: i can't go back to belarus now, of course. it is definitely not safe for me. i have no idea when i can go back. it may be five, or ten years. during the day, the belarus opposition leader held talks in downing street, urging the uk to put pressure on the ruling regime. we are fighting for rule of law in our country, for democratic changes and mrjohnson gave me to understand that they will be with us. we'll be live in belarus to ask how the widely—criticised president lukashenko
is likely to respond. also tonight... a tanker has been hijacked by armed men in the gulf of oman and ordered to sail to iran. men in the gulf of oman the number of drug—related deaths in england and wales is at the highest level since records began. at the olympics, a sensational silver for team gb�*s keely hodgkinson, who's just 19, in the women's 800 metres. needs now this great dismount. a great comeback by simone biles, after struggling with mental health issues, taking a bronze in the beam final. and we talk to britain's youngest—ever summer olympian, on the eve of her quest for gold. and coming up in the sport, on the bbc news channel... it's terrific tuesday for team gb in tokyo as the sailors bring home the golds to cap britain's best day at this olympic games.
good evening. krystina timanovskaya, the sprinter from belarus, has told the bbc that her country is not safe and she might not be able to go home for many years. she has been granted a humanitarian visa by poland after officials from belarus tried to send her home early from the olympics against her will. the belarus opposition leader svetla na tikhanovskaya was in london today for talks with borisjohnson. the prime minister said the uk wanted to be clear in its support for the opponents of president alexander lukashenko whose regime has drawn worldwide criticism for its human rights abuses. live to minsk the capital of belarus and our correspondent sarah rainsford.
yes, there has been a whole series of events that have refocused attention on the situation here in belarus, almost exactly one year from those highly contested presidential elections and the mass street protests that followed. there has been a massive crackdown by the authorities in belarus, human rights groups talk of hundreds of political prisoners now in this country, also all the key opposition figures are either abroad, forced into exile or in prison here in the country itself and now even olympic athletes are being swept up in it all. she's a young athlete thrust into a political row she never sought. when sprinter krystina timanovskaya publicly criticised her coaches at the olympics, they tried to force her back to belarus. she refused. speaking to the bbc from tokyo, she said she was now scared for herself and for her family. translation: i can't go back to belarus now, of course. -
it's definitely not safe for me. i have no idea when i can go back. it may be five or ten years. and today came another reminder of the danger for dissidents. in kyiv, a young belarusian activist was found hanging in a park, but his friends don't believe it was suicide. vitaly shishov fled to ukraine last year to avoid arrest. he'd been helping a flood of other opposition supporters who followed. the opposition leader, sviatlana tsikhanouskaya, is in forced exile herself. she's been in london, part of a tour seeking international support. she wants tougher measures, more sanctions against alexander lu kashenko, the man she tried to topple as president. this is our pain, belarusian pain. we think that much more can be done, much more pressure, much more assistance,
braver decisions, stronger actions. since the disputed elections, the mood in minsk has changed dramatically. alexander lukashenko now firmly back in control. a year ago, this entire square and all the streets around it were crammed full of protesters. it was opposition to president alexander lukashenko on a scale like he'd never seen before. but now there's no public sign at all of that challenge because so many people have been arrested since then that the others have been scared into silence. maria was one of the faces of the protests. touring the country, rallying mass crowds. tomorrow, she goes on trial accused of trying to overthrow the authorities. i met maria's father outside her old flat. alexander hasn't been allowed to see her since her arrest last september, but maria writes from her cell every
day to reassure him. translation: i know my daughter's not guilty, and she's so brave that i i can't be anything but positive. she told me, "whatever sentence i get, i'm ready for that." - she writes to me all the time, that we'll meet against soon, | that everything will be ok. but belarus today feels anything but ok. even our meeting is being monitored from the shadows. and maria is facing up to 12 years in prison in that trial that begins tomorrow. the trial itself will be held behind closed doors and i think thatis held behind closed doors and i think that is just one sign of how concerned the authorities are here, that anything could spark fresh protests had fresh unrest and they are desperate for that not to happen. are desperate for that not to ha en. ., are desperate for that not to hauen_ ., ., ~ are desperate for that not to hauen. ., ., ~' ., happen. sarah, thank you for the latest there _
happen. sarah, thank you for the latest there in _ happen. sarah, thank you for the latest there in belarus. - within the past hour, there have been reports of a tanker being hijacked by armed men in the gulf of oman and ordered to sail to iran. the foreign office says it's urgently investigating. our security correspondent frank gardner is here. frank, what have you managed to learn about what is going on? the attack took _ learn about what is going on? tue: attack took place learn about what is going on? tte: attack took place on learn about what is going on? tt2 attack took place on the very congested waterway, right on the approach to the strait of hormuz from which around a fifth of the world's maritime supplies go through. up to nine heavily armed men are reported to have boarded the vessel and ordered it to sail to iran. it is a bit of a mystery, even though that has been confirmed by lloyd's list maritime intelligence, the tracking agency and the tracking data is showing that it is moving very slowly, almost motionless, between iran and oman and the uae. oman has been quick to deny responsibility, saying that this is
just mischiefmaking and being used as a pretext to carry out some hostile action, but it comes just five days after a fatal drone attack on another tanker off the coast of oman, the mercer street which killed a british security guard and a romanian sailor. britain, the us and israel have all blamed iran for that and it has been denied. quite a lot of tension in the region and a suspicion that as a new president takes office, there are hardliners trying to ratchet up the tension in the gulf. . ~ trying to ratchet up the tension in the gulf. ., ~ ., ~ , ., ., ~ the gulf. frank, thank you. frank gardner, the gulf. frank, thank you. frank gardner. or— the gulf. frank, thank you. frank gardner, or security _ the gulf. frank, thank you. frank gardner, or security correspond l the gulf. frank, thank you. frank i gardner, or security correspond with the latest. it's been another outstanding day for team gb at the olympic games injapan. sailing brought in two gold medals and a silver the cyclists settled for silver in both the women's team pursuit and the men's team sprint but that outcome means that jason kenny has now matched the record of the great sir bradley wiggins as the most decorated british olympian of all time. there were other medal—winning performances during the day as our correspondent
natalie pirks reports from tokyo. nautical perfection, sailing dominance. britain were riding the crest of a wave. dylan fletcher and stuart bithell were in a great place in the men's 49er and just needed to beat the germans in their final race. they literally put it all on the line. right on the line, great britain. with it, the gold medal in tokyo 2020. but not to be outdone, giles scott was doing in the finn class where britain is superb. they have won gold at the last five games. but with just seconds remaining, scott was cutting it fine. and giles scott holds on to the gold medal, in the dying moments of that race. talk about skin of your teeth! a quick plunge to celebrate, as back home there was delight. cheering. she never ever watches his racing, and so for her to put herself through that is awesome. so we can onlyjust say "thank you, giles" for delivering in the end.
although as he said to us, at least she didn't have a heart attack. and silver in the nacra i7 topped off a wonderful day for britain's sailors. three britons in this final. it had been 41 years since that last happened, but here werejemma reekie, alex bell and keely hodgkinson right in the mix. and it's great britain, second and third, hodgkinson now striding towards silver, athing mu away and clear to the gold medal. she's going to take it, and hodgkinson — reekie's under pressure for the bronze. hodgkinson, the silver. atjusti9, hodgkinson�*s potent kick finish had propelled her on to the podium. well, that's britain off the mark with their first medal in the athletics stadium, and that silver is britain's first medal in this event since 200a. and once the flag was round her shoulders, thoughts turned to those watching back home. they've put so much belief in me, because i did it. what does this silver medal mean to you, keely?
this, because i don't cry. my friends will be like "what's she crying for?" dame kelly holmes was the last briton to know success in this race. her national record had stood for 26 years. till now. i think there'll be young girls looking up at them now, and you know, in years to come we'll see their legacy, but i'm just pleased to have played a part in the fact that i hope that i've inspired these three in particular, but anyone else, to do what i feel they can do, and you know, records are there to be broken. from one track to another. britain had won gold in the men's team sprint at the last three games, but forjason kenny, jack carlin and ryan owens, today it wasn't meant to be. gold for the netherlands. that silver though, kenny's eighth olympic medal still saw him enter the record books, tied with sir bradley wiggins as britain's most decorated olympian. not to be outdone, wife laura took silver behind a dominant germany in the team pursuit,
alongside katie archibald, neah evans and josie knight, her fifth olympic honour. that family trophy cabinet must be groaning under the weight of those medals — and there could be yet be more. natalie pirks, bbc news, tokyo. simone biles, the most decorated us gymnast of all time, says she is proud of herself after winning bronze in the beam final. it's seen as a hugely impressive comeback for the 2a year—old, who's not taken part in many events during the tokyo games, because she was dealing with mental health issues. our sports editor dan roan reports from tokyo. here she is, simone biles. it was the welcome back tokyo had been waiting for. simone biles, returning to competition earlier, a week after the world's greatest gymnast stunned the sport by pulling out of the team finals to focus on her mental health. she has broken boundaries in every level. having sat out four other events, her olympics looked to be over, but today, on the balance beam,
a final chance to remind these games what they have been missing. beautiful, triple spin. she moves with such speed. biles said she had suffered from what gymnasts called the twisties, a mental block in which they lose their sense of orientation, but having amended her routine, the us superstar held her nerve. needs now this great dismount. so here, flip to one, flip to two, double pike. and so simone biles is back. her series of withdrawals, and now subsequent return here this evening, is arguably the story of these games. one that has been a landmark moment when it comes to raising awareness of the pressures that athletes are under, even the greatest athletes, regardless of whether or not she wins a medal tonight. the smile had said it all. the sense of relief obvious. it had been enough to put her into silver position. going for gold. chinese sensation 16—year—old guan chenchen top scored,
pushing biles back into bronze. but this felt like a victory, after one of the toughest weeks of her career. i was so nervous, but itjust means the world i can come out here and compete one more time before this games is overs. on the other ones, i physically couldn't twist in the air. i would keep crashing. i wasn't cleared safely to do those things, mind's not there. as well as praise, biles had been faced some criticism as well as praise, biles had faced some criticism for deciding not to compete, after losing her bearings during this vault last week. but one of her former team—mates says her impact goes well beyond her seventh olympic medal. she is someone that has transcended gymnastics, made it mainstream. she has allowed people to engage and follow it, and i think her legacy will live beyond sports with what she has done this weekend. so, i mean it has made a bigger impact than if she had won all five medals. these games, perhaps her last, did not turn out as biles had expected, but her seventh olympic medal may prove to be the one
she is most proud of of. dan roan, bbc news, tokyo. the athlete karsten warholm of norway had has a stunning day — he won gold in the 400 metre hurdles and in the process destroyed his previous world record. he said after the race that it hadn't sunk in yet but he still felt ecstatic. with more on that and some of the day's other achievements — here's our correspondent andy swiss. commentator: i cannot believe what we've just seen. _ not so much rewriting the record books as ripping them to pieces. the olympics have seen some remarkable feats over the years, but nothing like karsten warholm's. the norwegian was favourite to win the 400 metres hurdles, but something extraordinary was happening. world records are supposed to get beaten by fractions. this was on a different planet. commentator: warholm is going to go away to take the win! _ it's gold for norway. 45.94!
a shirt—shredding, jaw—dropping moment. he had smashed his old record by the best part of a second. if the world was in wonder, well, so was he. i can't believe the time. a lot of times i've been asked about the perfect race, i said it didn't exist. but this is the closest thing i've ever come. commentators, meanwhile, were left reaching for the superlatives. that performance by karsten warholm is possibly the best i've ever seen. for many, usain bolt�*s blistering 100 metres record of 9.58 had been the pinnacle of athletics, but now that famous landmark has a rival. we always felt there was a potential opportunity for usain to go a bit quicker. this world record ijust think has been taken so far out of the norm, the normal realms, and that is why i think it's so incredible.
but he was not the only history maker, as the women's 100 metres champion elaine thompson—herah took the 200 metres. commentator: she is | beginning to come away! she is going to make it a double. it is the second games in a row she has won both sprints. the jamaican becoming the first woman to clinch the so—called double double. the first woman to clinch and there was more success for britain. in the boxing, pat mccormack had to settle for silver after losing his welterweight final. while in the diving there was a bronze forjack laugher. laugher later revealed he had considered retiring earlier this year because of mental health issues. this, he said, was redemption. andy swiss, bbc news. let's take a look at the medal table after 11 days of competiton. after all those medals today, in the sailing, cycling, boxing, diving and on the track, team gb are currently in sixth place with a total of 43 medals. in scotland, the first minister nicola sturgeon has announced that most covid restrictions will be lifted next monday.
the picture across the uk, according to the latest official figures, shows there were 21,691 new cases of coronavirus in the latest 24—hour period. that's the fifth day in a row the numbers have fallen. hospitalisations have also decreased. does this mean the trend is now firmly downwards and that more optimism is justified? our health editor hugh pym has been taking a look at the figures and what they mean. a warning his report does contain some flashing images. dance music remember this? nightclubs opening up in england onjuly i9th, along with the ending of remaining legal restrictions. scientists had predicted this would fuel the spread of the virus with more cases, but it hasn't happened. in fact, they've gone the other way. now one of the experts who expected case increases says it's come as a surprise. all the indications now are that there was a real reduction
in cases, particularly in adults between 20—40 years old. covid's had a habit of surprising us and this is a good surprise, for a change. i'd like to understand it better, that's for sure. and as people enjoyed themselves in musselburgh near edinburgh today, the scottish government said almost all restrictions would end next monday with nightclubs reopening and social distancing dropped in most settings, though face coverings in enclosed spaces will remain. daily reported cases did go above 50,000 in mid july, though not as high as the january peak, and have fallen back to 26,000 on the seven day rolling average. the decline in cases actually started soon after the opening up in england onjuly i9th. health officials acknowledge gatherings of people to watch the euros football caused some spikes in infections, which might have pushed up case rates more than expected before july 19th.
since then, it seems, even with new freedoms people have remained cautious, for example with mask wearing, and that could have been a factor in curbing the spread of the virus. we have perhaps assumed that people would go slightly more back to normal than they actually have. i think probably what's happening is a lot of people are being a little more cautious in terms of returning to normal, which is why what we're seeing is slightly on the lower end of some of the modelling forecasts. so, what does all this mean for the nhs? there were fears that hospitals would come under intensifying pressure this month, as infections continued rising. here's what has been happening with daily covid hospital admissions — they started rising sharply in late june, and right throuthuly, though they do appear recently to have levelled off a bit, and are not accelerating at the rate which some experts had predicted. the vaccination roll out has played a major part. nearly 89% of adults have now had a first dose
and 73% have had both jabs. there was a reminder of the tragic covid toll today, with more than 100 deaths reported, reflecting cases first identified a few weeks ago. but there's a growing consensus that there won't be another surge as a result of the result of the opening up in england last month. hugh pym, bbc news. the united nations says at least 40 afghan civilians have been killed in intense fighting in the past 24 hours as the taliban and government forces battle for control of helmand's provincial capital. it said thousands of people in lashkar gah have been displaced. the un also highlighted concerns about peoples' homes being occupied by fighters. let's talk to our chief international correspondent lyse doucet who is in kabul tonight. what is your reading of the situation? ﬁgs what is your reading of the situation?— what is your reading of the situation? �* , , ., ., , ., situation? as night began a senior military source —
situation? as night began a senior military source said _ situation? as night began a senior military source said the _ situation? as night began a senior military source said the skies - situation? as night began a senior military source said the skies are l military source said the skies are clear tonight, military source said the skies are cleartonight, in military source said the skies are clear tonight, in other words now is the time to unleash an operation, to clear the taliban from the provincial capital lashkar gah, in a campaign led by a ferocious bombing by afghan forces, still backed up by us air power as well as drones, and thatis us air power as well as drones, and that is why the commanding officer in helmand, the british educated general, urged residents to leave the city. these are terrifying times for the residents of lashkar gah and in fact all of helmand province, people have been hiding in their homes. nowhere to hide, nowhere to escape the gunfire. these are deeply uncertain time right across afghanistan including here in kabul where a powerful car bomb exploded outside the home of the defence minister, right next to the highly protected enclave which houses most of the embassies and government officials. the attackers moved in,
provoking a gun battle lasting more than three hours. so, tonight, kabul was shattered by the sounds of suicide vests exploding, small arms gunfire, and it was competing with another event that afghans had been taken to their rooftops to shout out in support of the afghan government forces. every day, the war changes shape and gets worse. lyse doucet, many thanks. the number of drug—related deaths in england and wales has reached the highest level since records began — nearly 30 years ago. there were over 4,500 deaths linked to drug abuse registered in 2020 — according to the office for national statistics. but delays in registration caused by the pandemic mean that around half the deaths happened in 2019. record figures for scotland were published last week. the latest figures for england
and wales represent a 3.8% increase on the previous year. the trade in illegal drugs has increasingly been blamed for rising levels of violence in towns and cities across britain. in the seaside community of rhyl in north wales, research by bbc news shows that violent crime increased for four years before the pandemic, with drug gangs playing a significant part, as our social affairs correspondent michael buchanan reports. they caught three people injecting there the other day. siren weekend patrol in the most violent neighbourhood in wales. he said he was going to punch me! i did not step forward! no, we're not getting anywhere now! as covid restrictions ease, there's fear here, as elsewhere, that serious crime will increase. violent crime for a long time in rhyl was linked to the night—time economy. assaults and beatings and stabbings, a consequence of drinking too much,
often at the weekend. but in recent years, the nature of violence here has changed dramatically. the town is plagued by so—called county lines, gangs from big cities importing violence as they battle for control of the drugs market. when we get rid of one county line, then another will pop up. this car chase ended with feuding criminals murdering a local man. the drugs trade killing both users and dealers. these are vulnerable people. they exploit them. they look to get them hooked on drugs, and when they can't pay for them, they look to encourage them to commit violence themselves or to deal on their behalf. i hear it all the time around rhyl. drug—selling, sometimes stabbings. in rhyl�*s poorest neighbourhood, this club offers an alternative. self—defence, discipline and, perhaps most importantly, resilience. we try to get the youngsters
off the streets. _ we stop them having peer pressure. we give them confidence - so they can say "no" to drugs and things like that. and we try and teach them to be respectful and disciplined. - there's broad agreement that offering these youngsters a future, reducing the harm from drugs and violence, begins by instilling ambition. one of the key ways out of deprivation, for me, is education, to start with people at their youngest. so, we have invested nearly 50 million in the school facilities in rhyl in order that those young people feel that we've got pride and provide the opportunity for them to reach their potential. the police accept they can't arrest their way out of rhyl�*s problems. only investment in the root causes of drug addiction and crime, they say, will make a long—term difference. michael buchanan, bbc news, rhyl.
before we go some more olympic news because tomorrow morning team gb�*s youngest—ever summer olympian will be competing. skateboarder sky brown turned 13 just last month and natalie pirks has been to meet her. we first met a long time ago and we talked about this dream, and now you're here. what does it feel like? it's insane. it's unbelievable. it's so cool to be here. at the village, there is all different kinds of people, like, super tall people and super strong people. was there a moment where you thought, the olympics isn't going to happen? i thought maybe it wouldn't happen and i was a little bummed, but people's lives are more important, so i thought about that and got through it. you and i last spoke after a really serious accident that you had had. yeah, that was definitely a heavy time for my parents, my family.
it was bad, but i really think the accident made me want to go harder and, you know, yeah, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. how important is it for you to have dad here with you? it's really nice, you know? i'm still pretty young, and it's nice to have someone here to, like, look after me, and it would be hard without my dad. you are going to make history for britain. has that sunk in? what does that mean to you? it was my dream to be one of the youngest in there, and show girls that it doesn't matter how old or young you are, you can do anything, you know? we've seen you in some big events in the last year, since we last saw you. how much confidence has that given you? i'm feeling good, and i can't wait. i'm going to really try to get on the podium, get a medal, get a gold, hopefully! but, no matter what happens, i just want to inspire girls around the world,