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tv   Newsday  BBC News  March 31, 2022 11:00pm-11:31pm BST

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welcome to newsday, reporting live from singapore, i'm karishma vaswani. the headlines. vladimir putin demands payment for gas in roubles — warning russia will stop supplying european countries it deems "unfriendly". translation: nobody sells us free of charue translation: nobody sells us free of charge anything. _ translation: nobody sells us free of charge anything, and _ translation: nobody sells us free of charge anything, and we _ translation: nobody sells us free of charge anything, and we are _ translation: nobody sells us free of charge anything, and we are not - charge anything, and we are not going to do charity either. all the existing contracts will be suspended. in ukraine, new attempts are made to deliver aid to thousands in mariupol, after weeks of russian bombardment. pakistan's prime minister refuses to resign ahead of a no confidence vote this weekend. and we report from qatar where the focus is slowly shifting to football, but the scrutiny over human rights
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is unlikely to fade. live from our studio in singapore. this is bbc news. it's newsday. hello and welcome. it's 6am in singapore, and 1am in moscow — where president putin stands accused of blackmailing european countries — over supplies of russian gas. on thursday, mr putin threatened to stop supplying gas to what he called "unfriendly" countries — if they weren't willing to deal in the russian currency. he signed a presidential decree stating that buyers of gas had to "open rouble accounts in russian banks" from friday. germany — one of the main buyers of russian gas — says it won't tolerate any attempt at "political blackmail". mr putin's ultimatum is an attempt to boost the russian currency — which has been hit by sanctions following the invasion of ukraine.
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our russia editor, steve rosenberg, reports from moscow. it is where vladimir putin likes to be. centre stage. and from the kremlin leader today, a threat to cut gas supplies to what he called unfriendly nations if they don't pay in roubles. translation: the financial system of western countries _ is being used as a weapon. western companies refused to fulfil contracts with russian banks. assets in dollars and euros are frozen so it makes no sense to use the currencies of these countries. europe relies heavily on russian gas. the demand for payment in roubles, not foreign currency, may be designed to make putin look strong at home. in europe, they will be hoping energy supplies won't be interrupted.
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the west claims mr putin is taking decisions based on inaccurate information, but one of his supporters told me this. translation: i think putin has the most accurate information | from different sources, including from the intelligence services. he is probably the most well—informed person in russia. the kremlin insists the west is misreading putin. president putin's spokesman said the pentagon and the us state department simply don't understand what goes on in the kremlin. they don't understand president putin. and that was worrying, he said, because total misunderstanding can lead to wrong decisions and bad consequences. the kremlin continues to claim that attacking ukraine steve rosenberg reporting from moscow. in the us, president biden has formally announced his plan to release one million barrels of crude oil each day for the next six months, from the us strategic petroleum reserve.
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it's the largest such release in the history of america's stockpiles. global energy prices have skyrocketed since russia's invasion of ukraine, and mr biden says his actions — along with international cooperation — will help bring those under control. i've coordinated this release with allies around the world, already, we have commitments from other countries to release tens of millions of additional barrels coming into the market. together, our combined efforts will supply well over a million barrels a day to stop nations coming together to deny putin the ability to weapon eyes his energy resources against american families and families and democracies around the world. for more on this i am joined now by an expert on global energy supplies, jonathan elkind. he's a former energy advisor to the obama administration. great to get you on the programme, jonathan. let's start with that announcement by president biden,
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sheuy? announcement by president biden, shelly? will it make much of a difference?— shelly? will it make much of a difference? , , . , . difference? this is an unprecedented sianal of difference? this is an unprecedented signal of the — difference? this is an unprecedented signal of the seriousness _ difference? this is an unprecedented signal of the seriousness of - difference? this is an unprecedented signal of the seriousness of the - difference? this is an unprecedented signal of the seriousness of the us l signal of the seriousness of the us administration to respond to threats and challenges that are facing the global oil market. so yes it is a very unusual very important step. at the same time, it is meant to provide a bridge to the period in which one can see and anticipate additional production of oil and gas in the united states and elsewhere around the globe. it's not an all seeing all doing kind of step. jonathan, given what you've just said, in terms of the actual impact in the long term, will it help to ease domestic prices, domestic energy prices in the us? what impact does it have around the world? in does it have around the world? in general, it will take some of the fur off off markets already. markets which had been very much on edge, have seen improvement in the course
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of this day where it's still thursday. i drop in the barrel, price per barrel for crude but i am more than 5% aid drop by nearly 7% in the price per barrel of west texas international and in general, the important point is that it provides some buffer time on detailed producers around the globe are able to increase their production in response to current market circumstances.— market circumstances. jonathan, lookinu market circumstances. jonathan, lookin: at market circumstances. jonathan, looking at europe _ market circumstances. jonathan, looking at europe now, _ market circumstances. jonathan, looking at europe now, russia i market circumstances. jonathan, - looking at europe now, russia saying that it wants those payments for its energy and rouble. europe saying this is black male, of course. but well some countries simply have no choice but to pay? it’s well some countries simply have no choice but to pay?— choice but to pay? it's really a strange step _ choice but to pay? it's really a strange step back _ choice but to pay? it's really a strange step back russia - choice but to pay? it's really a strange step back russia is i choice but to pay? it's really a - strange step back russia is making here. to be frank, russia's situation would be helped in every
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way other than breast—feeding to have additional supplies of foreign currency, whether that be euros or dollars. now mr putin says that payments for natural gas, not yet for oil, but for natural gas need to be through rouble denominated accounts. and there is a very specific channel that the russians have indicated can be used in order to make this, frankly, not difficult at all, but it is a strange manoeuvre anyway because it doesn't really help the russians in any serious economic way at all. it only perhaps helps to rally up the bully boys at home. perhaps helps to rally up the bully boys at home-— perhaps helps to rally up the bully bo s at home. g ., ., ., , boys at home. jonathan, 'ust looking more widely — boys at home. jonathan, 'ust looking more widely in terms _ boys at home. jonathan, 'ust looking more widely in terms of_ boys at home. jonathan, just looking more widely in terms of energy - more widely in terms of energy prices, looking at the rationing
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blackouts for instance, higher prices all around. unfortunately, this continues _ prices all around. unfortunately, this continues to _ prices all around. unfortunately, this continues to be _ prices all around. unfortunately, this continues to be a _ prices all around. unfortunately, this continues to be a time - prices all around. unfortunately, this continues to be a time whenj this continues to be a time when there is a lot less known and knowable today than one would wish. and the course of the war in ukraine and decision—making both in moscow and decision—making both in moscow and in european us and other capitals will affect very materially where we go. markets are on edge for oil, for natural gas and other fuels. there is a possibility that circumstances could get even more acute in order to have a cut off. we will see. jonathan, great to get ou on the we will see. jonathan, great to get you on the programme _ we will see. jonathan, great to get you on the programme there. - we will see. jonathan, great to get i you on the programme there. former energy adviser in the obama administration. a little later in the programme we'll take a look at how rising
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global energy prices are affecting the uk — from tomorrow millions of households will see their energy bills going up by 54%! but first... on the ground in ukraine — more than 100,000 people are still thought to be trapped, in the ukrainian city of mariupol, which has been under heavy russian bombardment for weeks. the red cross says it is preparing to enter the city on friday with two trucks of humanitarian aid. the ukrainian government is also sending dozens of buses, in a new attempt to bring people out. russia has declared a one—day ceasefire , but there is widespread scepticism , about russian intentions. nato , the western defence alliance , says that russian units are now being redeployed, to fight in the east — in donetsk and luhansk in the donbas region. our correspondent wyre davies is in the town of zaporezha, north—west of mariupol ,
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and he sent this report. the latest footage from mariupol shows a city in ruins. the municipal theatre where ukraine says 300 people were killed in a russian airstrike among the buildings barely left intact. it's against this backdrop that aid agencies and the ukrainian government say there's a humanitarian crisis, tens of thousands of desperate people trapped with little food or water. translation: we are dog poor. standing by the fire, homeless. how long is it going to take? we have nowhere to take a shower. we're drinking water from god knows where. after some success delivering aid to stricken cities elsewhere in this conflict, the red cross is now trying to coordinate an urgent mission to mariupol, but with the port city surrounded by russian troops, it won't be easy. we're waiting basically for the green light from the parties to go in, to be able, one, of course, to facilitate safe passage for the civilians in the convoy and two,
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also bring humanitarian aid in. so, here we have two trucks, which are loaded with very much needed supplies, medicine, food, water. in recent days, hundreds of people have been able to flee mariupol, often in bomb damaged cars, through mined roads and russian checkpoints. but with the ukrainian government saying it was sending more than a0 buses to the city, this would be the first mass evacuation of mariupol. the mission to bring relief to the besieged city is by no means guaranteed to happen. previous attempts have failed, and mariupol, a city damaged more than any other in this war, is still a dangerous place. wyre davies, bbc news, zaporizhzhia. a family who escaped the besieged city of mariupol have told the bbc that they were among hundreds of people asked to leave a cinema where they were sheltering, to give children there a chance of surviving, when food and water ran low. our correspondent lucy williamson
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met the family at a field hospital near lviv — i should warn you, some of the images in her report are distressing. when alexander escaped from mariupol two weeks ago, he left his mind behind, still trapped in the cinema where he sheltered with his parents and hundreds of others, still in the apartment building hit by hundreds of rockets. in the rubble and dead bodies they ran through without even putting on their shoes. his parents brought him, catatonic, to this israeli field hospital near lviv to unravel his trauma. translation: it was constant bombing. i planes went by every ten minutes and dropped bombs on mariupol. people were falling and dying in front of my eyes. we buried people in gardens. there are air strikes in lviv too. we need to go down to the shelter...
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what must this be like after that? trapped in the cinema by russian attacks, they survived on scraps of food from locals or ukrainian soldiers, boiling snow to drink. when supplies ran critically low, she says everyone without young children was asked to leave to save resources and give the children a chance. there was no way out. you could stay and die or you could go and die. we could not even count minutes between the bombs. some of their pro—russian neighbours, she says, believed it was ukrainian forces pounding their city to dust. mariupol�*s mayor says 5000 people have been killed and 90% of the buildings damaged. more than one third of the residents are still living there.
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humanitarian corridors get people out of mariupol, but the destruction and the killing there is notjust left behind. the damage is carried with its people out of the city. like invisible shrapnel lodged in their minds. aleksander is leaving hospital today. his father, a musician, is giving staff a farewell concert, giving thanks for the two things he saved from the horrors of mariupol, his saxophone and his son. you're watching newsday on the bbc. still to come on the programme... on the day of the draw for the qatar world cup — tournament organisers defend their human rights record and treatment of migrant workers despite huge criticism from amnesty international.
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the accident that happened here was of the sort that can, at worst, produce a meltdown. in this case, the precautions worked, but they didn't work quite well enough to prevent some old fears about the safety features of these stations from resurfacing. the republic of ireland has become the first country in the world to ban smoking in the workplace. from today, anyone lighting up in offices, businesses, pubs and restaurants will face a heavy fine. the president was on his way out of the washington hilton hotel, where he had been addressing a trade union conference. the small crowd outside included his assailant. it has become a symbol of paris. 100 years ago, many parisians wished it had never been built. _ the eiffel tower's birthday- is being marked by a re—enactment of the first ascent by gustav
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eiffet — this is newsday on the bbc. i'm karishma vaswani in singapore. our top story... president putin has threatened to suspend contracts for russian natural gas supplies from friday, if payment is not made in roubles. germany, france and austria have described the demand as blackmail. as fuel prices rise all over the world — millions of households in england, wales and scotland will see their energy bills go up substantially from friday. the cap on what suppliers can charge is being raised, and so bills for electricity and gas will go up by 5a%, or around £700 per year — that's more than 900 us dollars. our business editor simonjack has more. give me that ball, you little rascal. good girl. a pinch and a punch for the first
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of the month, an old saying that aptly describes the impact of higher energy bills that will hit millions of households like this from tomorrow. construction manager dan cook has had to take on an extra evening job to make ends meet. we are living on a knife edge, we really are. it is very concerning. not only do i work full time from eight until six, but then having to go out three nights a week and try and bring in an extra income, it puts immense pressure on our marriage, and us as a family as well. a new energy price cap comes in tomorrow which will see the average household bill rise by nearly £700, to nearly £2000 per year, and it is expected to rise further in october, as the cost of gas and the electricity generated with gas has set records over the past three months. for nearly 50 years, most of the uk's gas has come from here, the north sea, but the uk is not insulated from the forces buffeting international energy markets. out there in the north sea,
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dozens of platforms are producing oil and gas, and the gas comes in here in three pipelines. but as investment and production has dwindled, that is less than 40% of our gas. also coming right under my feet and popping out over there are pipelines from norway, which provide 40% of the uk's gas. we also get about 20% in liquefied form, and the price for all of that is set internationally. and that is where we have seen what can only be described as a perfect storm. wholesale gas prices are currently six times higher than they were last year and have recently hit peaks never seen before. why? well, as the world economy awoke from a covid induced coma, demand for energy surged. low levels of storage in europe and a lack of wind meant less renewable energy, so more reliance on gas. and then there's russia. the uk gets tiny amounts from there but europe relies on it for 40% of its gas, and fears that supply would be cut off or boycotted have kept prices high. the thing about energy costs is that they work their way into everything else.
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businesses, for example, who are not protected by a price cap, see their costs soar and they have to put their prices up. you add to inflationary pressures and you end up with where we are now, the biggest hit to living standards since the 1970s. some help is coming. 80% of households will get a £150 council tax rebate this month and everyone will get £200 knocked off their bill in october, but that has to be repaid and the chancellor is under pressure to do much more. short—term, we need more gas. long—term, we need less. in the coming days, the government will announce how it intends to use nuclear, renewables and more domestic uk oil and gas to secure an energy supply at a price households can afford. simon jack, bbc news. in other news for you today — the pakistan prime minister imran khan has refused to resign ahead of a no confidence vote on sunday. he lost his majority in parliament after one of his allies — the mom party — withdrew their support on wednesday.
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this leaves his authority in real trouble. the no cofidence vote requires a simple majority and — on paper at least — the opposition have 11 more votes than the government. our pakistan correspondent secunder kermani has more. addressing the nation in a live televised speech, imran khan described this as a defining moment in pakistan's history. a vote of no confidence is expected to be held on sunday, following the defection of a number of imran khan's coalition partners, it seems that the opposition parties here in pakistan have enough support to unseat him. now, there has been a growing public resentment against the rising cost of everyday life in pakistan, but on the other hand, imran khan support explained to the fact that under his tenure, the social welfare system here has been significantly expanded what really appears to be driving this political drama is a rift between imran khan's government
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and pakistan's powerful military, which is believed, back in 2018, helped bring him into power, though both sides deny that. now, certainly the army appears to be content to see the opposition remove imran khan from office. he, though, has said he's not going to be resigning resigning ahead of this vote, in fact, he has said that he is the victim of a conspiracy being directed by the united states, angry at his foreign policy decisions, such as recently visiting moscow. now, his political opponents have said that that's ridiculous, frankly. many analysts say that imran khan is exaggerating the contents of a fairly routine diplomatic cable sent by pakistan's ambassador in washington, the state department has said there is no truth to the allegation. what imran khan appears to be doing is trying to build a narrative around his likely removal from office that his supporters can rally around. he still does have a very sizeable following and it would certainly be a formidable opponent for a new government that might emerge next week.
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pakistan's prime minister imran khan is facing arguably the biggest let's take a look at some other stories in the headlines. russia's foreign minister sergei lavrov has arrived in india, where he is due to meet indian foreign minister sjaishankar. indian and russian officials are expected to discuss sale of russian crude oil to india. the indian government is under pressure from other members of the quad grouping, which includes the united states, australia and japan, to take a stronger stand against russia and its invasion of ukraine. the united nations says international donors have pledged 2.4 billion dollars for afghanistan — just over half the amount it had requested. the pledge came after the un secretary general, antonio guterres, said afghans were selling their children — and even their own organs — to ward off hunger. he said ninety five per cent of the population did not he said 95% of the population did not have enough to eat.
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riot police have been deployed near the sri lankan president's house in the capital, colombo, after a large protest against deepening economic crises in the country. angry protesters have pulled down police barriers. this comes on a day the government began imposing an unprecedented 13—hour country—wide power cuts. the crisis has been caused by depleted foreign exchange reserves. the state of qatar says it has nothing to apologise for — in hosting the men's football world cup. the draw for november's tournament takes place on friday. but the country has been criticised for its human rights record — attitudes towards minorities — as well as workers' conditions. our sports editor dan roan reports from qatar. named after the number of shipping containers used in its construction, stadium 974 is the world's first transportable football arena, able to be dismantled and then reused somewhere else in the future.
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its design meant fewer building materials were used, but it's the controversy over the human cost of all the development here in qatar in recent years that continues to hang over this tournament. despite reforms, concerns persist over the treatment of labourers, especially on wider infrastructure projects. a football tournament in doha this week involving migrant workers, one telling me more still needs to be done. our problem is our co—workers not working on the stadium. that's difficult, this situation. what's the conditions for them like, then? poor conditions, in one room, 12 people. 12, in one room? yes. england go into the draw among the favourites, having vowed to shine a light on discrimination in qatar, where homosexuality is also illegal. netherlands manager, louis van gaal, meanwhile recently described the choice of host as ridiculous. it's very important to perform the relevant research and to understand the issues,
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you know, as you speak. are you saying some haven't, then? i'm saying some people have made statements that, in my opinion, were ill—informed. we don't apologise for hosting the tournament. we aim for sustainable development on labour reforms, and other aspects as well that the world cup will allow to accelerate and develop. and there is always more work to be done. we've heard gareth southgate refer to the fact that he's concerned that some fans won't feel comfortable coming here. we have always said everybody's welcome, and we will ensure it is a welcoming environment, everybody will come, everybody will feel safe. with teams set to learn their fate, the focus is now likely to shift towards the football. the scrutiny off the field, however, is unlikely to fade. dan roan, bbc news, doha. and just before we go — a reminder — if you want to keep up with the latest on the war in ukraine, just go to our website —
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you'll find a live page which is being updated constantly with the latest developments. that's all at — or you can download the bbc app. that's all for now — stay with bbc world news. hello. spring weather can often be erratic, and we've certainly seen that play out during the past few days. march, for a good part of the time, was dry and sunny. in fact, scotland and northern ireland, according to the met office, provisionally had the sunniest march on record. it was only on sunday we saw conditions like this in aberdeenshire. the warmest parts of the country 19 degrees. fast forward to thursday afternoon, and temperatures at times only two celsius as the snow showers came down fairly heavy. and they are continuing as we go into friday as well. the run of north—northeasterly winds all they way from the arctic continue. strongest towards the southeast as we start friday, linked into this area of low pressure developing across europe. and it's here we could see a further covering of snow. high pressure trying to build in, and with showers fading for most into the morning, we will see a widespread frost, and across eastern areas, icy conditions to begin the day.
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for most of you, actually a sunny start to friday. the sleet and snow showers across eastern areas continue, particularly towards that southeast corner, and they will develop a bit more widely as we go through the day. but turning more to rain and sleet rather than pure snow. also at the same time, clouding over through the morning for the highlands and islands, that cloud will bring rain and hill snow across parts of scotland and eventually into northern ireland later in the day. temperatures still on the cold side, 6—10 degrees, feeling coldest towards the southeast corner, especially with the strongest of the winds. but improving conditions for the afternoon compared with the morning, more in the way of dry weather. now, as we go into the night, friday night into saturday, we will see outbreaks of rain and hill snow spread its way southwards into wales. that should keep the temperatures just above freezing away from the hills and mountains, but elsewhere, another very cold night with a widespread frost, and the risk of ice to start the weekend. but for many, actually quite a bright day. there will be a few showers close to the east, the main showers will be across wales,
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southwest england, a little bit wintry over the hills. cloud will bubble up through the day to produce occasional slow—moving showers, but the vast majority will spend either the whole or the bulk of the day drive. temperature up a little bit and given the lighter winds and that strong sunshine overhead, it shouldn't feel too bad out there, especially compared with thursday. into sunday, another widespread frost to begin with, isolated showers developing through the day as cloud builds up, but another batch of thicker cloud, outbreaks of rain, stronger winds pushing towards the northwest of scotland, and they will bring slightly milder weather as we go into next week. that's how it's looking. i will see you again soon.
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this is bbc news. the headlines: president putin has threatened to halt contracts for russian natural gas supplies from friday if payment is not made in roubles. germany, france and austria have described the demand as blackmail. president biden has announced the release of a record amount of oil from the us strategic reserve to help bring down the price of crude, which has been soaring since the russian invasion of ukraine. the western half of the chinese city of shanghai has gone into lockdown, the second phase of a plan to curb the spread of covid. the eastern half of the city has been locked down since monday. international donors have pledged $2.1; billion for afghanistan.
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this is just over half the sum requested by the un, which says 95%


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