tv Newsday BBC News April 1, 2022 12:00am-12:31am BST
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 charge anything, - and we are not going to do charity either. all the existing contracts will be suspended. president biden tries to combat rising fuel prices at the pump — freeing up millions of gallons of crude oil. in ukraine — new attempts are made to deliver aid to thousands in mariupol — after weeks of russian bombardment. in other news — 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 there's still scrutiny over human rights. live from our studio in singapore. this is bbc news. it's newsday. hello and welcome. it's 7am in singapore, and 2am 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. 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. 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 was the right decision. many russians agree.
but not everyone. lyudmila's son, sergei, is a police officer. theirfamily is originally from ukraine. a few days ago, sergei was arrested and charged under a new law, with spreading fake news about the russian army. he is suspected of criticising the russian offensive on the telephone. translation: this| is a very heavy blow for me, for the family, the little children. suddenly, their dad just disappeared. he never went to protests. he has no social media. hejust spoke to friends on the phone. i can't rule out that he said something like, "war is bad, people are dying, homes are being destroyed and that's bad". ludmila still can't believe this is happening to herfamily. and she is still struggling to understand why. steve rosenberg, bbc news, 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. 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. earlier, i spoke tojonathan elkind he's a former energy adviser to the obama administration. i started by asking him whether president biden�*s
announcement will make much of a difference. this is an unprecedented 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 general, it will take some of the fur off in general, it will take some of the froth off off markets already. markets which had been very much on edge, have seen improvement in the course of this day where it's still thursday. a drop in the barrel, price per barrel for crude by 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. jonathan, looking at europe now, russia saying that it wants those payments for its energy and rouble. for its energy in rouble. europe saying this is blackmail, of course. but will some countries simply have no choice but to pay? it's really a strange step that
russia is making here. to be frank, russia's situation would be helped in every way 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. jonathan, just looking more widely in terms of energy prices, looking
at the rationing blackouts for instance, higher prices all around. unfortunately, 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 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 in orderfor a cut off, then we will see step but that's the situation with energy prices. 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 zaporizhzhia in the north—west of mariupol, 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, 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. as the situation in ukraine continues to deteriorate, the humanitarian crisis in afghanistan is also growing. the un had asked for four point four billion dollars in international aid for afghanistan, warning that millions on afghans were on the verge of starvation. the un secretary general, antonio guterres, said afghans were selling their children — and even their own organs — to ward off hunger. but at an international donors conference on thursday,
only 2.4 billion — just over half of that — was pledged. for more on, this i am joined now by achim steiner, administor with the un development programme. great to have you on the programme. let me start byjust asking you, only half, just over half of what the un and asked for in a what are your thoughts about this? i asked for in a what are your thoughts about this? i think it is a sin thoughts about this? i think it is a sign of — thoughts about this? i think it is a sign of the _ thoughts about this? i think it is a sign of the times - thoughts about this? i think it is a sign of the times we - thoughts about this? i think it is a sign of the times we live | is a sign of the times we live in, particularly in crisis such as afghanistan, the ukraine, yemen, to respond and for the united nations to mobilise the resources, needed alongside ngos chemically facing enormous challenges right now, you mentioned the appeal for afghanistan less than half undead. a few days ago, the appealfor young men, another appeal for young men, another appealfor young men, another terrible work, and in some days —— some ways the most protracted humanitarian crisis, had won less than one third of its appealfunded. this is extremely troubling and indeed we are seeing the world turn its back on some of the most
vulnerable and suffering people around the world. mr vulnerable and suffering people around the world.— around the world. mr steiner, what do you — around the world. mr steiner, what do you think _ around the world. mr steiner, what do you think is _ around the world. mr steiner, what do you think is putting . what do you think is putting donors off, giving more money to places like afghanistan, and as you point out, yemen as well. i as you point out, yemen as well. ~ , ., ., well. i think first of all, there is _ well. i think first of all, there is no _ well. i think first of all, there is no question . well. i think first of all, | there is no question that well. i think first of all, - there is no question that the war in ukraine has obviously affected the priorities, the focus of many countries, and it is also very understandable that humanitarian suffering that humanitarian suffering that we have seen over the last few weeks emanating from the ukraine with almost 10 million people displaced injust ukraine with almost 10 million people displaced in just four weeks inside the country come outside the country, the enormous amount of construction. these are extremely painful moments, but the harsh truth is we live in a world where there are multiple crisis is and multiple wars. the question is is the world in 2022 not capable of mobilising the resources that sound like a lot of money, billions, but we just invested trillions into the wealthiest countries to get
to the pandemic. we have the resources, even some oil—producing countries are going to end up making a lot more money as we just heard as with oil market price is going on your programme, but are in fact cutting their international need —— international need —— international aid. the leadership and authorities in afghanistan have an announcement of the last few days also made it more difficult for the international community to engage. i'm thinking of the reversal of the decision to allow girls to attend secondary schools. this is a key litmus test of the kind of criteria that would allow the world to engage in afghanistan, that signal obviously was a great setback. mr stanek in may undercut —— i don't underestimate how difficult it must be to convince the owner of the urgent priorities in places like afghanistan, yemen and ukraine, but when you go to them, what do you say? they've got their own problems as you have pointed out, the pandemic as well as rising energy crisis. what is it that you are telling them to convince them
to spend more money in these areas? ., ~ ., , areas? you know, we begin with something _ areas? you know, we begin with something very _ areas? you know, we begin with something very basic that - something very basic that unites us as human beings, compassion, empathy, solidarity and frankly the argument that we cannot afford this as wealthy nations simply don't cut it in terms of i think where the reality of the numbers are and the difference we can make, i havejust come back from afghanistan from my colleague, the emergency relief court are coordinated yesterday's pledging with qatar, germany in the uk has just been, we see what difference these friends make on the ground, millions of people able to survive, perhaps in six months' time. we may have a country like afghanistan where 95% or more of the population lived below the poverty line, people will be dying of hunger and hundreds of thousands and then the world's scrambles and often too late. these are not the kind of lessons i think we have learned
i fully understand and practice, ifully understand and practice, we i fully understand and practice, we have the united nations, we have the nongovernment organisations to help us in these moments of need to turn our backs on them from the point of view that we cannot afford to do, so i find it very difficult to believe. so we continue to reach out to the public and who also show them what difference these can make. when entrepreneurs in afghanistan, the afghanistan today with the tale impacting the leadership. they are able to actually benefit from this and survive, and livelihoods can have access to food. if; can have access to food. ic. doctor steiner, _ can have access to food. ic. doctor steiner, great to get you on the programme with your thoughts. you on the programme with your thou~hts. ., ~ you on the programme with your thou~hts. . ~ , ., 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.
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
this is newsday on the bbc. i'm karishma vaswani in singapore. our headlines... president putin has threatened to suspend contracts for russian natural gas supplies from friday — if payment is not made in roubles. president biden tries to combat rising fuel prices at the pump — freeing up millions of gallons of crude oil. 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 mqm party — withdrew their support on wednesday. 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. 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 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 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. pakistan's prime minister imran khan is facing arguably 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. 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 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 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, and will be allowed to gradually emerge from its restrictions. there's been panic buying and short supplies of some basic necessities.
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. the first world cup in the middle east, the first in winter is looming into view. a flag—raising ceremony for the teams who have qualified as the count down here in doha continues. the world of football in town for the draw, and despite all the controversy, the man in charge telling me it now feels very real. it brings it home. it brings it home, now for the next six months,
i think it's a matter of preparing and, you know, ready to welcome the world. and with all eight stadia within a 35 mile radius, fans will be able to attend more than one match a day. 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. 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, 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.
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 2 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. 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, 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. will spend either the whole or the bulk of the day dry. 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.
this is bbc news. we'll have the headlines and all the main news stories for you at the top of the hour, as newsday continues straight after hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk. i'm stephen sackur. where does vladimir putin's self—styled special military operation in ukraine go from here? he expected kyiv to fall quickly. it didn't. ukraine's determination to resist has not crumbled, despite the terrible human cost. russian losses mount and its economy is hurting. my guest is pro—putin russian mp maria butina.
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