welcome to bbc news. i'm simon pusey. our top stories: russia's foreign minister sergei lavrov again insists there is no war in ukraine. in an exclusive interview with the bbc, he repeats the kremlin line that it was not an invasion. translation: we didn't invade ukraine. - we declared a special military operation because we had absolutely no other way of explaining to the west that dragging ukraine into nato was a criminal act. the us capitol investigation hears that rioters demanded former vice president mike pence be dragged out of the building. getting covid vaccines to the kids: the us vaccine advisers are expected to vote whether to give the jab to children as young as six months.
and in central africa, we've a special report on the race to stop the plunder of rich peatlands releasing damaging carbon dioxide. hello. one of president putin's closest advisers, the foreign minister sergei lavrov, has told the bbc that russia has not invaded ukraine. he's repeated the kremlin line that there is no war, but instead a "special military operation". this comes as russia's invasion of ukraine is almost four months old. mr lavrov, who's been at the heart of power in russia for over 20 years, spoke to our russia editor steve rosenberg. hello, thank you. how are you? it was the first time sergei lavrov had agreed to meet since moscow launched its offensive in ukraine. russia's government has created a parallel reality.
invasion? what invasion? translation: we didn't invade ukraine. - we declared a special military operation because we had absolutely no other way of explaining to the west that dragging ukraine into nato was a criminal act. russia's �*special operation�* has resulted in thousands of civilian deaths in ukraine. moscow claims it's protecting russian speakers and fighting nazis. speaks russian. i quoted a un report about a ukrainian village where russian soldiers had forced hundreds of people, including 7a children, to spend a month in a basement with no toilet, no water. ten people had died. "is that fighting nazis? i asked.
unfortunately, it's a great pity, but international diplomats, including the un high commissioner for human rights, the un secretary—general and other un representatives, are being put under pressure by the west. and very often, they're being used to amplify fake news spread by the west. so, you're saying that russia's squeaky clean? no, russia is not squeaky clean. russia is what it is. and we are not ashamed of showing who we are. and what of the two british men sentenced to death by a russian proxy court in rebel—held eastern ukraine? aiden aslin and shaun pinner had been fighting for ukraine. i tell mr lavrov that in the eyes of the west, russia is responsible for their fate. i am not interested in the eyes of the west at all. i am only interested
in international law. according to international law, mercenaries are not recognised as combatants. but they're not mercenaries — they served in the ukrainian army. this should be decided by a court. you think the court is independent there? i'm convinced there are independent courts there. do you think your courts are independent? and on uk—russian relations, no expectation of an improvement. i don't think there's even any room for manoeuvre any more because both borisjohnson and liz truss say openly that "we should defeat russia. "we should force russia to its knees". go on then, do it. steve rosenberg asking the questions. earlier, i spoke to dr evelyn farkas, the executive director of the mccain institute. i asked her what she thought of the bbc interview
with russian foreign minister sergei lavrov. well, ifound it, you know, typical russian disinformation. you know, one minute they are denying that they are invading a country and the next minute, they're admitting it and excusing it and all of the human rights atrocities, because the one that your interviewer steve mentioned wasjust a drop in the bucket compared to all of the human rights violations that russia committed in ukrainejust in the last several months and — and so now, we have a situation where they're saying well, we did — we did — we did this operation and it was excusable somehow because they were afraid of ukrainejoining nato — which, of course, if you follow that logic, you would be very nervous sitting in sweden and finland. but they're not going to invade sweden and finland, so what you realise is that they just argue whatever argument they think is convenient at the time. and there was a lot in there, you know, insulting the uk government, saying that the government wasn't looking
out for the british people, it was only paying attention to power. you know, this is mirror imaging. i mean, i'm not saying that our governments — our democratic governments don't pay attention to power but they do pay attention to the people and far more so than vladimir putin has in his two decades running russia. yeah, there were a lot of similarities that we've seen --dr ——dr evelyn farkas speaking to me a little earlier. in his nightly address, president zelensky said ukraine has never been closer to the european union than it is now. he was speaking after the leaders of the most powerful european union countries visited him in kyiv. italian prime minister mario draghi, french president emmanuel macron and german chancellor olaf scholz travelled by overnight train. they visited irpin, just outside of kyiv, where they saw evidence of the destruction caused by indiscriminate russian shelling. at a meeting with president zelensky, they committed to increase their support for ukraine with more money, more humanitarian aid and, crucially, with more weapons.
the hollywood actor kevin spacey was mobbed by photographers in london as he arrived at westminster magistrates�* court. he has been charged with four counts of sexual assault and one of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent. lucy manning reports. obstruction! please, move! kevin spacey is used to the cameras, the attention but usually, at film premieres on the red carpet, meeting fans. this was altogether different as the actor was jostled into courti at westminster magistrates�* court, charged with five sexual offences. the court heard mr spacey had returned voluntarily from america to attend this first hearing. standing in the dock, he gave his name as kevin spacey fowler and confirmed his date of birth and london address. the charges he is facing were read out. he�*s accused, during a period when he was artistic director of the old vic theatre in london, of four sexual assaults on three men and accused of causing a man
to engage in sexual activity without consent. the oscar winner is accused over an eight—year period from 2005, with the sexual assaults on men in london and gloucestershire. the hearing lasted just 30 minutes. keep out the way! we need to get a picture! kevin spacey has a way with words but he�*s said very little during this court appearance. he wasn�*t asked to plead guilty or not guilty, but his lawyer told the court he strenuously denies any or all criminality. the actor was allowed out on unconditional bail. thejudge said he�*d cooperated with four days of questioning in america, and there wasn�*t a real risk he�*d fail to return from the us. he must come to the uk in a month for another court appearance. his lawyer said the actor would establish his innocence. lucy manning, bbc news. to washington now, where the third day of the january sixth committee hearings
has wrapped up. it�*s been focused on mike pence and connecting donald trump�*s intense pressure campaign on his vice president not to certify the election results. the hearings also included details of the violent intentions of the mob that stormed the capitol, demanding that mike pence be dragged out of the capitol building. man over loudspeaker: bring out pence! all chant: bring out pence! the committee heard from two white house advisors, who testified that the vice president had been pressured to unilaterally and illegally overturn the election. one witness was] michael luttig, a formerjudge and influentialfigure in the conservative legal community. he said if pence had done as trump asked it would have been "tantamount to revolution" and that this remains a continuing threat. donald trump and his allies
and supporters are a clear and present danger to american democracy. j michael luttig. our north america correspondent peter bowes has been following events from los angeles. this was an extremely compelling hearing and i think the thing that struck me was the thing that struck me was the amount of detail and interesting because this is detail that is coming in testimony from people who were close to donald trump, part of the trumpet in a circle, during his presidency but they are giving us detail about the hours and the days before january the six, the conversations and the tone of the conversations that the president was having on his train of thought during that time, the fact that he was seemingly being advised by one of his lawyers about this plan to get mike pence do not
certify the election, that he was told in no uncertain terms, including by mr mike pence that this could not happen, it was not legal and that mr pence would not do it but then mr trump continued with his plan and as we well know now, minutes, hours before that surge into the capital building by those protesters, that violent attack on congress, the president was still urging mike pence to do what he wanted —— capitol. as we now know, mr pence refused to do it. it�*s pence refused to do it. it's worth pointing _ pence refused to do it. it's worth pointing out the select committee cannot bring charges against donald trump but they can build a case against him. how successful have they been in doing this, do you think? they�*ve been quite successful in bringing a lot of detail out and as i say, again, from people who were close to the action, who were there, in the room at the time, it�*s interesting that one member of the committee today essentially
appealed to others who may be sitting on the fence as to whether they should always —— also come forward and provide the evidence. i think perhaps hoping that others with information to share that may be relevant to this investigation will be spurred on from what they�*ve heard so far to provide a bigger picture but you�*re absolutely right, this cannot in itself result in any prosecutions. it will be down to the department of justice. but it is certainly building a big pick as to what happened. and perhaps influencing some americans when it comes to how they will vote in the midterm elections in a few months�* time. in the midterm elections in a few months' time.— in the midterm elections in a few months' time. peter bowes s-ueakin few months' time. peter bowes speaking to _ few months' time. peter bowes speaking to me _ few months' time. peter bowes speaking to me earlier. - stay with us on bbc news. still to come — mind your language: twitter says it�*s found a simple way to cut the abuse on its platform. there was a bomb in the city centre. a code word known to be one used by the ira was given. army bomb experts were
examining a suspect van when there was a huge explosion. the south african parliament has destroyed the foundation of apartheid by abolishing the population registration act which, for 40 years, forcibly classified each citizen according to race. just a day old and the royal baby is tonight sleeping in his cot at home. | early this evening, the new prince was taken by his mother and fatherl to their apartments . in kensington palace. germany�*s parliament, the bundestag, has voted by a narrow majority to move the seat of government from bonn to berlin. berliners celebrated into the night, but the decision was greeted with shock in bonn. the real focus of attention today was valentina tereshkova, the world's first woman cosmonaut. what do you think of - the russian woman in space? i think it�*s a wonderful achievement and i think we might be able to persuade the wife it would be a good idea, if i could, to get her to go up there for a little while.
the latest headlines: in an exclusive interview with the bbc, the russian foreign minister sergei lavrov refuses to say his country invaded ukraine — repeating the official kremlin line that there is no war. in dramatic testimony, the committee investigating the 6 january attack on the us capitol hears that rioters got within a0 feet of the vice president. earlier this week, vaccine advisers to the us food and drug administration voted unanimously in favour of expanding emergency use authorisations of the moderna and pfizer covid—i9 vaccines to include children as young as six months. however, shots can�*t be given until the us centers for disease control and prevention�*s own vaccine advisers have voted on whether to recommend them. the cdc�*s vaccine advisers are expected to vote on saturday. the white house has said shots could begin as early as next week.
with me now is professor arthur reingold, an epidemiologist at the university of california in berkeley. he is also a member of the advisory committee to the fda. professor, thanks for coming on. you expect the cdc vote to pass saturday?— on. you expect the cdc vote to pass saturday? well, i wouldn't like to try _ pass saturday? well, i wouldn't like to try to — pass saturday? well, i wouldn't like to try to predict _ pass saturday? well, i wouldn't like to try to predict what - pass saturday? well, i wouldn't like to try to predict what my i like to try to predict what my colleagues will say, but i can�*t imagine why they wouldn�*t. it seems to me the evidence is very strong and that they are likely to vote to proceed, yes. that they are likely to vote to proceed. yes-— proceed, yes. you say the evidence _ proceed, yes. you say the evidence is _ proceed, yes. you say the evidence is strong, - proceed, yes. you say the evidence is strong, can i proceed, yes. you say the l evidence is strong, can you proceed, yes. you say the - evidence is strong, can you run us through the evidence as to why this should pass? fundamentally, the review tells us that the benefits do outweigh the risks and the benefits are that these vaccines can have reasonable effectiveness in preventing serious illness in young children, in kids underfive, effectively. and that�*s what we like to do, is keep young children out of the hospital, prevent them from getting very
sick. ~ . , prevent them from getting very sick. ~ ., , , sick. we have seen in the past the public _ sick. we have seen in the past the public opinion _ sick. we have seen in the past the public opinion doesn't - the public opinion doesn�*t necessarily follow the evidence. what is public opinion like in this case, because surely a lot of people would say children at six months old, do they really need this jab was yellow so during their meetings we hear feedback from the public and they have certainly gotten quite a bit since the meeting. i certainly gotten quite a bit since the meeting.- certainly gotten quite a bit since the meeting. i have heard from quite _ since the meeting. i have heard from quite a — since the meeting. i have heard from quite a few— since the meeting. i have heard from quite a few mothers - since the meeting. i have heard from quite a few mothers of- from quite a few mothers of young children who have been eagerly awaiting the ability to vaccine their kids, that includes both of my daughters, who have children 20 months of age, but we have certainly heard it from plenty of people who believe this is a mistake and who certainly are not going to vaccinate their children. i guess one argument might be that children are already vaccinated at that age for example, —— for example, measles and polio. in example, -- for example, measles and polio.- example, -- for example, measles and polio. in one sense double 19 _ measles and polio. in one sense double 19 is _ measles and polio. in one sense double 19 is not _ measles and polio. in one sense double 19 is not that _ measles and polio. in one sense double 19 is not that different i double 19 is not that different from a disease like polio. back in the 1950s we responded appropriately to the horrifying
cases of paralysis, kids and islands, kids in wheelchairs, and vaccinated kids against polio to get rid of a terrible disease. what people may not understand is that those very severe cases were, again, a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of all the kids who had got infected with poliovirus. most of the kids got infected with poliovirus, something like 119 nine out of 200 or so, had absolutely no illness or a very mild, self—limiting illness. so it is absolutely the case we are trying with our vaccines to prevent the more serious outcomes, not only for covid, but for other infectious diseases.— but for other infectious diseases. ., . diseases. based on your current knowledge _ diseases. based on your current knowledge of— diseases. based on your current knowledge ofjust _ diseases. based on your current knowledge ofjust how- diseases. based on your current knowledge ofjust how popular. knowledge ofjust how popular this might be, what you think the take—up will be if it does pass this vote? ladle the take-up will be if it does pass this vote?— the take-up will be if it does pass this vote? we know the u take pass this vote? we know the uptake in _ pass this vote? we know the uptake in older _ pass this vote? we know the uptake in older children, i pass this vote? we know the l uptake in older children, 5-11, uptake in older children, 5—11, has only been in the range of 25- 30% has only been in the range of 25— 30% and i�*m afraid i�*m a little pessimistic, think it is going to be less than that.
doctor arthur reingold, thank you very much indeed. that is doctor arthur reingold life rafts in berkeley. —— live for us. in central africa, a giant slab of carbon—rich peat, discovered by a team of british and congolese scientists, is under threat from oil companies. the carbon must be kept in the ground to avoid boosting climate change. but some plots have already been sold for oil exploration and the republic of the congo wants to develop the area for agriculture unless richer nations deliver more financial assistance. our africa correspondent andrew harding reports. in the vast forests of central africa, a group of scientists are hacking their way towards a remarkable discovery. this formidable team has spent years tracing the outlines of something huge and hidden and precious. just entering the coordinates of a point that�*s about three kilometres away. it�*s gruelling work in near impenetrable swamps
full of snakes and crocodiles, but the scientists, using hand—held drills, have discovered a fantastically large expanse of peat. so we want as many samples as possible from as many different locations. and this rotting vegetation is important, because it traps carbon. we estimate that there�*s around 30 billion tonnes of carbon stored in the peatlands of the cuvette centrale in the congo basin. and that�*s equivalent to around 20 years of us fossil fuel emissions, so a huge amount of carbon. the scientists here have discovered something extraordinary in these swamps — a slab of peat that�*s two metres deep and as large as england. it�*s the biggest of its kind anywhere in the world, and that makes it incredibly important when it comes to climate change. if all this carbon is released into the atmosphere, it�*s going to we can say
accelerate the global change, climate change. and do you think that is a realistic threat? i think it�*s a threat, yeah. the congo peatlands have been quietly trapping and storing carbon dioxide for thousands of years, but humans could change all that — fast. these vast peatlands are already under threat. that�*s because all around the congo peat basin, developers, farmers, growing populations are looking for ways to make money out of this land. we found these farmers tapping palm trees for palm wine, but the process kills the trees and exposes the peat below, drying it out. so how to protect all this?
translation: congo's peatlands are the world's lungs. _ but rich nations, the biggest polluters, should pay for that service, should pay to protect them. why should we stay poor so you can breathe? a reasonable question. but outside help has been slow to reach these isolated forests. is it your sense that the international community has shown commitment, money, to sort this? i think not yet, not enough money. i think these ecosystems aren�*t yet valued as they should be at an international level. the scientists have done their work, but now the races on to prevent these precious peatlands from going up in smoke. andrew harding, bbc news, in the republic of congo. let�*s get some of the day�*s other news. the united nations has denounced the murder of a brazilian indigenous affairs expert and a british journalist in brazil�*s amazon region. the un human rights office has called the killing of bruno pereira and
dom phillips "a brutal "a brutal and appalling act of violence". the police have detained two people. one is said to have confessed to the killings. many parts of europe are experiencing a extremely high temperatures and in france, forecasters say the heatwave there is the earliest in the year on record. in the south—west, trains are running at reduced speed because the heat is affecting the tracks, and the passengers. it�*s been said the peak of the heatwave will come this weekend. for years, twitter has been criticised for the hostile and aggressive tweets on its platform. now, its researchers say they�*ve found a way to reduce some of that content. in their own study, twitter says some users have changed their behaviour thanks to a simple prompt asking them to reconsider their language. our news reporter azadeh moshiri has been looking into the results. howedes twitter roll out this prompts? howedes twitter roll out this rom ts? �* howedes twitter roll out this prompts?—
howedes twitter roll out this --romts? �* ., ., ., ,, prompts? i'm going to assume that ou prompts? i'm going to assume that you have _ prompts? i'm going to assume that you have never— prompts? i'm going to assume that you have never seen i prompts? i'm going to assume that you have never seen this | that you have never seen this property for, either because you haven�*t had that kind of tweet we have been enrolled in the study. for the past week, it would 290,000 users into the study and had the algorithm analyse whether they were set out any particularly offensive or harmful tweets. now, out any particularly offensive or harmfultweets. now, behalf of those users they then prompted them a question asking them whether they wanted to revise that tweet, warning them that there could be some potentially offensive language in there, and what they found was that that promise, that simple instruction actually had a positive effect on these people, had them change their behaviour, and made the platform a little bit of a nicer place. so if we look at the figures we can see that, according to twitter, 69% of users sent out their tweets without any changes, so no change in behaviour there. a 22% revised their tweets. and then 9% in fact cancelled their tweets. now, interestingly, of
the 22% did revise their tweets, about 1% of them actually made their tweets meaner. perhaps they don�*t like being told what to do. but one of the most interesting takeaways is that they change in behaviour actually had quite a lasting effect, because when it came to the group that received those prom�*s, repeat offences actually went down by about 5%, though there were some real changes thanks to something really simple. i5 something really simple. is interesting. how significant is this, doesn�*t mean that the of bullying, aggression, and trolling will disappear? there are a few _ trolling will disappear? there are a few issues _ trolling will disappear? there are a few issues at _ trolling will disappear? there are a few issues at play. i trolling will disappear? there are a few issues at play. forl are a few issues at play. for one part this is a positive step, patrolling, harassment, offensive language, it is a pretty big issue on the platform. they have been criticised for this for years. it is hard to imagine this will be a sort of magic wand that is going to raise all of it. it is also an indictment of the platform that they have had to do this in the first place. but it�*s hard to think about twitter�*s future without thinking about elon musk and while the spacex founder�*s potential takeover of twitter
is definitely uncertain, the future of their involvement is unsure, he did say in a call with twitter employees this week that he believes users should be able to say outrageous things, so what that means about offensive or harmful language it�*s hard to say. but either way, harmful language it�*s hard to say. but eitherway, but harmful language it�*s hard to say. but either way, but it can say. but either way, but it can say they are taking some steps here to address the toxic behaviour that does happen on the platform sometimes. it is a massive topic _ the platform sometimes. it is a massive topic and _ the platform sometimes. it is a massive topic and it _ the platform sometimes. it is a massive topic and it is - the platform sometimes. it is a massive topic and it is really i massive topic and it is really interesting. as is lending. it is all we have to travel. thank you very much indeed. twelve penguins have been returned to the wild charity in argentina. the birds were found earlier this year — not far from the capital — buenos aires. they showed signs of malnutrition, dehydration and even hypothermia. one of the volunteers who brought them back to health says climate change could be to blame. that is just about it from me for now. you can get more news on our website. you can reach me on twitter — i�*m @sipusey. but from me and the rest of the
team, thank you for watching anh do stay tuned right here on bbc news —— and do stay tuned. hello. friday is set to bring the peak of the heat that has been building over the last couple of days, especially across england and wales. on thursday, scotland and northern ireland stayed that bit cooler, but cardiff got to 26 — to the west of london, a high of 29.5 celsius. but that�*s nothing compared with the temperatures we�*ve seen in south—west europe. this a0 in southern france on thursday is a record—breaker the earliest point in the year that france has recorded a temperature of a0 celsius. and some of that extra heat will waft northwards on friday into the south—east corner, highs of 33 — always cooler further north and west. these are the starting temperatures for friday — quite warm and muggy out there first thing. we�*ve got outbreaks of rain pushing down across parts of scotland into northern ireland — and this is a bit of a dividing line because, behind this, we are into cooler, fresher conditions, quite windy, as well. but ahead of our band of cloud and rain, lots of hot sunshine. some mist and murk perhaps for some western coasts,
but east wales, the west country, into the midlands, a good part of eastern england, the south—east seeing temperatures into the high—20s or low—30s — likely to peak somewhere around 33 celsius. with very high uv levels in these southern parts, the sun is very, very strong at this time of year. now through friday night, this band of cloud continues to sink southwards. a weak weather front at this stage, not much rain on it — but to the north of it, we�*re into the cool air. to the south of it, still very warm and muggy — 18 likely to be the starting temperature in the centre of london on saturday morning. so you can see that warm air clinging on in the south, but further north and west, something cooler and fresher to the north of this weather front. now, along the line of the weather front, on saturday, we�*ll see some outbreaks of rain starting to develop. some of this rain could be heavy, possibly thundery. also some showers into the northwest of scotland. generally, quite a lot of sunshine across the northern half of the uk. temperatures for most of us at this stage in the high teens, but still 27 in london, maybe 29 across parts of southern and south—eastern england. but by sunday, the cooler air does win out — however, still some heavy, thundery downpours in the south and especially the south—west.
this is bbc news — the headlines: one of president putin�*s closest advisers, the foreign minister sergei lavrov, has told the bbc that russia has not invaded ukraine. he�*s repeated the kremlin line that there is no war but instead a special military operation. this comes as russia�*s invasion of ukraine is almost four months old. a congressional panel investigating last year�*s storming of capitol hill has heard how former president, donald trump tried to pressurise his deputy, mike pence, to overturn the result of the 2020 election. witnesses say mr trump knew his plan was illegal but insisted mr pence go along with it anyway. the hollywood actor kevin spacey has appeared in court charged with four counts of sexual assault and one of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent.
he "strenuously denies" the allegations. he�*s been granted bail and is due to appear in court again next month. now on bbc news, panorama. panorama goes undercover inside britain�*s biggest gp network. we discover one practice seriously short of doctors. a backlog of important patient documents. and gps replaced by cheaper, less