10/02/2017 BBC News at Ten


10/02/2017

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A discredited Government investigation into alleged abuses

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committed by British soldiers in Iraq is being shut down.

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A report by MPs called it "an unmitigated

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failure that had cost tens of millions of pounds."

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This will be a huge relief to hundreds of British troops

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who've had these quite unfair allegations hanging over them,

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Me and my fellow soldiers and my regiment, going

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through a ten-year, you know, tarnish, and it's just not on.

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The Government's announced that most of the investigations into abuse

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allegations from Afghanistan will also be dropped.

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The Health Secretary admits waiting times in A in hospitals

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Donald Trump vows to fight on, despite a court refusing

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to reinstate his controversial travel ban.

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Over 400 whales beach themselves on the coast of New Zealand -

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And England get ready for the clash in Cardiff,

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in their crucial Six Nations game against Wales.

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And coming up in Sportsday in BBC News:

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Tom Varndell becomes the Premiership's all-time leading try

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scorer as he beats Mark Cueto's record with his 91st try.

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A controversial investigation costing tens of millions of pounds,

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into claims of the abuse of Iraqi civilians by British troops is to be

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It follows a scathing report by MPs into the Iraq Historic Allegations

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Team, which it described as "an unmitigated failure",

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investigating thousands of claims unsupported by "credible evidence"

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and that soldiers under investigation, had suffered

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90% of investigations into abuse allegations from

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Our Diplomatic Correspondent, Caroline Hawley, has the story.

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It's almost 14 years since British troops invaded Iraq and the legacy

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of the war is still causing controversy. In the aftermath of the

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occupation, thousands of allegations of abuse were made against British

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soldiers. And a special team called IHAT was set up to investigate them.

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The human rights' lawyer, Phil Shiner brought most of the claims

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but last week he was struck off after he'd been found to be

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dishonest and to have' paiding agents to drum up business. And to

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have paid agents. Now the Ministry of Defence is wrapping up the

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investigation early This will be a huge relief to hundreds of British

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troops who've had those quite unfair allegations whacking over them. They

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are now being -- hanging over them. They are now being freed of them and

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we'll put new measures in place to make sure this never happens again,

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there will be safeguards to prevent unfounded and malicious allegations

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being made by our brave servicemen and women. The most serious

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allegations to be made were of furtherer and mutilation after this

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battle in 2004. The claims were false. The soldier who was there,

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decorated for his bravely, told using of the pain he'd been put

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through. You are under so much pressure on operations as it is, and

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when you hold your values and standards in the highest regard, to

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then come back and have that questioned for your actions you did

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on the ground, which you thought were right, under extreme pressure,

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in extreme circumstances, to come home is damaging for individuals and

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also for the regiment, and the British Army as a whole. There's no

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doubt that some abuses did happen in Iraq. These were detainees being

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beaten in Basra in 2003. And over the past few years, the Ministry of

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Defence has paid out millions in compensation. But the Iraq Historic

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Allegations Team team has been criticised for getting out of hand T

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set up seven years ago and has had to plough through more than 3,000

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claims. It cost more than #3ds 34 million but no soldiers have been

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prosecuted as a result. -- ?34,000. IHAT and its work has been

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controversial in the military but the downfall of Phil Shiner and

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concern for the toll it was taking over soldiers and their families has

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led the MoT to act It is something that is very important. It will make

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a big statement to the Army and it'll show the Government is full

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square in supporting the Army and providing it with a framework where

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soldiers can deal with the difficult situations they have to deal with.

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Over the course of Britain's long involvement in Iraq, the Ministry of

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Defence says over the summer only 20 cases will be left to be

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investigated. There has been growing controversy

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over Iraq Historic Allegations Team for sometime but it was presumably

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today's report by MPs that finished it off The MoD has been under

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pressure over the investigation which has been running forself seven

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years, with 130 staff and no prosecutions. Most of the cases in

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front of it had been dismissed due to lack of evidence. Last week you

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had Phil Shiner being struck off. He had brought most of the claims in

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front of the Iraq Historic Allegations Team. Then this

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blistering attack by MPs on the investigation, calling it an

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unmitigated failure and it was just after their report was issued that

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the MoD announced it was wrapping up the investigation early, wrapping it

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up by the summer, saying that there will only be about 20 cases left and

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the Royal Navy Police will now take those on. And it has also announced,

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as you said, that 90% of the allegations of abuse made in

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Afghanistan will now be discontinued as well. Thank you Caroline.

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The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, says it's "completely unacceptable"

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that some patients in England are waiting up to 13 hours in A

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Figures show that waiting times in casualty are worse

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and the number of operations cancelled at the last minute hit

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Mr Hunt insists he does have an improvement plan -

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though didn't reveal it - and he admits it will take time.

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He was talking to our Health Editor Hugh Pym.

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The worst monthly A figures in more than a decade.

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We actually have corridor nurses now as well.

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No-one would want it for members of their own family.

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It's been a difficult few days for the Health Secretary.

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Now he's come out and acknowledged that what's happening in England's

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The BBC has shown images from Royal Blackburn

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of people waiting 13 hours, mothers and babies

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I'm doing this job because I want NHS care to be the safest and best

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in the world and that kind of care is completely unacceptable.

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No-one would want it for members of their own family.

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We futured Iris Sibley's story this week.

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She had to wait six months in hospital before a care home

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What did Mr Hunt have to say to her family?

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Well, I don't want to make any kind of excuses for that.

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It is terrible for Mrs Sibley but it is also very bad for the NHS

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But it is not the only case of its kind.

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No, and as I say, there are no excuses,

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Iris's son, John, said he was pleased Mr Hunt had

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recognised that his mother had been let down but he had this message

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What I would like to say to Jeremy Hunt

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is to admit, to have the guts to admit that the system

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If we have to pay more, I'd say to Jeremy Hunt -

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I'm prepared to pay more tax and I'm sure most of the country

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would be too because our old people are worth it.

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And the state of social care was something I raised with Mr Hunt.

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The Prime Minister's been very clear.

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We recognise there is a problem about the sustainability of the

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social care system and that has to be addressed and we are going to do

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There have been calls for more funding for the NHS in England,

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including from an American health expert who advised David

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He thinks the Government's current spending plans are set too low.

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I have serious doubts as to whether you can have a health

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care that's universal, not rationed and responsive to needs

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But others say it's not just about money and getting the NHS

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to be more efficient is important, with new ways of working

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Mr Hunt says change is needed on many fronts.

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I think it's wrong to suggest to people that these

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profound challenges, such as we face with an ageing population,

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are ones where there is a silver bullet that you can solve

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We also need the public's help because we know that a number

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of people who are seen in A could actually have their needs

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dealt with in another part of the NHS.

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New figures show cancelled operations in England

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Further evidence that whether it's routine surgery,

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A or community care, there's pressure

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President Trump has hit back after a US court refused

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to reinstate his temporary ban on travellers from seven

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This evening, Mr Trump said there was "no doubt" he would win

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in the courts and pledged additional security measures next week.

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Our North America Editor, Jon Sopel, has the latest on the President's

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confrontation with the legal system.

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At the White House this morning, a full ceremonial welcome being laid

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Even an awkward bear hug for the man he has only met once before.

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The focus of the conversation was meant to be about trade,

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not the subject journalists wanted to talk about.

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I'm curious about yesterday's ruling in the ninth circuit court.

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Has it caused you to rethink your use of executive power?

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Your question was unrelated to what we're here for today

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He steered clear of attacking the judges and promised

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We'll be doing something very rapidly, having

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You'll be seeing that sometime next week.

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In addition, we will continue to go to the court process,

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and ultimately I have no doubt that we'll win the particular case.

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Last night, there was a furious reaction to the judgment,

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with the President tweeting, in block capitals, a sure sign

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THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE".

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In Washington State, which brought the original case,

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a mixture of defiance and "bring it on".

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We have seen him in court twice and we are two for two.

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We respect that the President has broad authority when it comes

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to issuing executive orders, but they still have

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The sudden implementation of the executive order brought chaos

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Travellers from seven mainly Muslim countries were banned

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from entering the US for 90 days, the entire refugee programme

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suspended for 120 days, except when it comes to Syria,

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and there, the suspension is indefinite.

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The three Federal Appeal Court judges ruled that there is no

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evidence that any alien from any country named in the order has

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perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States.

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The safety valve for the most vulnerable people offered no

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explanation for how these waiver provisions would

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And in conclusion, the judges say, competing public interests

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In other words, the decision of the lower court

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The next and last legal stop is the Supreme Court.

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With one vacancy still to be filled, it's split evenly

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between four liberal and four conservative judges.

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If they were to tie, then the judgment of the lower

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The President and his advisors have a tough decision to make.

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Do they press on, take this to the Supreme Court

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and risk another defeat, or rip up the existing executive

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order, redraft it and admit that they got it wrong

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The President promised during the campaign

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that he would "win so much, Americans would get

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This is not the story so far on his migrant ban.

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Meanwhile, President Trump and his Chinese counterpart,

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Xi Jinping, have held their first telephone conversation.

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During the call, described as "cordial", Mr Trump agreed

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to honour the so-called "One China" policy, which he'd previously

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It relates to the status of the island of Taiwan,

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which has its own government but which Beijing sees

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The One China policy acknowledges there is only one

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Chinese government and that diplomatic relations must

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Our China Editor, Carrie Gracie, reports

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People in Taiwan have more freedom of expression than people in China.

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After 70 years of governing itself, this noisy democracy

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In this animation studio, they are not just mocking

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their own President but Mr Xi and Mr Trump as well.

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We have 1800 missiles pointed our way but at the same time

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in Taiwan we have absolute freedom to do anything we want,

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so satire is one of the good things we need to push because it helps

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It's threatened to retake Taiwan by force, and it sailed its aircraft

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carrier past the island last month to show that it means business.

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For Beijing this, the island of Taiwan,

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It's the piece they say will finally reunite a nation broken up

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and humiliated by colonial powers two centuries ago.

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To let Taiwan float off towards independence, or even worse,

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to let it become part of an American-led alliance

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against China in these waters, well, that, to Beijing,

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The Taiwanese navy is no match for China's.

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It's the American fleet which protects Taiwan.

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Back in December, it looked as if Donald Trump would go further.

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He took a call from the Taiwanese President and hinted

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Now, President Trump has backed down.

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In his phone call with President Xi, he returned to the so-called

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one China policy that Beijing insists on.

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And many Taiwanese reluctantly accept the status quo.

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TRANSLATION: Ideally, I would choose independence

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but in the real world independence is impossible.

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Messages of peace for the year ahead at Taipei's Lantern Festival.

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Caught between an unpredictable America and an implacable China.

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Their hopes and fears are low priority to both.

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The Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is continuing his reshuffle,

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following the resignation of several Shadow Cabinet ministers

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and a rebellion by Labour MPs over the Brexit bill.

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One of the big tests of his leadership will be

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the by-elections on the 23rd February in the Labour-held

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seats of Stoke-on-Trent Central and Copeland.

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Our Deputy Political Editor, John Pienaar,

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John Pienaar is in Hanley and he wants to know how people feel

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about the by-election in Stoke-on-Trent Central.

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Is Stoke going to stay a Labour city?

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I think for far too long we've been taken for granted by Labour.

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I'd like to think it was going to stay Labour.

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They sort of work for everybody, don't they?

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Whereas I don't know, the guys who are potentially going to get in,

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are quite bigoted in a couple of their views.

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By all accounts, the Labour candidate is pro-European.

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So how does that square with 70% plus anti-European

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You have been Labour, but you're switching?

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You're still agonising a bit about it?

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This is a really big deal in national politics, isn't it?

:17:42.:17:45.

Is Labour's traditional support in industrial towns

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like this one in Stoke, away from London and the big cities,

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Well look, most people here voted to leave the European Union.

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Most of the MPs here, the Labour MPs here,

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voted and campaigned to stay in the European Union.

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And Jeremy Corbyn, he is popular with his party members.

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When it comes to the wider public, not so much.

:18:07.:18:09.

A senior Labour MP has said that Labour here is hanging

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on by its fingernails against the challenge

:18:13.:18:14.

Messages, thousands, came in on our BBC Facebook live page.

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"Jeremy Corbyn was a big election issue for Labour."

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"Full of honesty, respect and integrity," says Stephen.

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"Corbynites are enthusiastic, but he costs votes."

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Labour is under siege in two by-elections on the same night.

:18:35.:18:46.

Voters who never wanted Brexit are being targeted

:18:47.:18:48.

by the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.

:18:49.:18:53.

Will Ukip's campaigners see their leader become Stoke's new MP?

:18:54.:18:56.

That would strike fear into Labour's Brexit-supporting heartland.

:18:57.:19:03.

Tory campaigners are daring to dream of an historic triumph.

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They ran Ukip close in Stoke, but in Copeland they feel

:19:07.:19:09.

they can beat Labour, the first government gain

:19:10.:19:11.

over its main opponents in a by-election in 35 years.

:19:12.:19:18.

So Labour is fighting door to door, street to street, here in Stoke.

:19:19.:19:22.

And far to the north, where Labour is facing

:19:23.:19:25.

a hard slog to survive in a very different setting.

:19:26.:19:30.

In Copeland's coastal town of Whitehaven,

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Ask almost anyone, Jeremy Corbyn's past opposition to nuclear power

:19:33.:19:38.

Though voting Labour here is an old habit.

:19:39.:19:43.

Well, I'm going to stay with Labour, because I just think it's

:19:44.:19:46.

And all my family has always voted Labour.

:19:47.:19:51.

Because of the workforce at Sellafield, and what it creates

:19:52.:19:53.

in the wider community, and what Mr Corbyn said

:19:54.:19:56.

about nuclear power, they've got to think of themselves.

:19:57.:19:59.

And for the long-term future of Sellafield,

:20:00.:20:02.

Losing here or in Stoke means talk of existential crisis for Labour.

:20:03.:20:11.

Rejected by once loyal voters who now feel left

:20:12.:20:14.

And to see a full list of candidates for both the Stoke-on-Trent Central

:20:15.:20:25.

and Copeland by elections, visit our website at bbc.co.uk/politics.

:20:26.:20:35.

A brief look at some of the day's other news stories.

:20:36.:20:38.

The UK's biggest domestic energy supplier, British Gas,

:20:39.:20:39.

has said it will freeze its prices until the summer.

:20:40.:20:42.

However, Scottish Power has announced that its customers

:20:43.:20:44.

will see their bills go up, following similar moves

:20:45.:20:46.

Concerns have been raised about the effectiveness of Britain's

:20:47.:20:51.

naval fleet after it emerged that none of the seven attack submarines

:20:52.:20:54.

The newer submarines, which carry cruise missiles, cost

:20:55.:20:59.

The MOD insists some are "operationally capable".

:21:00.:21:06.

Cocaine worth up to ?50 million has washed up on beaches

:21:07.:21:09.

Holdalls containing over 300 kilos of the drug were found.

:21:10.:21:13.

Detectives said it would be a "major blow to the organised

:21:14.:21:16.

A London-based plumbing firm has lost a legal battle over whether it

:21:17.:21:23.

should give freelance workers basic employment rights such as pensions,

:21:24.:21:26.

Pimlico Plumbers went to the Court of Appeal after plumber Gary Smith,

:21:27.:21:31.

who was on a self-employed contract, won a tribunal case against them.

:21:32.:21:39.

More than 400 whales have beached on the coast of New Zealand,

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one of the worst whale strandings ever seen in the country.

:21:43.:21:45.

Volunteers in the community of Farewell Spit are racing

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to save and refloat them but around 300 have

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already died and time is running out for the rest.

:21:54.:21:57.

Stranded, distressed and barely alive.

:21:58.:22:04.

Volunteers have come from far and wide to save the whales beached

:22:05.:22:07.

This is the third-largest mass stranding that we've recorded

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in our history and so it's a very large one.

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Logistically it's a massive undertaking.

:22:19.:22:19.

The whales started stranding last night, round about ten

:22:20.:22:22.

We were notified of that, and then this morning when they went

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out and checked on them, most of the whales

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I've never experienced death like this before.

:22:29.:22:32.

For such a majestic animal it's really strange

:22:33.:22:37.

There's a lot of death here, eh, which is a sad, sad thing, but, hey,

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if we can get some of them out it's got to be a good thing.

:22:45.:22:48.

Scientists don't know exactly why whales beach themselves.

:22:49.:22:50.

Anybody that doesn't have a sheet over the whale,

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make sure those sheets are really nice and wet, not

:22:57.:22:59.

Rescuers tried to re-float some of the whales at high tide,

:23:00.:23:04.

but some just turned straight back to shore.

:23:05.:23:08.

Whale strandings in New Zealand are common.

:23:09.:23:10.

Just two years earlier 200 whales beached here.

:23:11.:23:11.

But this is one of the country's worst mass strandings.

:23:12.:23:19.

It's another weekend of fierce rivalry, intense pressure

:23:20.:23:21.

and big expectations in the Six Nations tournament.

:23:22.:23:24.

England take on Wales tomorrow and if England win,

:23:25.:23:28.

they will be just three games away from breaking the world record

:23:29.:23:31.

for the most unbeaten Test matches, a title currently held

:23:32.:23:33.

Italy take on Ireland, and Scotland play France on Sunday.

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Here's our sports correspondent Joe Wilson.

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Long before the bridge, there was rugby.

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The journey to Wales has petrified England,

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In 2013 Wales scored 30 points in Cardiff, England humbled.

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The coach says it's just another city.

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Yes, but in Cardiff it's named after the Welsh captain,

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I think the game does mean a lot to a lot of people.

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We are able to share that, hopefully we can share it

:24:16.:24:18.

I think we're very fortunate to have a stadium that is suitable

:24:19.:24:22.

We've experienced lights, fire, music.

:24:23.:24:28.

England's Jones, Eddie, now expects what he calls "shenanigans".

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What are the shenanigans you're prepared for?

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Oh, I don't know, but, you know, they're a cunning lot,

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You know, they've got goats, they've got daffodils,

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Well, mischievous friendly rivalry, that's what the

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It is an outlet for passion and that's exactly why England have

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decided that here in Cardiff the roof should be open

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for the game, allowing all that Welsh noise to escape into the sky.

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Well, everyone in professional sport is trying to find an edge.

:25:07.:25:09.

Gareth Southgate - yes, the England football manager -

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was at rugby training this week, seeking a different perspective.

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Well, England fly-half George Ford finished the session

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and then told me he won't be in Wales in fear.

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I think, as a player, if you learn to embrace it and learn

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to be excited about it, I think that's the best

:25:32.:25:35.

If you look back and you feel like you didn't enjoy it,

:25:36.:25:39.

After their scintillating victory over Ireland last weekend,

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Scotland suddenly look like the team to beat in the Six Nations.

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Now it's time for the news where you are.

:25:49.:26:05.