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A discredited Government investigation into alleged abuses
committed by British soldiers in Iraq is being shut down.
A report by MPs called it "an unmitigated
failure that had cost tens of millions of pounds."
This will be a huge relief to hundreds of British troops
who've had these quite unfair allegations hanging over them,
Me and my fellow soldiers and my regiment, going
through a ten-year, you know, tarnish, and it's just not on.
The Government's announced that most of the investigations into abuse
allegations from Afghanistan will also be dropped.
The Health Secretary admits waiting times in A in hospitals
Donald Trump vows to fight on, despite a court refusing
to reinstate his controversial travel ban.
Over 400 whales beach themselves on the coast of New Zealand -
And England get ready for the clash in Cardiff,
in their crucial Six Nations game against Wales.
And coming up in Sportsday in BBC News:
Tom Varndell becomes the Premiership's all-time leading try
scorer as he beats Mark Cueto's record with his 91st try.
A controversial investigation costing tens of millions of pounds,
into claims of the abuse of Iraqi civilians by British troops is to be
It follows a scathing report by MPs into the Iraq Historic Allegations
Team, which it described as "an unmitigated failure",
investigating thousands of claims unsupported by "credible evidence"
and that soldiers under investigation, had suffered
90% of investigations into abuse allegations from
Our Diplomatic Correspondent, Caroline Hawley, has the story.
It's almost 14 years since British troops invaded Iraq and the legacy
of the war is still causing controversy. In the aftermath of the
occupation, thousands of allegations of abuse were made against British
soldiers. And a special team called IHAT was set up to investigate them.
The human rights' lawyer, Phil Shiner brought most of the claims
but last week he was struck off after he'd been found to be
dishonest and to have' paiding agents to drum up business. And to
have paid agents. Now the Ministry of Defence is wrapping up the
investigation early This will be a huge relief to hundreds of British
troops who've had those quite unfair allegations whacking over them. They
are now being -- hanging over them. They are now being freed of them and
we'll put new measures in place to make sure this never happens again,
there will be safeguards to prevent unfounded and malicious allegations
being made by our brave servicemen and women. The most serious
allegations to be made were of furtherer and mutilation after this
battle in 2004. The claims were false. The soldier who was there,
decorated for his bravely, told using of the pain he'd been put
through. You are under so much pressure on operations as it is, and
when you hold your values and standards in the highest regard, to
then come back and have that questioned for your actions you did
on the ground, which you thought were right, under extreme pressure,
in extreme circumstances, to come home is damaging for individuals and
also for the regiment, and the British Army as a whole. There's no
doubt that some abuses did happen in Iraq. These were detainees being
beaten in Basra in 2003. And over the past few years, the Ministry of
Defence has paid out millions in compensation. But the Iraq Historic
Allegations Team team has been criticised for getting out of hand T
set up seven years ago and has had to plough through more than 3,000
claims. It cost more than #3ds 34 million but no soldiers have been
prosecuted as a result. -- ?34,000. IHAT and its work has been
controversial in the military but the downfall of Phil Shiner and
concern for the toll it was taking over soldiers and their families has
led the MoT to act It is something that is very important. It will make
a big statement to the Army and it'll show the Government is full
square in supporting the Army and providing it with a framework where
soldiers can deal with the difficult situations they have to deal with.
Over the course of Britain's long involvement in Iraq, the Ministry of
Defence says over the summer only 20 cases will be left to be
investigated. There has been growing controversy
over Iraq Historic Allegations Team for sometime but it was presumably
today's report by MPs that finished it off The MoD has been under
pressure over the investigation which has been running forself seven
years, with 130 staff and no prosecutions. Most of the cases in
front of it had been dismissed due to lack of evidence. Last week you
had Phil Shiner being struck off. He had brought most of the claims in
front of the Iraq Historic Allegations Team. Then this
blistering attack by MPs on the investigation, calling it an
unmitigated failure and it was just after their report was issued that
the MoD announced it was wrapping up the investigation early, wrapping it
up by the summer, saying that there will only be about 20 cases left and
the Royal Navy Police will now take those on. And it has also announced,
as you said, that 90% of the allegations of abuse made in
Afghanistan will now be discontinued as well. Thank you Caroline.
The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, says it's "completely unacceptable"
that some patients in England are waiting up to 13 hours in A
Figures show that waiting times in casualty are worse
and the number of operations cancelled at the last minute hit
Mr Hunt insists he does have an improvement plan -
though didn't reveal it - and he admits it will take time.
He was talking to our Health Editor Hugh Pym.
The worst monthly A figures in more than a decade.
We actually have corridor nurses now as well.
No-one would want it for members of their own family.
It's been a difficult few days for the Health Secretary.
Now he's come out and acknowledged that what's happening in England's
The BBC has shown images from Royal Blackburn
of people waiting 13 hours, mothers and babies
I'm doing this job because I want NHS care to be the safest and best
in the world and that kind of care is completely unacceptable.
No-one would want it for members of their own family.
We futured Iris Sibley's story this week.
She had to wait six months in hospital before a care home
What did Mr Hunt have to say to her family?
Well, I don't want to make any kind of excuses for that.
It is terrible for Mrs Sibley but it is also very bad for the NHS
But it is not the only case of its kind.
No, and as I say, there are no excuses,
Iris's son, John, said he was pleased Mr Hunt had
recognised that his mother had been let down but he had this message
What I would like to say to Jeremy Hunt
is to admit, to have the guts to admit that the system
If we have to pay more, I'd say to Jeremy Hunt -
I'm prepared to pay more tax and I'm sure most of the country
would be too because our old people are worth it.
And the state of social care was something I raised with Mr Hunt.
The Prime Minister's been very clear.
We recognise there is a problem about the sustainability of the
social care system and that has to be addressed and we are going to do
There have been calls for more funding for the NHS in England,
including from an American health expert who advised David
He thinks the Government's current spending plans are set too low.
I have serious doubts as to whether you can have a health
care that's universal, not rationed and responsive to needs
But others say it's not just about money and getting the NHS
to be more efficient is important, with new ways of working
Mr Hunt says change is needed on many fronts.
I think it's wrong to suggest to people that these
profound challenges, such as we face with an ageing population,
are ones where there is a silver bullet that you can solve
We also need the public's help because we know that a number
of people who are seen in A could actually have their needs
dealt with in another part of the NHS.
New figures show cancelled operations in England
Further evidence that whether it's routine surgery,
A or community care, there's pressure
President Trump has hit back after a US court refused
to reinstate his temporary ban on travellers from seven
This evening, Mr Trump said there was "no doubt" he would win
in the courts and pledged additional security measures next week.
Our North America Editor, Jon Sopel, has the latest on the President's
confrontation with the legal system.
At the White House this morning, a full ceremonial welcome being laid
Even an awkward bear hug for the man he has only met once before.
The focus of the conversation was meant to be about trade,
not the subject journalists wanted to talk about.
I'm curious about yesterday's ruling in the ninth circuit court.
Has it caused you to rethink your use of executive power?
Your question was unrelated to what we're here for today
He steered clear of attacking the judges and promised
We'll be doing something very rapidly, having
You'll be seeing that sometime next week.
In addition, we will continue to go to the court process,
and ultimately I have no doubt that we'll win the particular case.
Last night, there was a furious reaction to the judgment,
with the President tweeting, in block capitals, a sure sign
THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE".
In Washington State, which brought the original case,
a mixture of defiance and "bring it on".
We have seen him in court twice and we are two for two.
We respect that the President has broad authority when it comes
to issuing executive orders, but they still have
The sudden implementation of the executive order brought chaos
Travellers from seven mainly Muslim countries were banned
from entering the US for 90 days, the entire refugee programme
suspended for 120 days, except when it comes to Syria,
and there, the suspension is indefinite.
The three Federal Appeal Court judges ruled that there is no
evidence that any alien from any country named in the order has
perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States.
The safety valve for the most vulnerable people offered no
explanation for how these waiver provisions would
And in conclusion, the judges say, competing public interests
In other words, the decision of the lower court
The next and last legal stop is the Supreme Court.
With one vacancy still to be filled, it's split evenly
between four liberal and four conservative judges.
If they were to tie, then the judgment of the lower
The President and his advisors have a tough decision to make.
Do they press on, take this to the Supreme Court
and risk another defeat, or rip up the existing executive
order, redraft it and admit that they got it wrong
The President promised during the campaign
that he would "win so much, Americans would get
This is not the story so far on his migrant ban.
Meanwhile, President Trump and his Chinese counterpart,
Xi Jinping, have held their first telephone conversation.
During the call, described as "cordial", Mr Trump agreed
to honour the so-called "One China" policy, which he'd previously
It relates to the status of the island of Taiwan,
which has its own government but which Beijing sees
The One China policy acknowledges there is only one
Chinese government and that diplomatic relations must
Our China Editor, Carrie Gracie, reports
People in Taiwan have more freedom of expression than people in China.
After 70 years of governing itself, this noisy democracy
In this animation studio, they are not just mocking
their own President but Mr Xi and Mr Trump as well.
We have 1800 missiles pointed our way but at the same time
in Taiwan we have absolute freedom to do anything we want,
so satire is one of the good things we need to push because it helps
It's threatened to retake Taiwan by force, and it sailed its aircraft
carrier past the island last month to show that it means business.
For Beijing this, the island of Taiwan,
It's the piece they say will finally reunite a nation broken up
and humiliated by colonial powers two centuries ago.
To let Taiwan float off towards independence, or even worse,
to let it become part of an American-led alliance
against China in these waters, well, that, to Beijing,
The Taiwanese navy is no match for China's.
It's the American fleet which protects Taiwan.
Back in December, it looked as if Donald Trump would go further.
He took a call from the Taiwanese President and hinted
Now, President Trump has backed down.
In his phone call with President Xi, he returned to the so-called
one China policy that Beijing insists on.
And many Taiwanese reluctantly accept the status quo.
TRANSLATION: Ideally, I would choose independence
but in the real world independence is impossible.
Messages of peace for the year ahead at Taipei's Lantern Festival.
Caught between an unpredictable America and an implacable China.
Their hopes and fears are low priority to both.
The Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is continuing his reshuffle,
following the resignation of several Shadow Cabinet ministers
and a rebellion by Labour MPs over the Brexit bill.
One of the big tests of his leadership will be
the by-elections on the 23rd February in the Labour-held
seats of Stoke-on-Trent Central and Copeland.
Our Deputy Political Editor, John Pienaar,
John Pienaar is in Hanley and he wants to know how people feel
about the by-election in Stoke-on-Trent Central.
Is Stoke going to stay a Labour city?
I think for far too long we've been taken for granted by Labour.
I'd like to think it was going to stay Labour.
They sort of work for everybody, don't they?
Whereas I don't know, the guys who are potentially going to get in,
are quite bigoted in a couple of their views.
By all accounts, the Labour candidate is pro-European.
So how does that square with 70% plus anti-European
You have been Labour, but you're switching?
You're still agonising a bit about it?
This is a really big deal in national politics, isn't it?
Is Labour's traditional support in industrial towns
like this one in Stoke, away from London and the big cities,
Well look, most people here voted to leave the European Union.
Most of the MPs here, the Labour MPs here,
voted and campaigned to stay in the European Union.
And Jeremy Corbyn, he is popular with his party members.
When it comes to the wider public, not so much.
A senior Labour MP has said that Labour here is hanging
on by its fingernails against the challenge
Messages, thousands, came in on our BBC Facebook live page.
"Jeremy Corbyn was a big election issue for Labour."
"Full of honesty, respect and integrity," says Stephen.
"Corbynites are enthusiastic, but he costs votes."
Labour is under siege in two by-elections on the same night.
Voters who never wanted Brexit are being targeted
by the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.
Will Ukip's campaigners see their leader become Stoke's new MP?
That would strike fear into Labour's Brexit-supporting heartland.
Tory campaigners are daring to dream of an historic triumph.
They ran Ukip close in Stoke, but in Copeland they feel
they can beat Labour, the first government gain
over its main opponents in a by-election in 35 years.
So Labour is fighting door to door, street to street, here in Stoke.
And far to the north, where Labour is facing
a hard slog to survive in a very different setting.
In Copeland's coastal town of Whitehaven,
Ask almost anyone, Jeremy Corbyn's past opposition to nuclear power
Though voting Labour here is an old habit.
Well, I'm going to stay with Labour, because I just think it's
And all my family has always voted Labour.
Because of the workforce at Sellafield, and what it creates
in the wider community, and what Mr Corbyn said
about nuclear power, they've got to think of themselves.
And for the long-term future of Sellafield,
Losing here or in Stoke means talk of existential crisis for Labour.
Rejected by once loyal voters who now feel left
And to see a full list of candidates for both the Stoke-on-Trent Central
and Copeland by elections, visit our website at bbc.co.uk/politics.
A brief look at some of the day's other news stories.
The UK's biggest domestic energy supplier, British Gas,
has said it will freeze its prices until the summer.
However, Scottish Power has announced that its customers
will see their bills go up, following similar moves
Concerns have been raised about the effectiveness of Britain's
naval fleet after it emerged that none of the seven attack submarines
The newer submarines, which carry cruise missiles, cost
The MOD insists some are "operationally capable".
Cocaine worth up to ?50 million has washed up on beaches
Holdalls containing over 300 kilos of the drug were found.
Detectives said it would be a "major blow to the organised
A London-based plumbing firm has lost a legal battle over whether it
should give freelance workers basic employment rights such as pensions,
Pimlico Plumbers went to the Court of Appeal after plumber Gary Smith,
who was on a self-employed contract, won a tribunal case against them.
More than 400 whales have beached on the coast of New Zealand,
one of the worst whale strandings ever seen in the country.
Volunteers in the community of Farewell Spit are racing
to save and refloat them but around 300 have
already died and time is running out for the rest.
Stranded, distressed and barely alive.
Volunteers have come from far and wide to save the whales beached
This is the third-largest mass stranding that we've recorded
in our history and so it's a very large one.
Logistically it's a massive undertaking.
The whales started stranding last night, round about ten
We were notified of that, and then this morning when they went
out and checked on them, most of the whales
I've never experienced death like this before.
For such a majestic animal it's really strange
There's a lot of death here, eh, which is a sad, sad thing, but, hey,
if we can get some of them out it's got to be a good thing.
Scientists don't know exactly why whales beach themselves.
Anybody that doesn't have a sheet over the whale,
make sure those sheets are really nice and wet, not
Rescuers tried to re-float some of the whales at high tide,
but some just turned straight back to shore.
Whale strandings in New Zealand are common.
Just two years earlier 200 whales beached here.
But this is one of the country's worst mass strandings.
It's another weekend of fierce rivalry, intense pressure
and big expectations in the Six Nations tournament.
England take on Wales tomorrow and if England win,
they will be just three games away from breaking the world record
for the most unbeaten Test matches, a title currently held
Italy take on Ireland, and Scotland play France on Sunday.
Here's our sports correspondent Joe Wilson.
Long before the bridge, there was rugby.
The journey to Wales has petrified England,
In 2013 Wales scored 30 points in Cardiff, England humbled.
The coach says it's just another city.
Yes, but in Cardiff it's named after the Welsh captain,
I think the game does mean a lot to a lot of people.
We are able to share that, hopefully we can share it
I think we're very fortunate to have a stadium that is suitable
We've experienced lights, fire, music.
England's Jones, Eddie, now expects what he calls "shenanigans".
What are the shenanigans you're prepared for?
Oh, I don't know, but, you know, they're a cunning lot,
You know, they've got goats, they've got daffodils,
Well, mischievous friendly rivalry, that's what the
It is an outlet for passion and that's exactly why England have
decided that here in Cardiff the roof should be open
for the game, allowing all that Welsh noise to escape into the sky.
Well, everyone in professional sport is trying to find an edge.
Gareth Southgate - yes, the England football manager -
was at rugby training this week, seeking a different perspective.
Well, England fly-half George Ford finished the session
and then told me he won't be in Wales in fear.
I think, as a player, if you learn to embrace it and learn
to be excited about it, I think that's the best
If you look back and you feel like you didn't enjoy it,
After their scintillating victory over Ireland last weekend,
Scotland suddenly look like the team to beat in the Six Nations.
Now it's time for the news where you are.