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Tonight at Ten - counter-terror
police take charge of the inquiry
into the suspected poisoning
of a former Russian agent
and his daughter, in Salisbury.
Sergei and Yulia Skripal are still
critically ill in hospital,
after they were found unconscious
two days ago.
It's believed the father
and daughter were captured on CCTV
shortly before being found
on a bench nearby.
Her eyes were just completely white,
wide open but just white
and frothing at the mouth.
The man went stiff, his arms stopped
moving but he was still
looking dead straight.
Military scientists are testing
samples of the substance thought
to have caused the illness,
as ministers warn that Russian state
involvement is being looked at.
Should evidence emerge that implies
then Her Majesty's government
will respond appropriately
Mr Johnson added that Russia
was a "malign and disruptive force".
Moscow said his remarks
were "wild' and "preposterous".
In Syria, the terrible suffering
of civilians who are unable to leave
the besieged suburb of Eastern
North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un,
has hinted that he's willing
to begin talks about giving
up his nuclear weapons programme.
Food companies are told to reduce
the calories in products by 20%
to deal with obesity.
And, how Picasso celebrated
the beauty of his young lover,
we visit a major new exhibition
at London's Tate Modern.
And coming up on
Sportsday on BBC News:
With it all so comfortable
Could PSG comeback against
Real Madrid in tonight's other
Champions League game to reach
the quarter finals?
Counter-terrorism officers have
taken charge of the investigation
into the suspected poisoning
of a former Russian
agent and his daughter,
in Salisbury on Sunday.
Sergei Skripal had been convicted
in Russia, 12 years ago,
of passing secrets to MI6.
He and his daughter Yulia are both
critically ill and military
scientists are testing samples
of a substance which may have
caused their illness.
The Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
has promised a robust response,
if there's conclusive evidence that
Russia was involved.
Our first report tonight
is by our home affairs correspondent
Tom Symonds in Salisbury.
A father and a daughter apparently
struck down in public on a Sunday
afternoon in Salisbury.
The BBC revealed today that
Yulia Skripal had been
visiting her father Sergei
from Russia when it happened.
They were left fighting
for their lives.
Her eyes were just completely white,
they were wide open but just white
and frothing at the mouth.
And the man went stiff,
his arms stopped moving,
but he was still looking dead
CCTV images obtained by the BBC
appeared to show Mr Skripal
and his daughter walking together
at 15:47 on Sunday afternoon.
They were heading for a small park
surrounded by shops in the centre
of Salisbury called The Maltings.
The camera which captured
these pictures is yards
from where they were found.
Police were called at 4:15pm
when people reported the pair
were unconscious on a park bench.
Last night Zizzi, an Italian
restaurant nearby, was sealed
by police, followed today by a local
pub, Bishop's Mill.
Did someone slip something
into their food or drink?
For the police this is a highly
sensitive and potentially
not least for the officers involved.
The key question of course
is what was the substance that left
a father and his daughter in such
a terrible condition on the park
bench covered by the tent behind me?
There will be toxicology reports
prepared but we understand that
several police officers
were admitted to hospital,
one has been kept in.
Symptoms include breathing
difficulties and itchy eyes.
Experts at the research
facility Porton Down are now
involved, testing for a wide
range of substances.
From things that are chemically
toxic to things that
are radiological such
as was used against Litvinenko.
I think people will have an open
mind, they will be looking
at what is in the environment,
what is on the clothing,
on the skin of the people and also
what is in blood and urine
and any other samples.
So far the tiny Wiltshire Police
Force has led the investigation
but that changed today
in a significant department.
This afternoon the Metropolitan
Police have confirmed that,
due to the unusual circumstances,
the counterterrorism network will be
leading this investigation as it has
the specialist capability
and expertise to do so.
After all, as the Foreign Secretary
made clear in Parliament this
afternoon, this incident could have
implications for Britain's
relationship with Russia.
Should evidence emerge that implies
then Her Majesty's government
will respond appropriately
Sergei Skripal was arrested in 2004,
accused of spying for MI6,
convicted, but in 2010 handed over
to Britain as part of a spy swap.
Sergei Skripal's wife,
older brother and son have
died in recent years -
the family believe in
He has been living quietly here,
vigilant and fearful
of Russian intelligence,
his relatives said,
but under his own name.
He would not have been hard to find.
Tom Symonds, BBC News, Salisbury.
In Moscow, the Russian government
has vehemently denied any
suggestion of involvement,
and promised to cooperate
with the inquiry if asked.
A foreign ministry spokesman accused
Boris Johnson of making "wild"
and "preposterous" statements,
and the Russian ambassador in London
accused the British media
of trying to demonise Russia,
as our correspondent Steve Rosenberg
reports from Moscow.
It sounds chillingly familiar.
Russia under suspicion of planning
and executing an attack,
2,000 miles away, in Britain.
In 2006, the target was former
Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko,
murdered in London.
The man Britain believes
poisoned him is Andrei Lugovoy.
Today, he dismissed claims
that Moscow had attacked
Sergei Skripal as propaganda.
they say he was poisoned?
Perhaps he poisoned himself
or had a heart attack.
You talk about propaganda,
but what about Alexander Litvinenko?
The inquiry in Britain
into his death found that
you had poisoned him,
probably on the orders
of Vladimir Putin.
There was no
into Litvinenko's death.
There was an attempt to accuse
Russia and a Russian citizen,
me, of poisoning him
in Britain with polonium.
As for the Kremlin, well,
it's been saying very little today
about Sergei Skripal.
President Putin's spokesman told me
earlier, "We have no information
about what happened.
We cannot comment."
Although he did add,
it was a "tragic situation."
But catching spies has become one
of Vladimir Putin's priorities.
Yesterday, the former KGB officer
praised Russia's security service
for uncovering 397 spies last year.
The Kremlin leader has never
hidden his contempt for those
who betray the Motherland for money.
"Traitors will kick
the bucket, trust me."
"These people betrayed their
friends, their brothers in arms.
Whatever they got in exchange
for it, those 30 pieces
of silver they were given,
they will choke on them."
Yet Sergei Skripal wasn't an obvious
target for the Kremlin.
There are certain rules
that the secret services keep to.
When there's an exchange of spies,
the matter is considered closed.
Skripal had been exchanged,
Russia had no problem with him.
Moscow denies any connection,
but a former double agent,
collapsing in Britain,
it can only add to the chill in
relations between the UK and Russia.
Steve Rosenberg, BBC News, Moscow.
As we've heard, the man
at the centre of the investigation,
Sergei Skripal, arrived in the UK
in 2010, as part of
an exchange of spies.
He was a former colonel in Russian
And Mr Skripal's relatives have told
the BBC that he believed Russia's
special services could come
after him at any time.
Our security correspondent
Gordon Corera examines
whether the signs so far point
to a state-sponsored
Does the long arm of the Kremlin
reach all the way from Moscow
to Salisbury in Wiltshire?
And if the attack on Sergei Skripal
did come from Russia, why?
After being released from jail,
Skripal had spent the last eight
years living quietly in Salisbury
but he still had enemies.
Sergei Skripal had been imprisoned
in Russia for selling secrets
to British intelligence here at MI6.
It's claimed he provided
the identity of hundreds of Russians
operating undercover in Europe.
Even though he had been pardoned
as part of a spy swap,
his former colleagues
would still have regarded
him as a traitor.
The fact that he blew a whole range
of Russian agents, there may be
personal animosities there.
The fact that he was a British spy,
a former member of the Russian
military, in most Russians' minds
actually it would categorise
him as a traitor.
So yes, there would have been,
there are people there
delighted to see him dead.
No one yet is confirming that Moscow
was involved but there have been
other incidents involving Russians
in the UK.
As we have heard, most famously
another former Russian spy,
poisoned in London's Mayfair.
And there have been other figures
whose deaths have aroused suspicions
like Badri Patarkatsishvili.
Alexander Perepilichny died
suddenly jogging in Surrey.
One test revealed traces of a rare
toxin in his stomach
and a businessman campaigning
over his death says not enough has
been done to deter Russia.
Based on the reaction of the British
government to the murderer
in Mayfair using nuclear material
with Alexander Litvinenko,
which has nothing, it basically gave
a green light to Vladimir Putin
that he could do
whatever he wants here.
And he has been doing whatever
he wants here for quite awhile.
It is still too early to be sure
this investigation will go.
But if the trail does connect
Salisbury to Moscow,
then the pressure will be
on the British
government to respond.
Gordon is here, how close are we to
finding out what this substance was?
Tests have been going on and it is
possible they may have some kind of
preliminary assessment of what it
might be. But officials know, they
are not saying until they are sure.
One possibility it was some kind of
nerve agent. Some counts about
eyewitness of foaming and voluntary
movements, it might fit above. It
was a nerve agent used on the Korean
leader's half brother. It is usually
a spray. It could be a poison or
tucks in ingested in a drink. With
Alexander Litvinenko, it was a cup
of tea. That might be harder to do
surreptitiously. If it is some kind
of unusual toxin or some kind of
chemical weapons, that may point to
a state being behind and potentially
a small group of states who have
that capability. So it could be a
very important piece of the puzzle.
Ministers will be updated on the
latest are at a meeting of the
Cabinet Office emergency committee
Cobra which is taking place tomorrow
morning chaired by the Home
Thank you very much for
In Syria, the intense
bombardment of rebel-held
territory in Eastern Ghouta,
has left around 800 civilians dead
over the past fortnight,
according to local activists.
The besieged enclave is the last
area under rebel control
near the capital Damascus.
The Russian military, which supports
the Syrian government,
has offered civilians what it
calls "safe passage".
But the UN says some
are being prevented
from leaving by rebel fighters,
as our Middle East editor
Jeremy Bowen reports and, a warning,
there are some graphic images
from the start.
It was another day in the life
and death of Eastern Ghouta.
The BBC's been following
Dr Amani Ballour, a paediatrician
in an under ground hospital,
through the worst days of attacks.
This was filmed for the BBC,
the Syrian government won't allow
us into the enclave.
Dr Amani and her colleagues
were dealing with the results
of an air strike on a market,
more than 20 dead and 90 injured.
The hospital is stuffed
with injured people,
including women and children.
Their injuries include brain damage,
fractured and amputated limbs.
A child's arm was amputated.
Some children were seriously
wounded, others were killed.
Dr Amani examined a boy who'd been
brought in, presumed dead -
she found a pulse.
They went to work to
get him to breathe.
He was rushed into intensive care,
but it was a false hope,
a few hours later he was dead.
In a siege surrounded
by casualties, the world shrinks
to a few essentials.
The most important is survival -
living through this day
to have the chance to start another.
On the battlefield the Syrian
army, helped by Russia,
has been advancing.
Resistance seems to be collapsing.
The trucks that took
aid into the enclave
were forced out by shelling,
with ten out of 46 still unloaded.
UN aid workers said civilians
were terrified, angry
and many wanted to get
out, but couldn't.
They feel that they're
There are snipers sitting
at the checkpoint exit,
the corridor that is there.
They're very unhappy
with their own armed groups inside,
but there is also this other
narrative, which is very strong
amongst the elders and the leaders,
is that this is our place,
we're not moving out from here.
A Russian general, Yuri Yevtushenko,
said his men would guaranteed
the safety of civilians who wanted
to get out, and he said fighters
could leave with their personal
weapons and immunity.
Russian troops are very visible
around the war zone.
Moscow has given the Syrian army
the fire power to break
into rebel strongholds.
On the front-line, around
Eastern Ghouta, most
of the troops were Syrian,
but the Russians were
there, alongside them.
Russia is now the most important
foreign power in this war.
President Putin was given equal
billing with President
Assad in this position.
The Russians are preparing
for the day after.
It looks as if the end game
is approaching for the armed
opposition in Eastern Ghouta.
Elsewhere in the country,
rebels still control territory,
though not nearly as much as before.
And fighting goes on, It's
particularly fierce at the moment up
near the Turkish border.
Syria's war is changing,
but it's not ending.
Jeremy Bowen, BBC News, Damascus.
After months of growing tensions
on the Korean peninsula,
North Korea's leader,
Kim Jong-un, has hinted
he is willing to start talks
about dismantling his nuclear
weapons, if his country's
safety can be guaranteed.
He's agreed to meet the South Korean
leader at a summit next month,
the first meeting of its kind
for more than a decade.
Laura Bicker, is in Seoul.
Laura, this does seem to represent a
significant change in tone. What do
you make of it?
Well not only is Kim
Jong-un willing to discuss getting
rid of his nuclear weapons he's
willing to do so with the United
States and he said he will halt any
missile tests while those talks take
place These are extraordinary
announcements. They come from a
dinner in Pyongyang hosted by Kim
Jong-un where he welcomed ministers
from South Korea for the first time.
Those delegates will travel from
here in Seoul to Washington to brief
the Trump administration. The US
President believes its his policy of
maximum pressure, those
international sanctions, that has
forced Kim Jong-un to the table. It
may well be that Pyongyang is
running out of cash, but it could
also be that Kim Jong-un is lying,
trying to buy time to continue to
build his missile programme. Or it
could be that the young leader is
looking for something that his
father and grandfather failed to
achieve, a peace treaty with the
South. Whatever the motivation
behind this change of heart,
ministers here in Seoul say they are
dealing with the North with clear
eyes, but they are also very aware
of the effects of war on this
peninsula and they're willing to go
wherever these talks may lead them.
Laura, many thanks for the latest
there. Laura Bicker, our
correspondent in South Korea.
Food companies have been told
to reduce the calories
in their products, or face
legislation if they fail to comply.
The target of a 20% reduction,
over the next five years,
is the latest attempt to tackle
the problem of obesity,
which is costing the NHS
an estimated £6 billion a year.
Public health officials are also
recommending new reduced calorie
limits for meal times,
as our health editor,
Hugh Pym, explains.
It's time for action and food
companies must cut calories.
That's the demand from public health
chiefs, who want to see new recipes,
smaller portions or more effort
to move customers
to healthy options.
Here's the obesity problem.
A child's diet might include
breakfast with nearly 500 calories.
A packed lunch with more than 1,000.
An after-school snack at around 250
and pasta and a pudding for dinner,
with more than 800 calories.
But that's nearly 600
above the recommended limit
for children, which is like eating
an extra meal a day.
But with an ice cream
van parked outside this
school in Salford today,
parents told us it wasn't easy
keeping their children's
diets under control.
Well, look, there's an ice cream van
right now outside the school.
everywhere, isn't there?
So it's hard, but I do try.
If children want an ice
cream, they just want
an ice cream, don't they?
Kids are just going in McDonald's
and eating burgers and stuff,
and even I don't even
know what calories are
in them, to be fair.
McDonalds, in fact, is one
of the big companies which has
agreed to a calorie cutting plan
for its meals and it's
backed a campaign telling
customers what they can get
if they want to stick
to a 600 calorie limit.
Subway is another company
publicising nutritional information
and says all its individual items
are under 600 calories.
Do you acknowledge that your
company and others have
contributed to this problem?
I think with the choice that
customers have today,
there is so much choice
on the high street.
Four out of ten Subs
purchased every single week
is from our low-fat range.
There's still a lot of detail
to be worked out on how
the calorie reduction plan
will work in practice.
The fast-food chains
and supermarkets have until 2024
to deliver the 20% cut.
So the question arises, what happens
if things aren't on track?
So what we need to see is regular,
transparent reporting so we can see
which parts of industry
are playing their role
and who's lagging behind.
If change doesn't happen fast
enough, we need the government
to introduce legislation
to make this mandatory.
There's already a sugar
reduction plan for cakes
and other sweet items.
That has to deliver by 2020.
But the new calorie initiative
for other food runs
four years beyond that.
Some say that's not fast enough
to tackle what's been called
an obesity epidemic.
Hugh Pym, BBC News.
A brief look at some
of the day's other news stories.
The body of a woman,
who'd been stabbed, has been found
in her family home in south-west
The discovery was made
an hour after the bodies
of her husband and two boys,
aged seven and ten,
were discovered at the foot
of cliffs in East Sussex.
Police say they're not looking
for anyone else in connection
with the investigation.
A lorry driver has been
convicted of causing
the deaths of eight people
in a crash on the M1,
near Milton Keynes, last August.
Ryszard Masierak had stopped
in the inside lane for 12 minutes
when a second lorry and a minibus
collided with his vehicle.
The threat of plastic pollution
in the world's oceans has
been highlighted again,
this time by a British diver.
Rich Horner filmed himself swimming
through large quantities
of plastic waste off the coast
of the Indonesian island of Bali.
The Balinese authorities
have previously warned
about the problem and its effect
on the tourist industry.
Thousands of people in parts
of the UK have spent a fourth day
without water after pipes that froze
last week burst as temperatures
rose at the weekend.
Water companies have continued work
to restore supplies to homes
and businesses in parts of London,
Kent, Sussex and parts of Wales.
The industry regulator, Ofwat,
said suppliers had "fallen well
short" on their forward planning.
Emma Simpson, reports.
A Sussex country pub with lots
of beer, but no running water.
I'm really sorry.
That's all right.
They've been saying sorry
to customers since Saturday,
200 lost bookings, and counting.
How much is this all
going to cost you?
Probably £6,000, £7,000 so far.
we can't open and we've lost food.
We've lost our revenue, you know.
Down the road, yet more emergency
supplies for households in need.
Oh, we're managing.
You know, we're British, aren't we!
They were helping themselves in west
Wales, and there are still thousands
without water in London.
Here's the problem -
just one of many burst pipes
still being repaired.
No quick-fix, but
progress is being made.
The big freeze has put an enormous
strain on the water network,
but critics say the water companies
should be investing much
more in improving ageing
infrastructure and making
the system more resilient.
South East Water will invest
£450 million into its infrastructure
from 2015 to 2020.
We're dealing with an unprecedented
event here due to the weather,
where we've seen a 25% increase
in burst and water demand
over a couple of days.
Back at the pub, the chef's
cleaning, not cooking.
They just want to know
when they can re-open.
This ale won't keep
if it's not soon, yet more
money being poured away.
Emma Simpson, BBC News, Wadhurst.
A former private investigator,
engaged by the Sunday Times
and other media, has spoken
for the first time about the extent
of the criminal activity
he was involved in while obtaining
information for the papers.
John Ford told the BBC that hundreds
of members of the public and well
over a dozen leading politicians,
including Tony Blair and Gordon
Brown, were among his targets.
His admissions come days
after the Government
abandoned the second phase
of the Leveson Inquiry
into press standards.
Our media editor, Amol
Rajan, has the story.
I did their phones,
I did their mobiles,
I did their bank accounts.
I stole their rubbish.
For 15 years, John Ford was engaged
by The Sunday Times.
Now, for the first time,
he's speaking out about what he did,
including targeting Tony Blair
and Gordon Brown.
He received a police caution
for fraud in the course of his work.
As a private investigator,
he earned up to £40,000 a year.
There were a lot of people who say
that Britain's newspapers for many
years harboured huge and industrial
scale criminal activity.
Does your experience, working
for them, suggest that's true?
Absolutely, and I was at
the forefront of it,
I'm ashamed to say.
For almost two centuries,
The Sunday Times has been
an ornament to British journalism,
launching many of the most famous
campaigns and names in the trade.
Like other titles owned
by Rupert Murdoch, it was involved
in the Leveson Inquiry
into press ethnics.
Last week the Government
finally scrapped phase two
of the Leveson Inquiry,
which was due to look at allegations
of police corruption and failures
of corporate governance
at Murdoch's News International
and other media organisations.
The Government and newspapers argue
it would be an expensive distraction
from the real challenges
facing the industry.
But together with Hacked Off,
the group campaigniing
for victims of press abuse,
John Ford wants to see
phase two happen.
How many members of
the British Cabinet in that
New Labour period, after 1997,
do you think you targeted?
15 to 20.
Can you describe the nature
of your attacks on members
of the British Cabinet?
Fishing expeditions often.
What is the nature of the fishing
expeditions that you conducted
on the British Cabinet?
Hundreds of telephone interceptions,
hundreds of bank interceptions.
Utilities, I've been
I've stolen rubbish.
I mean, I'm afraid
the list is endless.
Not all that John Ford did
was illegal, some of it may have
been in the public interest.
In a statement, a spokesperson
for The Sunday Times said...
The Sunday Times has also said "it
has always been its expectation
and practice that its contractors
work within the law."
The Government says that we need
to move on and fight the next
battle, but with Sir Brian Leveson
and victims of press
abuse saying that we need
phase two of his inquiry,
Fleet Street's past still casts
a long shadow over its future.
You're aware clearly that you're
confessing, as it were,
to large scale criminality?
What do you think are likely to be
the legal repercussions for you now?
I don't know.
But as far as whatever
is coming my way, I'm ready
to accept it because what I want
is my conscience to be clear.
Amol Rajan, BBC News.
Picasso's young lover,
inspired some of his most celebrated
works of art.
A new exhibition, at
London's Tate Modern,
focuses on Picasso's work
from the year 1932
and includes The Dream,
and Nude In A Black Armchair.
One of Picasso's portraits
of Walter sold recently
for nearly £50 million.
Our arts correspondent, David
Sillito, reports from Tate Modern.
There's a lot of emotion in this
exhibition. It's kind of into lust
and into life. There's also drama.
Normally a Tate show would be a
retrospective of a life's work, but
this is just one year of Picassos.
That year is 1932. This is Picasso
and this is his wife Olga. But when
you look at the paintings, it's
Wherever you look you see the same
shock of blonde hair, the same
profile. Here she is again. The same
hair, the same profile. We're not
looking at Picasso's wife here
though, this is Marie-Theres Walter.
This is her granddaughter, Diana.
Two generations may have passed, but
I think you can probably see a
certain family likeness.
think of, it as a granddaughter,
when I walk in an exhibition like
this, is that it's not a great
artist it's a an accounter.
everywhere. An obsession. Picasso
was approaching 50 when the affair
began. Marie-Therese was a teenager.
She was very young when she met
She was 17-and-a-half!
And she's accepting the idea to see
him again the following day. So she
was young, but she was also
adventurous. If a relationship can
bring you to an extraordinary level
of life experience, I could never
These days we've grown
used to this new way of seeing. A
-Therese Picasso can go for £100
million. That is the art market.
This is the story of the man and the
women behind the paintings. David
Sillito, BBC News.
Newsnight is coming up on BBC Two.
Here's Kirsty Wark.
Tonight, as a former Russian double
agent and his daughter remain
critically ill in hospital, our
diplomatic editor has the latest on
Join me now on BBC Two.