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Tonight at Ten:
Moscow is set to ignore the midnight
deadline to explain how a Russian
poison was used to attack
a former spy.
Sergei Skripal and his
daughter were poisoned
in Salisbury over a week ago -
the Russians have denied any
involvement in what happened.
The police investigation
in Salisbury is being extended
and Scotland Yard warns it
will take many more weeks.
The public are going to continue
see a great deal of police activity
in and around the city, including
cordons being erected.
But don't be alarmed, it is
necessary as part of this major
As officers appeal for witnesses
and identify the Skripals' red BMW,
the Government's warnings to Russia
get a sharp response.
We will make sure our response -
as I indicated to the House last
week - is commensurate but robust.
Russia is not a country to be spoken
into in the language of ultimatums.
I think it is high time the United
Kingdom learned that.
We'll be reporting from Moscow
and from Salisbury, as the tensions
deepen between Britain and Russia.
Just over a year after his
appointment, Rex Tillerson is sacked
as US Secretary of State.
President Trump says they had
areas of disagreement.
Rex and I have been talking about
this for a long time. We got along
actually quite well, but we
disagreed on things.
In his Spring
statement, the Chancellor reveals
forecasts for higher growth
and lower inflation and debt
and hints at possible spending
rises in the future.
And Manchester United are out
of the Champions League after losing
at Old Trafford tonight.
And coming up on Sportsday:
The big race of the opening day
of the Cheltenham festival,
the Champions Hurdle,
was won by favourite
Buveur D'Air, who now joins some
of jump racing's greats.
There are two hours left
to the deadline announced
by Theresa May for Moscow
to explain how a nerve agent
probably made in Russia
was used to attack a former
spy and his daughter.
Sergei Skripal and his daughter
Yulia were taken ill over
a week ago in Salisbury.
The Kremlin said today it would not
cooperate with any investigation
until it was given a sample
of the substance involved.
As tensions deepened
between London and Moscow,
Scotland Yard gave more details
of the attack and appealed
for more witnesses.
Our first report tonight
is from our diplomatic
correspondent, James Landale
It began as a brutal attack
on the streets of Salisbury,
the poisoning of a former Russian
and his daughter.
But it's become tonight
a global diplomatic row,
with Britain in
confrontation with Moscow
and looking for allies.
The Kremlin has just two
hours left to explain
what role it played
To say how a nerve agent
developed in Russia ended up
And if midnight passes without that
explanation, the Government is
promising a robust
and expensive response.
This is a brazen attempt to murder
innocent people on UK soil.
Policeman still in hospital,
overwhelmingly likely or highly
likely the Russian state
was involved, and the use of this
nerve agent would represent
the first use of nerve agents
on the continent of Europe
since the Second World War.
As part of a huge diplomatic push,
British officials told the chemical
weapons watchdog in the Netherlands
that Russia was implicated
in the use of a nerve
agent on British soil.
The Foreign Secretary called his EU
expressions of support
from France, Germany,
the European Commission and Nato.
This afternoon Theresa May spoke
to Donald Trump, who agreed
with her that Russian must provide
unambiguous answers about how this
weapon came to be used in Britain.
Even before the call,
the President acknowledged
Theresa May is going to be
speaking to me today.
It sounds to me like they believe
it was Russia and I would certainly
take that finding as fact.
As soon as we get the facts
straight, if we agree with them,
we will condemn Russia or whoever
it may be.
Russia is already subject
to sanctions because of its
interventions in Ukraine and Crimea.
Ministers insist these damage
Russia's economy, but their impact
on Moscow's behaviour is doubtful.
Crucially, these are largely EU
sanctions, the UK can't
impose them on its own.
So, what unilateral options
is the Government considering?
Well, some of Russia's 58 diplomats
in London could be expelled but that
might provoke a tit-for-tat
expulsion of British diplomats.
Wealthy Russians in London
with links to the Kremlin could face
financial sanctions and travel bans,
but who and how?
There could be tougher laws to crack
down on Russian officials guilty
of human rights abuses,
and Russian TV stations
like RT could be targeted.
The media regulator has already
warned it could lose its licence.
Here at the Foreign Office,
they are also investing a lot
of effort and diplomacy in trying
to bring international
pressure to bear on Russia,
but the bar is high.
Russia has a veto at the UN and some
EU countries are reluctant
to contemplate yet more sanctions.
This evening the Russian Embassy
said Moscow would not respond to
Britain's ultimatum unless it was
given samples of the nerve agent.
As diplomats promised retaliation
against any punitive action.
Russia is not a country to be spoken
to in the language of ultimatums.
I think it is high time
the United Kingdom learned that.
Tonight, the investigation
continues in Salisbury.
Tomorrow the diplomatic
war of words will be
replaced by deeds,
and outright confrontation.
James Landale, BBC News.
Russia has repeated its denial
of any involvement in
the nerve agent attack.
The country's Foreign Minister,
Sergei Lavrov, dismissed
the accusation, while the Russian
Embassy in London warned
that the threat of sanctions
by Britain would be met
with a response.
Our correspondent Sarah Rainsford
reports from Moscow.
Accused of a crime many
miles from here, under
pressure to explain a
chemical attack that
But today the Kremlin
has remained silent.
The Foreign Minister,
though, was in full
Sergey Lavrov rejected
Britain's 24 hour ultimatum
to respond to the claim that
Moscow used a nerve agent.
Russia should get ten
days, he said, accusing
Britain of flouting the chemical
And when I asked about the actual
charge the minister
called that nonsense.
Russia is not guilty.
Russia is ready to co-operate
In accordance with the Convention
on the Prohibition
of chemical weapons if the UK
finally decides to fulfil its
obligations under international law
within that document.
Russia's also demanding
a sample of the substance
used in the attack to
conduct its own tests.
The UK has identified it
as Novichok, which the BBC believes
was once produced here
in a secret Soviet programme.
Reports in Moscow say any
stockpiles were destroyed
So when the British Ambassador
was called to the Foreign Ministry,
Moscow says he came to hear
its protest at a sordid attempt
to discredit this country.
I reiterated the points
made by Prime Minister
May that we expect by the end
of today an account from the Russian
state as to how this material came
to be used in Salisbury.
Russia has always insisted
it had nothing to do
with the poisoning
Salisbury and that position clearly
has not changed even with the threat
After all this is a country
that's been living under
international sanctions for some
time, linked to its actions in
Those actions have not weakened
President Putin politically
If anything, they have
made him stronger.
Moscow then is in no mood
for ultimatums and it
will continue to insist
Sarah Rainsford, BBC News, Moscow.
Scotland Yard has given further
details about the movements
of Sergei Skripal and his daughter
Yulia in the hours before
they became critically ill.
say the investigation
will take many weeks,
but the prime focus
is discovering exactly how
the poison was administered.
Our home affairs correspondent
Daniel Sandford has
the latest from Salisbury.
This evening, with nerve agent
contamination still a huge concern,
police were working at the pound
where Sergei Skripal's car was found
after being towed away
from Salisbury town centre.
Britain's most senior
counter-terrorism detective warning
today that the complex operation
in the city will last many weeks.
We are sifting and assessing
all evidence available
and we are exploring
all investigative avenues,
this includes extensive CCTV footage
from across the city and over 380
exhibits so far.
Detectives now believe Yulia Skripal
arrived at Heathrow Airport
from Russia on the afternoon
of Saturday, 3rd March.
The next day, the day of the attack,
she and her father Sergei drove
into Salisbury in this red BMW.
Police are asking anyone who saw
the car between 1.00pm and 1.45pm
that Sunday to come forward.
At 1.40pm that afternoon they parked
on the upper deck of the Sainsbury's
car park, from where they walked
past a small park to the Mill pub.
After a drink they headed
to the Zizzi restaurant,
where they were between
2.20pm and 3.35pm.
They then headed back
to the park where, at 4.15pm,
they were found desperately ill
on a bench.
Today, police said Detective
Sergeant Nick Bailey,
who also became seriously ill
after getting contaminated,
was making good progress.
The two people targeted
in the attack, Yulia
and Sergei Skripal,
are still in intensive care
here in Salisbury Hospital,
were staff are having to use special
precautions because of
the military grade nerve agent.
They're both in a critical
condition, but they are both
still stable, which means they're
not getting significantly worse.
I understand that she is doing
slightly better than he is.
We still don't know if detectives
have a specific suspect in this
unique and challenging
investigation, they said
they wouldn't be making that
public at this stage.
BBC News, Salisbury.
In a moment the latest
from our correspondents in Moscow
and in Downing Street,
but first our security correspondent
Gordon Corera is with me.
A sense of how challenging this
investigation is now?
It has been a
very challenging investigation, more
challenging I'm told even than a
counter terrorism investigation,
because of the the forensics and the
contamination. It was only on
Saturday night that they identified
the nerve agent and hence the
warnings to the public. And we got a
sense of broadening line of inquiry
for the police. There have been
questions about deaths of Russians
in the last few years. Today the
Home Secretary said she had asked
the police and MI5 to look at those
to see if there was suspicions. In
the afternoon we learned the police
were investigating what they called
an unexplained death in New Malden
south of London. We understand that
is Nicholai Glushakov. He was a
Russian businessman and a friend of
Boris Berezovsky, a critic of
Vladimir Putin, in turn whose death
is considered suspicious. There is
no sign at the moment that this
death is suspicion and it could be
entirely natural causes, but you get
the sense from the way the police
are treating it, that they feel they
have got to take it seriously,
because of this changing context of
what might be possible, but that
challenging information in Salisbury
is certainly the main focus.
Our correspondent is in Moscow. This
deadline is approaching, we have had
a sense of response in Moscow. What
is your reading of things there?
Well, I think there is no sense that
Russia is planning to comply with
that deadline. We have heard unless
London hands over a sample of nerve
agent it says was used, then Russia
will ignore this deadline. If there
are any lights on there in the
Kremlin, it is not people worrying
about that deadline. But what we
have heard is if there are sanctions
from the UK, then Russia will
respond to that. Specifically on one
thing, the Foreign Ministry said
that if the pro-Kremlin RT were to
be closed in the UK, no British
media would remain working in
Russia. Now, beyond that, she was
also on television here tonight
reminding viewers of Vladimir
Putin's recent speech when he
revealed all the new nuclear weapons
that Russia has in itarsenal after
that it said no one should issue
rush with ultimatums.
Thank you. Now
live to Downing Street and our
diplomatic correspondent. Once this
deadline has passed, what is your
sense of what the next the 24 hours
Well, tomorrow, the
Prime Minister will convene her
national Security Council and be
briefed on the investigation and the
expected lack of Russian response.
She and her ministers will decide
how robust they wish to be in their
response to what they see as
Russia's involvement in the
Salisbury attack. Those decisions
have yet to be made. But we can
detect I think some patterns. One, I
think the Government is determined
to make sure this response is far
more robust than the response given
to the murder of Alexander
Litvinenko more than a decade ago.
Second, I think tomorrow will be
very much the first stage of what is
going to be a staged response and
the focus tomorrow will be on the UK
domestic decisions, the action that
Britain can take. We are talking
expulsion of diplomats and bans on
Russians who have wealth here and
then the question will be how Russia
responds. The Russian Embassy here
in the UK has just said, look, if
those calling for Russian diplomats
to be expelled don't care about
British diplomats in Moscow.
Some of the day's other news.
In the biggest change yet
for the Trump administration,
the President has sacked his
Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson,
following a series
of public disagreements.
Mr Trump announced his decision
on social media and told reporters
that he and Mr Tillerson had
a "different mindset"
on some key issues,
including the nuclear
deal with Iran.
The Director of the CIA,
Mike Pompeo, has been named
as Mr Tillerson's replacement,
as our North America
editor, Jon Sopel, reports.
After a long trip to Africa
glad-handing and promoting the US,
Rex Tillerson flew back
to Washington overnight.
But unbeknown to him, the President
had signed his death warrant,
and it would be death by tweet.
"Mike Pompeo, director
of the CIA, will become our
new Secretary of State.
He'll do a fantastic job.
Thank you to Rex Tillerson
for his service."
But Tillerson isn't on Twitter,
so excruciatingly it fell
to his Chief of Staff to inform him
of his demise.
There was no contact
from the White House,
only this afterwards
from the President.
I think Rex will be much
happier now, but I really
appreciate his service.
Happier, he didn't seem it.
In his farewell statement, he never
mentioned Donald Trump by name,
didn't thank him or wish him luck.
Instead, there were these
pointed remarks on Russia.
Much work remains to respond
to the troubling behaviour
and actions on the part
of the Russian government.
Russia must assess carefully
as to how its actions
are in the best interests
of the Russian people,
and of the world more broadly.
I, Rex Wayne Tillerson
do solemnly swear...
It was all so different
when he was sworn in,
then seen as one of the grown-ups
of the administration.
But his fate was probably
sealed last October,
when it was reported he called
Donald Trump "a moron", an
accusation he didn't exactly deny.
I'm not going to deal
with petty stuff like that.
I mean, this is what I don't
understand about Washington.
Again, you know, I'm
not from this place,
but the places I come from,
we don't deal with that
kind of petty nonsense.
Then there was the public
undermining of the Secretary
of State by the President,
sending family to do work that
would normally be done
by America's chief diplomat,
and public shaming
on Twitter, like this.
There's not much love lost
between Donald Trump
and Rex Tillerson, they disagreed
on policy and didn't much
like each other personally.
Mike Pompeo will be much more
to Donald Trump's taste and it's
vital they do get on,
given the importance
of subjects like North Korea.
But will he be the man
who says to the President -
I think you're wrong,
as Rex Tillerson did?
Tillerson was isolated trapessing
around the world with little
support in Washington.
In his previous life,
the former CEO of of Exxon
was a corporate titan,
but he's now political road kill.
Surely the place with
the lowest life expectancy
anywhere in the world,-
being a member of the
Another senior figure
who didn't smell the coffee.
Jon Sopel, BBC News, Washington.
The Chancellor, Philip Hammond,
has delivered his spring statement,
insisting there's light at the end
of the tunnel for the UK economy
and hinted at possible increases
in public spending later this year.
The Office for Budget
Responsibility's growth forecast
for this year has been increased
modestly by 0.1% to 1.4%.
And Government borrowing will be
lower this year than expected.
The OBR now forecasts it
will be £45.2 billion,
which could give the Chancellor
a potential £5 billion
for extra spending.
But the OBR nonetheless downgraded
its forecasts for 2021 and 2022
and Labour accused the Chancellor
of "astounding complacency", given
the pressures on public services.
Our political editor,
Laura Kuenssberg, has the details.
Is there anybody out there?
Number Eleven didn't want us to pay
that much attention.
No fuss, no frills.
Do you have good
news today, Chancellor?
Only the Chancellor
slipping off to work.
the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
But what was this, a cheery
Philip Hammond rushing to his place?
If there are any Eeyores
in the chamber, they're over there.
I, meanwhile, am at my most
positively Tigger-like today.
Not much has changed
from the world outside.
True, the economy will grow
a little bit faster.
The debt will start to fall, just.
The day to day deficit,
remember that, it's gone.
But compared to other countries,
the economy is sluggish
and slow, only a hint
of easing off months away.
If, in the autumn, the public
finances continue to reflect
the improvements that today's report
hints at then, in accordance
with our balanced approach,
I would have capacity to enable
in public spending.
That might have delighted his side.
But Labour accused him of not
being in the real world.
Hasn't he listened to the doctors,
the nurses, the teachers,
the police officers,
the carers and even his own
councillors, they're telling him
they can't wait for the next Budget.
They're telling him to act now.
But is he listening?
This is the eighth year,
the eighth year in a row
when a Conservative Chancellor has
said to the public that dealing
with the accounts is more important
than what they might feel they need.
Well, I hear what you're saying,
Laura, but the facts
speak for themselves.
I've put £11 billion -
this is just what I've done,
since I've been Chancellor -
£11 billion additionally into public
spending in 2018/19 and have
promised to put more
into the National Health Service
this year if we get a deal on pay.
Many of your colleagues now believe
that the evidence is overwhelming
for more money to go
into the NHS in the longer term?
Well, the evidence is
clearly there that our
population is getting older.
That technology is developing
in a way that makes more and more
and indeed desirable
in the health service,
and that does represent
a continuous upward pressure.
Is the Cabinet at the moment
discussing how to find more money
for the health service,
as some of your
colleagues have told me?
Well, this is my responsibility
to look at these things,
but of course we look
at all these issues.
As we approach the Budget
in the autumn and then
the spending review in 2019,
of course we will look at all these
pressures across the piece.
Not good enough for these opponents.
This is a Chancellor that's
asleep at the wheel.
He really had to show today
he was prepared to take action.
There was nothing in
that statement that
He has dispelled some
of the gloom about the economy
by giving statistics
about employment, growth,
output, debt etc.
What the Chancellor should have
done, I think, is to be much more
open and honest with the public
and say there is no more public
money for public services,
which is very badly needed, and
therefore we are going to have
to have an increase
in taxation to pay for it.
Not admissions the Government
is ready to make.
Hard choices that will
linger long after today.
Along with the Brexit bill, revealed
to be hanging around until 2064.
Spring has not yet really sprung.
Laura Kuenssberg, BBC
While Philip Hammond spoke
of a "turning point"
for the economy, the Organisation
for Economic Co-Operation
and Development, the OECD, was less
confident about the UK's prospects.
Our economics editor, Kamal Ahmed,
is here to look at the figures.
How would you characterise that
Certainly, Huw, the
rhetoric very positive. I think the
figures rather more mixed. Yes,
there was slightly better news on
the economy for this year. Slightly
better news on borrow, which might
give the Chancellor more head room
on public spending. The Office for
Budget Responsibility said that
inflation would be coming down,
prices. That means that income
squeeze that affected so many people
could come to an end. There is one
big challenge in these figures. 1.5%
growth is the new normal for the UK.
We used to have growth of 2% to
2.5%. The OECD, as you said, said
that put us at the bottom of the G20
list of industrialised nations
growth, behind America, behind
Germany, behind France. For every
0.1% of growth that you lose, that's
lower tax revenues, lower Government
income and that's less room for
manoeuvre for spending on health,
and for defence and head education
which is what Philip Hammond will
want to do when it comes to the big
event, the Budget, in the autumn.
Kamal Ahmed there, our economics
A brief look at some
of the day's other news stories:
The leader of Telford
and Wrekin Council in Shropshire
is calling on the Home Secretary
to order an independent public
inquiry into cases of child sexual
exploitation in the town.
It follows reports claiming that
hundreds of girls may have
been abused in the town
since the early 1980s.
A teenager on trial
for the attack at Parsons Green
underground station in London
has admitted leaving
a device on a train
but said he never intended
to kill anyone.
18-year-old Ahmed Hussan said it
became a 'fantasy' for him
when he was 'very bored' over
the school holidays.
He denies attempted murder
and causing an explosion
likely to endanger life as our home
June Kelly reports.
Ahmed Hassan has always
admitted setting off on a
September morning last year to plant
a device on an underground train.
Today, it was his turn to explain
to a jury why he did it.
After listening to
days of prosecution
evidence against him,
he was brought to court
to mount his defence.
In the witness box,
he said he expected
the device to burn,
rather than explode.
Asked by his barrister,
Tim Maloney QC:
The device partially detonated
on a train at Parsons
Green train station.
Passengers were burned
by the fireball.
Today, Hassan said he
hadn't looked at this
footage when it was played in court.
Last summer, on his bedroom door,
he made plain his boredom with
He told the jury it was partly
boredom which drove him to
build and plant the device.
Using the explosive TATP, he
it in the kitchen of his
foster parents' home
it in the kitchen of his foster
parents' home and he said he'd
packed it with shrapnel,
because he wanted
it to look serious.
by the prosecutor,
Alison Morgan, Hassan
denied that he wanted
to avenge his father's death
in a coalition airstrike in their
She put it to him, "You believed
that the fight against
Britain should be brought
into this country."
He replied, "No".
Hassan was aiming to leave
the UK after the attack.
Today, he said he fantasised
about being a fugitive chased across
Europe by police.
In fact, he was arrested in Dover.
June Kelly, BBC News
at the Old Bailey.
The Gulf state of Qatar
will be introducing a sugar
tax later this year,
a move partly prompted by health
surveys showing that 70% of Qataris
are overweight or obese -
almost double the global average.
The government is taking action
to try to get people to lose weight,
and it's also set to start screening
adults for diabetes.
Our global health correspondent,
Tulip Mazumdar, has been given rare
access to the Qatari health system
and she sent this report.
It's time for the weekend shop
and families are stocking up,
the Jamals' are trying
to make healthier choices.
It's because, at just 16 years old,
Jabor's poor diet, he tells me,
led to him developing
type 2 diabetes.
When I was a kid,
I really loved sweets.
We would just eat, go to bed,
wake up the next day and eat more.
Qatar has become one of the richest
countries on earth thanks
to the discovery of oil
and gas here.
With all that wealth though came
a massive influx of international
workers and western tastes.
In a very short period of time,
Qataris have totally
changed how they live,
where they live and what they eat.
They've gone from active,
outdoor desert living to much more
indoor sedentary lifestyles and many
are now paying the price
for adopting some of the worst
of western excesses.
Qatar is now building more outdoor
areas, like this one,
it's introducing a sugar tax this
year and improving food labelling.
We declare it's an epidemic.
Everyone knows and there is a high
political commitment to face this.
We try to find the best
approach to tackle this.
One of those approaches
is funding new research,
Salem is part of a study targeting
younger people trying
to reverse their type 2 diabetes.
to eat very chaotically.
For breakfast I'd eat sandwiches,
for lunch I'd have a lot of meat
and I'd have a heavy dinner.
I started feeling pain
in my joints and my feet.
Left untreated, the disease
can cause blindness
and even foot amputations.
Almost one in five people suffer
with the condition here,
but through this strict diet
and exercise programme patients
are going into remission.
We need to see the long-term
outcomes, but it is possible
medically to take younger people,
get them fit, improve their life
without any medication,
without any surgery.
All these mixture of medals...
Aldana is part of the women's
national handball team and wants
to help fight the obesity crisis.
She says people need better
education on living well.
By increasing the awareness
and doing programmes for families.
They're not aware how much
is dangerous for the children.
They've started to get this
information about healthy lifestyle.
Unlike many other countries,
Qatar certainly has the resources
to deal with its obesity epidemic.
The bigger challenge is ensuring
its people have the will.
Tulip Mazumdar, BBC News, Doha.
Tonight's football news.
Manchester United have
been knocked out of
the Champions League by Sevilla.
They lost the second leg
at Old Trafford, 2-1.
John Watson watched the game.
All your match day
scarves and souvenirs!
Champions League nights
are special nights.
Once commonplace under
Sir Alex Ferguson,
Manchester United's current crop
hoping to emulate his achievements.
A return to the knockout stage
of Europe's top club
competition a start,
Jose Mourinho hoping to mastermind
a march to the quarter-finals
with victory over Sevilla.
After a goalless first leg, once
again they were in short supply.
Marouane Fellaini's effort the best
of a poor first half.
It was cautious and conservative.
Jesse Lingard attempting
to find the breakthrough.
How he's seen it all before.
But perhaps not quite as
underwhelming and underperforming.
Where United couldn't,
Ben Yedder putting
his side in front.
The complexity of the tie
changed in seconds.
David De Gea, who saved them
from defeat in the first leg,
couldn't this time,
as Ben Yedder struck again.
It is in!
United now needed three goals,
Romelu Lukaku could only get one.
This, a match United had been
expected to win comfortably.
On this performance,
they remain some way
off Europe's elite.
A not-so-special night
for the so-called Special One.