17/03/2018 BBC Weekend News


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17/03/2018

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Good evening.

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Russia says it will expel

23 British diplomats

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in response to Britain's decision

to throw out the same number

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of Russian officials,

following the nerve agent

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attack in Salisbury.

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Theresa May says the government had

anticipated the Kremlin's move,

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and is considering its next steps.

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Our correspondent, Steve Rosenberg,

is live in Moscow now.

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It is three days since Theresa May

stood in the House of Commons and

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concluded that the Russian state was

culpable for the attempted murder of

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Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Three days

since the UK announced sanctions

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against Russia. And today Moscow

retaliated.

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He had been expecting the telephone

call and today it came.

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Britain's ambassador was summoned

to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

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And in the skyscraper

that Josef Stalin built

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as a symbol of a superpower,

the ambassador was told how Moscow

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would retaliate to UK sanctions.

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A note of defiance when he left.

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We will always do what is necessary

to defend ourselves,

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our allies and our values

against an attack of this sort.

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Which is an attack not only

on the United Kingdom

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but upon the international

rules-based system

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on which all countries,

all countries including Russia,

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depend for their

safety and security.

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Thank you.

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The ambassador headed into work,

to tell embassy staff

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about the Russian sanctions.

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Moscow says they are a response

to British provocation,

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Russia has expelled 23

British diplomats.

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The UK had expelled 23 Russians over

the nerve agent attack in Salisbury.

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The authorities here

are shutting down the British

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Consulate in St

Petersburg and the British Council

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which promotes UK culture abroad

will now be forced to end

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all activity in Russia.

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Moscow says the language coming out

of London was a factor in deciding

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what sanctions to announce.

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TRANSLATION: The British

Prime Minister insults

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us and threatens us.

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Her foreign and defence

secretaries insult us.

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They talk to Russia

as if they are drunk in a pub.

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So what the UK got from us today

is the result of this loutishness

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and their groundless accusations.

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Not so, said Theresa May.

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Russia's response does not change

the facts of the matter.

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The attempted assassination of two

people on British soil.

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For which there was no

alternative conclusion other

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than that the Russian

state was culpable.

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Relations between Moscow

and London have not been this

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fractured since the Cold War.

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The expulsion of 23 British

diplomats, that was expected.

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That is traditional tit-for-tat.

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But the shutting down

of the consulate and the activities

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of the British Council,

that feels like a challenge

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to the British Government.

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And the Russians have said that

if Britain responds with more

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measures against Moscow,

then Russia will respond with more

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sanctions against the UK.

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The danger now is a spiral

of confrontation.

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Steve Rosenberg, BBC News, Moscow.

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And police in Salisbury have

renewed their appeal for witnesses,

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following the poisoning

of Sergei Skripal

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and his daughter Yulia.

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Around 400 people have

been interviewed so far,

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and investigators are trawling

through 4000 hours of CCTV footage.

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Health officials say

Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey,

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who was exposed to the nerve agent,

is making progress in

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hospital.

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Duncan Kennedy has

the latest from Salisbury.

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The tempo and scope of the police

operation across Salisbury remains

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intense and widespread.

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Today police issued their first

official photo of Sergei Skripal's

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BMW whose movements

they want to trace.

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In their most comprehensive timeline

to date, the police now say the car

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was first seen at 9:15am on Sunday,

March the 4th, in the London

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Road area of the city.

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At 1:30pm it is spotted

on Devizes Road.

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Ten minutes later the car arrives

at Sainsbury's and Sergei

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and Yulia go to the Mill pub.

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At 2:20pm they visited

Zizzi restaurant.

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And then nearly two hours later

they're found violently

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ill on a nearby bench.

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It's nearly two weeks

since the Skripals left their home

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here and today the police revealed

the full extent of

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their investigation.

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They've interviewed around 400

witnesses, gathered nearly

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800 pieces of evidence,

and trawling through 4000

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hours of CCTV footage.

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Today the Labour leader

Jeremy Corbyn was in Newcastle

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and repeated his call for more

information on the nerve agent.

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The origins of the nerve gas

appear to be Russian, yes.

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That is why I have said

the issue should be referred

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to the Chemical Weapons Convention

and we should challenge

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the Russian government on it.

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The nerve agent was identified

at Porton Down near Salisbury.

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The Russians have

denied involvement.

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But Downing Street has now invited

chemical weapons experts to carry

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out independent tests.

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It is likely that the team will come

over to Porton Down.

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Theoretically they could do

the analysis at Porton laboratories.

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I suspect what is more

likely is they will take

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samples back to The Hague.

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Health officials said today

they welcomed the progress

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being made by Sergeant Nick Bailey

who was affected by the nerve agent.

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Sergei and Yulia Skripal remain

in a critical but stable condition.

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Duncan Kennedy, BBC

News, in Salisbury.

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The Attorney General in the US

state of Massachusetts

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is to begin an investigation

into claims that information

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from millions of Facebook users may

have been used by a data company,

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during the 2016 US

presidential election.

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A former employee of the firm,

Cambridge Analytica,

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claims that 50 million

profiles were accessed.

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The two companies

deny any wrongdoing.

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With me is our Business

Correspondent, Joe Lynam.

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What is the background to this. All

a bit confusing, there with me. It

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started with an app developed at

Cambridge University which harvested

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Facebook profiles and that of all

Facebook friends and then at that

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information to Cambridge Analytica

and Facebook over the company to

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delete personal information a few

years ago. Facebook is that in the

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past 24 hours that all that

information was not deleted. Now a

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whistle-blower has come forward

saying that 50 million Facebook

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profiles were used in the US

presidential election to target very

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specific messages to specific people

in favour of Donald Trump and

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against Hillary Clinton. So now we

have the Attorney General of

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Massachusetts saying their residence

deserved answers immediately. In

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parallel the Information

Commissioner office here has

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launched an investigation and says

they may be circumstances in which

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Facebook data may have illegally

been acquired and used for political

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purposes. Facebook denies any breach

and say that its users knowingly

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provided all that information.

Cambridge analytical also denied

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wrongdoing saying it only receives

and uses data that has been obtained

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legally unfairly put up - legally

and fairly.

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Forecasters say snow could cause

further problems, across large parts

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of the UK this weekend.

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Amber weather warnings have been

issued in England and Wales,

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and more than 70 flights have been

cancelled today at Heathrow.

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The so called "mini beast

from the east," swept in overnight.

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This was the scene in Yorkshire

today, and the Met Office says snow

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showers will become more frequent

later, and weather warnings

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will remain in place

until tomorrow afternoon.

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Ireland beat England 24 points

to 15, to win rugby's

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Grand Slam at Twickenham.

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And in the other final Six Nations

games, there were wins

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for Scotland and Wales.

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Joe Wilson now reports

on a very happy St Patrick's

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Day, for Irish rugby.

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If you missed Ireland's progress

here is a recap.

A last-minute drop

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goal and then we thrashed Italy.

Ireland and Wales in Dublin.

We

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scored four tries to beat Scotland.

That just left Twickenham. And here

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we where aiming for the grandson,

Arnott left the ball towards the

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London snowflakes. Anthony Watson

was under the, or was he. Try for

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Ireland and followed. England had to

respond. And here it came. The home

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side had something. Something. But

watch Jacob Stockdale. The island

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super-clean. He had to reach the

ball for the blue line, coloured in

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case of snow. England had extended

the pitch, perfect for this.

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Stockdale, his seventh try of the

Six Nations, and that is a record.

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England added tries in the second

half and never got close to winning.

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Ireland, their Grand Slam, a perfect

Six Nations completed here, never

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better.

It is a special day for

everyone involved with Irish rock

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and to be here and celebrate that

and to top it off with winning

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somewhere like this. This is a

really tough place to go and it is a

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sign of a champion team to coming

here and do this.

Irish Rugby union

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is now the envy of Europe and not

just because of these scenes of

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celebration at Twickenham. A

challenge for these players is to be

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world champions next autumn.

Standing here right now, that seems

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very possible. Joe Wilson, BBC News,

at Twickenham.

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