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A new salvo from Britain
The Foreign Secretary says Moscow
has been making and stockpiling
deadly nerve agents.
Two weeks after the poisoning
of a Russian spy in Salisbury,
The government believes Russia does
make interest in the substances was
From Moscow, Vladimir Putin has
dismissed the allegations,
as the presidential election gives
him another six years in office.
With international chemical weapons
experts due to arrive in the UK
we'll have the latest.
A breakthrough in the treatment
of multiple sclerosis
after a medical trial involving
stem cell transplants.
A Sunday white-out as driving snow,
biting winds and ice affect
much of the country.
And the million dollar
teacher from London who's
scooped up a global award.
The Foreign Secretary,
Boris Johnson, has accused Russia
of making and stockpiling the nerve
agents known as Novichok,
used in the Salisbury
poisoning two weeks ago.
Sergei Skripal and his daughter
remain critically ill,
but today President Putin said
it was nonsense to say that
Russia was responsible.
We'll hear from our
Steve Rosenberg, in a moment.
First, our diplomatic
correspondent, James Robbins.
Whatever the weather,
the decontamination work
and forensic investigation
in Salisbury goes on.
Two weeks after the chemical attack
on Sergei and Yulia Skripal,
it's clear that one focus
of the enquiry is his BMW,
amidst suggestions that the chemical
agent might have been placed
there to ensure that
the occupants were poisoned.
A team of international chemical
weapons experts from the global body
that polices their prohibition
arrives in Salisbury tomorrow.
They will begin a further
Today, the Foreign Secretary
went further than ever,
blaming Russia and lifting the veil
a little on secret intelligence.
Boris Johnson says it shows Russia
has been making nerve agent
within the past decade.
We actually had evidence,
within the last ten years,
that Russia has not only been
investigating the delivery of nerve
agents for the purposes
of assassination, but has also been
creating and stockpiling Novichok.
The Foreign Secretary also dismissed
and derided a suggestion from one
of Russia's most senior diplomats
that the nerve agent used
in Salisbury could actually have
come from Britain's own military
research facility at Porton Down.
Porton Down, as we now all know,
is the largest military facility
in the United Kingdom,
that has been dealing
with chemical weapons research.
And it's actually only eight
miles from Salisbury.
You're not suggesting that
Porton Down is responsible
for this nerve agent?
I don't know, I don't know.
But Theresa May's government
got solid support from
Labour's Shadow Chancellor
after criticism of Jeremy Corbyn's
more questioning approach.
Putin has questions to answer,
because this is highly likely this
could be a state execution.
But, what we don't do in this
country is that we don't leap
to conclusions without the evidence.
As the investigation goes on,
in the next few days the government
will focus on broadening
for Britain's stance.
On Tuesday, ministers who sit
on the National Security Council
will discuss whether or not
to launch a second round of measures
against Moscow, at the risk
of an endless tit-for-tat.
Whatever precisely happened two
weeks ago in Salisbury,
one consequence is that Russia's
already very fragile,
does seem to have been
weakened still further.
Britain is having little trouble
gathering strong messages
of support from overseas,
although action against Russia
is harder to mobilise.
But Vladimir Putin shows no
sign of changing course.
This evening, President Putin said
claims that his country was behind
the Skripal poisoning were 'nonsense
but that Russia will
work with the UK'.
He was speaking after winning
another term in office
in the presidential election.
Steve Rosenberg has
the latest from Moscow.
He's been centre stage in Russia
for the last 18 years.
Tonight, by the Kremlin,
Vladimir Putin thanked his people
for re-electing him their president.
We are destined to succeed, he said.
Russia, Russia, they chant it.
But, in Putin's fourth term
are Russia and the west
destined for a Cold War?
Later, the president
dismissed British accusations
that he was behind the nerve agent
attack in Salisbury.
It is rubbish, drivel,
nonsense, to think that Russia
would do something like that ahead
of the presidential
election and the World Cup.
President Putin's pitch to voters
had been, stick with me
and Russia will be strong.
And many Russians believe that.
He is a genius, he said, Putin wants
Russia to prosper and for Russians
to live in happiness.
It's thanks to Putin, she says,
that Russia still exists.
But critics of the Kremlin say
the election was fixed,
that only those candidates who stood
no chance of unseating
Vladimir Putin were allowed to run.
The problem with Russia
is that there is no such thing
as Russian politics.
Politics has been eliminated
in Russia altogether.
There is only one political
institution in Russia and this
is the physical body of Vladimir
Which is why Vladimir Putin
was always going to win this vote.
This election was not
about choosing a new president,
it was about reappointing
the old one.
And although many Russians do
support Vladimir Putin, crucially,
it is the political system he has
built in Russia that
guaranteed him a landslide win.
These images are
Caught on CCTV, a woman stuffs
a ballot box near Moscow.
Suddenly, there are
two of them at it.
And, during a vote count
in Siberia, balloons are moved
to cover the camera.
Election officials say
they will investigate,
but the result won't change,
neither will the name
of Russia's president.
Steve Rosenberg, BBC News, Moscow.
As the government blames
Russia for stockpiling
Novichok nerve agents,
a group of international chemical
weapons experts are due
to arrive in the UK tomorrow.
Our security correspondent,
Gordon Corera, is at
the Foreign Office now.
Gordon, what was behind
that assessment from
the Foreign Secretary today?
Today, Boris Johnson deliberately
revealed a piece of sensitive
intelligence that was the claim that
Russia has been stockpiling,
creating Novichok and looking at
using it for assassinations. Why?
Gaza is a battle going on over
information and for credibility.
British officials believe the
Kremlin's plan will Beatty Muddy
Waters and create confusion,
pointing to, including, the comments
on the Russian ambassador to the EU
today suggesting that perhaps Porton
Down had created the Novichok and
somehow released that in its own
backyard. I think the Foreign
Office, the British government, is
trying to put the Russians on the
back foot by asserting that they are
in contravention of the Chemical
Weapons Convention by having this
secret chemical warfare, chemical
assassination programme, at some
point in the last ten years. We will
get that independent inspection
coming from the OPCW but that is
likely to be the next battle ground
over credibility. They will be
looking at samples, perhaps blood
samples, from the victims and
whatever their conclusions, they may
be clear conclusions or disputed,
there may be questions about whether
the results were tampered with in
some way, that'll be the next over
Gordon Corera, thank
Scientists say they've achieved
a breakthrough in the treatment
of multiple sclerosis
after the results of
an international trial involving
stem cell transplants.
Doctors in Sheffield
were part of the study,
which showed an improvement
in symptoms and the progress of
the neurological condition halted.
Around 100,000 people
in the UK are affected by MS,
as our medical correspondent,
Fergus Walsh, explains.
It's so nice to finally get out.
It feels like my diagnosis
was just a bad dream.
Before her transplant,
Louise Willetts from Rotherham
had severe relapses -
attacks - of multiple sclerosis.
At one point she was
in a wheelchair.
It also affected her mind.
She struggled to read
and follow conversations.
Now, she is completely well and has
a newborn daughter, too.
It does feel like a miracle.
I almost have to pinch myself
and think, is this real?
Has it really gone?
Is it ever going to come back?
I don't live in fear any more.
I actually live every day
the way I want to live it,
rather than around like MS.
MS is caused by a faulty
immune system attacking
the brain and spinal cord.
Symptoms include balance
and muscle problems,
fatigue and loss of vision.
The BBC's Panorama followed
Louise's treatment -
but cancer patients.
A high dose of chemotherapy
was given to knock
out her immune system.
Then these healthy stem cells taken
from Louise's blood and bone
marrow were infused.
Unaffected by MS, the stem cells
rebuilt her immune system.
Now, more than two years on,
she is back at Sheffield's Royal
Hallamshire Hospital for a checkup.
Good to see you.
The MRI shows there is no active
disease in her brain.
I'm completely delighted
that the scan shows stability.
So this is really good news.
Yes, it is!
I'm delighted, too!
Results from a trial of just over
100 MS patients showed that
in the half that were given a stem
cell transplant, there was only one
relapse after a year.
Compared to 39 among those given
standard drug treatment.
Transplant patients were ten times
less likely to see their treatment
fail after three years.
And their level of
The results of this trial
are quite simply stunning.
It should mean that many more MS
patients are offered
a stem cell transplant,
with the hope of stopping
their disease in its tracks.
This is a game-changer.
It can fundamentally alter
the course of patients with MS
who have got resistant
and disabling disease.
The stem cell transplant involves
a one-off cost of £30,000.
No more expensive than the yearly
fee for some drugs.
It's not suitable
for all MS patients.
But the life-changing
results with Louise
and others are plain to see.
Fergus Walsh, BBC News.
Fergus, how soon might more people
with MS benefit from this treatment?
It'll take time to scale this up and
train the teams. Already, three
trusts, Sheffield, kings and
Imperial in London are offering
this. 350 patients who have had this
treatment, more than any other
country in Europe except for Sweden
and Europe, that is just scratching
the surface. Many neurologists have
been sceptical and have been waiting
for over one decade for the results
of this trial the report tonight.
Those results are convincing and the
beauty of this treatment is it is
the patient healing themselves.
Their own stem cells, no need for
any donor and they are resetting the
immune system to a point before the
patient had MS. It is a gruelling
procedure involving chemotherapy, it
is not suitable for patients with
advanced disease but it is
delivering life changing results.
Fergus Walsh, thank you.
Much of the UK has been in the midst
of a second significant
snowfall of the winter.
For many areas, it's been combined
with bitterly cold winds,
bringing misery to those who've been
travelling this weekend.
Sarah Ransome reports.
Snowstorms and snowdrifts.
The scene many people
woke up to this morning.
Strong winds causing blizzard
conditions, making driving
In the north-west, snow gates on
the A66 remained closed
between County Durham and Cumbria
and just getting outside the front
Newcastle was no mean feat.
I have been here for
a good hour and I have
done about a quarter of this road.
I'm making headway.
There were severe delays
at Newbury as trains
were stopped in their tracks.
Railway stations across the country
have also seen delays and
In Gloucester, sporting
fixtures like the
Anglo-Welsh Cup Final had to be
called off for snow-stopped play.
And as the heavier snowfall
hit the South West,
Bristol Airport stopped flights,
with Exeter airport
cancelling flights for
the rest of the day.
The snow showed no sign of giving up
in Devon and neither did
those trying to keep traffic moving.
While snowploughs and gritters
cleared major roads, some drivers
And there were problems on the M5
and A roads, with motorists
seemingly ignoring repeated appeals
not to go out unless it was
When people ignore those warnings it
does get frustrating
because the already stretched
resources that us and our partner
agencies have just become even more
stretched to rescue people, to
recover people who really have no
reason to be out at all in this
It wasn't all doom and gloom
as the so-called Mini Beast
from the East swept through.
Another snow day -
There is an amber warning
in place across the
south-west until the early hours
of tomorrow morning.
With ice being a major risk.
The amber warning is still in place
and it is still snowing and the
prospect of more snow and ice
overnight. The emergency services
say, please listen to the advice,
check travel arrangements in the
morning to check you can get to
where you need to go to safely, if
you need to get there at all. If you
have children of school age, you
might want to check that the school
is actually open. Hundreds of
schools across Devon and parts of
Wales have already said they are not
opening tomorrow so for some people
this is another snow day. Sarah
Ransome, thank you.
In Syria, President Bashar al Assad
visited Eastern Ghouta, a former
rebel-held area near Damascus.
Syrian state television showed
the president surrounded by soldiers
and civilians there,
after a month-long
Syrian forces are now
thought to control some
80% of Eastern Ghouta,
with thousands more civilians
fleeing the area today.
Facebook has announced
an investigation into
whether the personal details
of 50 million of its users
have been compromised.
It's already suspended the data firm
Cambridge Analytica -
known for its work on Donald Trump's
election campaign -
after reports that it
inappropriately obtained user data.
Both companies deny any wrong-doing.
Live now to New York
and our media editor, Amol Rajan.
The revelation that tens of millions
of Facebook users have had personal
data harvested in this way has
caused dismay on both sides of the
Atlantic and might have indications.
Facebook and Cambridge Analytica
deny any wrongdoing and say they
have not broken the law. It could be
the fact they have not broken the
law that causes alarm because are at
least three layers to this. Who knew
what and when? The Cambridge
Analytica whistle-blower has given
an account of what happened which is
blatant inconsistencies with the
account given by Cambridge Analytica
and Facebook so we need to work out
what happened. Secondly, public
safety. We live in an era where are
few super firms have become
incredibly wealthy by amassing
personal data and consumers need to
wise up to the fact that every time
they go online to leave a digital
footprint and companies and
governments can use that data to do
things they may not like. Thirdly,
the politics. We have two regulators
in Britain think that whether
Cambridge Analytica was involved in
the Brexit referendum, the EU
referendum. In America there are
questions about their role in the
election of Donald Trump and if
proven, as Cambridge Analytica
claim, that they used psychological
profiling to target and influence
voters, if that is the case, perhaps
the fragility of western democracy
owes at least as much to our own
online habits as off-line.
With all the sport,
here's Karthi Gnanasegaram
at the BBC Sport Centre.
Good evening, Mishal.
The FA Cup semi-finals will see
Manchester United host Tottenham,
while Chelsea face Southampton
at Stamford Bridge.
Both games will take place at
The draw for the final four
was made after Chelsea
beat Leicester City 2-1,
while Southampton knocked League One
side, Wigan Athletic,
out of the competition.
Holly Hamilton reports.
For Antonio Conte the FA Cup is not
always been a priority but out of
Europe and outside the Premier
League top four, some silverware
would be a Silva lining. Chelsea
took the lead just before half-time,
all borrowed frantic claiming his
first goal of 2018. After the break
Leicester went in search of the
equaliser, but Jamie Vardy
eventually find the back of the net.
Extra time and as the mercury
dropped, temperatures Rose, a
questionable decision by Kasper
Schmeichel gifted page of the empty
net and Chelsea a place in the
semifinals. In making the first test
for the new Southampton manager Mark
Hughes and while it was one whose
side who dominated the first half,
the visitors eventually capitalised
on their chances. With clock
ticking, Cedric made sure. Doubling
the lead and ceiling Southampton's
first FA Cup semifinal in 15 years.
Great Britain has won its first
and only gold medal
of the Winter Paralympics
on the final day of the Games.
Menna Fitzpatrick and her guide,
Jen Keyhoe, claimed
the visually impaired slalom gold,
which means the ParalympicsGB team
has met its medal target.
Kate Grey reports from Pyeongchang.
Kate Grey reports from Pyeongchang.
It was the golden moment
they'd been waiting for.
Menna Fitzpatrick and her guide,
Jen Kehoe, saved their best till
last to win gold in the slalom
on the final day of these Games.
The pair were in silver medal
position going into their second run
and displayed a perfect performance.
The time was unbeatable.
Watch the clock!
She's in front!
Their fourth medal here
in Pyeongchang, to become Britain's
most successful winter Paralympians.
It's astonishing the way this week
has gone, from quite
low to extremely high.
There was further success
as Millie Knight and her guide
Brett Wild managed to sneak
the bronze in the same race,
meaning that ParalympicsGB have
reached their target of seven
medals, but all dependent on one
sport, one classification
and a small number of athletes.
The Games came to a fitting close,
Britain's golden girls
And the international Paralympic
committee could celebrate with more
nations taking part than ever before
and a record number of tickets sold.
They now call these Games the
greatest Winter Paralympics to date.
Kate Grey, BBC News, John Chiang. --
In the last few minutes,
Rory McIlroy has won
the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
It's the former world number one's
first title since 2016.
McIlroy won the tournament
in Florida by three strokes,
with a final round of 64.
The Masters, the only Major
that McIlroy hasn't won,
is less than three weeks away.
Details of the rest of the day's
sport is on the BBC website,
including Celtic's goalless draw
with Motherwell and Chelsea's
progression to the semi-finals
of the Women's FA Cup.
An art and textiles teacher
from London has won a million dollar
prize recognising an outstanding
contribution to the
Andria Zafirakou works in a school
with a high proportion
of disadvantaged pupils and won
the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher
Prize at a ceremony in Dubai.
Sean Coughlan was watching.
A big secret.
Who is the world's best teacher?
An arts and textiles teacher
from a secondary school
in Brent in north London,
Andria Zafirakou found herself
centre stage as the winner
of the global teacher prize.
Good morning, girls.
Working in a deprived
she was praised for going the extra
mile to build links
between school and parents,
and structuring activities around
students' individual needs.
To all the students all
over the world, I say,
whatever your circumstances,
whatever your troubles, please know
that you have the potential
to succeed in whatever your
dreams may be.
And that is a right that nobody
should take from you.
Andria Zafirakou ending that report
from Sean Coughlan in Dubai.
That's all from me.
Stay with us on BBC One - it's time
for the news where you are.