18/03/2018 BBC Weekend News


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18/03/2018

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A new salvo from Britain

towards Russia.

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The Foreign Secretary says Moscow

has been making and stockpiling

0:00:060:00:09

deadly nerve agents.

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Two weeks after the poisoning

of a Russian spy in Salisbury,

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The government believes Russia does

make interest in the substances was

0:00:190:00:23

for assassination.

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From Moscow, Vladimir Putin has

dismissed the allegations,

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as the presidential election gives

him another six years in office.

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With international chemical weapons

experts due to arrive in the UK

0:00:330:00:39

we'll have the latest.

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Also tonight...

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A breakthrough in the treatment

of multiple sclerosis

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after a medical trial involving

stem cell transplants.

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A Sunday white-out as driving snow,

biting winds and ice affect

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much of the country.

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And the million dollar

teacher from London who's

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scooped up a global award.

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Good evening.

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The Foreign Secretary,

Boris Johnson, has accused Russia

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of making and stockpiling the nerve

agents known as Novichok,

0:01:280:01:31

used in the Salisbury

poisoning two weeks ago.

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Sergei Skripal and his daughter

remain critically ill,

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but today President Putin said

it was nonsense to say that

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Russia was responsible.

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We'll hear from our

Moscow correspondent,

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Steve Rosenberg, in a moment.

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First, our diplomatic

correspondent, James Robbins.

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Whatever the weather,

the decontamination work

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and forensic investigation

in Salisbury goes on.

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Two weeks after the chemical attack

on Sergei and Yulia Skripal,

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it's clear that one focus

of the enquiry is his BMW,

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amidst suggestions that the chemical

agent might have been placed

0:02:050:02:08

there to ensure that

the occupants were poisoned.

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A team of international chemical

weapons experts from the global body

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that polices their prohibition

arrives in Salisbury tomorrow.

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They will begin a further

independent investigation.

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Today, the Foreign Secretary

went further than ever,

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blaming Russia and lifting the veil

a little on secret intelligence.

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Boris Johnson says it shows Russia

has been making nerve agent

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within the past decade.

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We actually had evidence,

within the last ten years,

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that Russia has not only been

investigating the delivery of nerve

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agents for the purposes

of assassination, but has also been

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creating and stockpiling Novichok.

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The Foreign Secretary also dismissed

and derided a suggestion from one

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of Russia's most senior diplomats

that the nerve agent used

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in Salisbury could actually have

come from Britain's own military

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research facility at Porton Down.

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Porton Down, as we now all know,

is the largest military facility

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in the United Kingdom,

that has been dealing

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with chemical weapons research.

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And it's actually only eight

miles from Salisbury.

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You're not suggesting that

Porton Down is responsible

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for this nerve agent?

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I don't know, I don't know.

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But Theresa May's government

got solid support from

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Labour's Shadow Chancellor

after criticism of Jeremy Corbyn's

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more questioning approach.

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Putin has questions to answer,

because this is highly likely this

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could be a state execution.

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But, what we don't do in this

country is that we don't leap

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to conclusions without the evidence.

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As the investigation goes on,

in the next few days the government

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will focus on broadening

international backing

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for Britain's stance.

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On Tuesday, ministers who sit

on the National Security Council

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will discuss whether or not

to launch a second round of measures

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against Moscow, at the risk

of an endless tit-for-tat.

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Whatever precisely happened two

weeks ago in Salisbury,

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one consequence is that Russia's

international reputation,

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already very fragile,

does seem to have been

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weakened still further.

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Britain is having little trouble

gathering strong messages

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of support from overseas,

although action against Russia

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is harder to mobilise.

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But Vladimir Putin shows no

sign of changing course.

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This evening, President Putin said

claims that his country was behind

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the Skripal poisoning were 'nonsense

but that Russia will

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work with the UK'.

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He was speaking after winning

another term in office

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in the presidential election.

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Steve Rosenberg has

the latest from Moscow.

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He's been centre stage in Russia

for the last 18 years.

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Tonight, by the Kremlin,

Vladimir Putin thanked his people

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for re-electing him their president.

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We are destined to succeed, he said.

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Russia, Russia, they chant it.

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But, in Putin's fourth term

are Russia and the west

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destined for a Cold War?

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Later, the president

dismissed British accusations

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that he was behind the nerve agent

attack in Salisbury.

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TRANSLATION:

It is rubbish, drivel,

nonsense, to think that Russia

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would do something like that ahead

of the presidential

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election and the World Cup.

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President Putin's pitch to voters

had been, stick with me

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and Russia will be strong.

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And many Russians believe that.

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He is a genius, he said, Putin wants

Russia to prosper and for Russians

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to live in happiness.

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It's thanks to Putin, she says,

that Russia still exists.

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But critics of the Kremlin say

the election was fixed,

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that only those candidates who stood

no chance of unseating

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Vladimir Putin were allowed to run.

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The problem with Russia

is that there is no such thing

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as Russian politics.

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Politics has been eliminated

in Russia altogether.

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There is only one political

institution in Russia and this

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is the physical body of Vladimir

Putin.

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Which is why Vladimir Putin

was always going to win this vote.

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This election was not

about choosing a new president,

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it was about reappointing

the old one.

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And although many Russians do

support Vladimir Putin, crucially,

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it is the political system he has

built in Russia that

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guaranteed him a landslide win.

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These images are

embarrassing, though.

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Caught on CCTV, a woman stuffs

a ballot box near Moscow.

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Suddenly, there are

two of them at it.

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And, during a vote count

in Siberia, balloons are moved

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to cover the camera.

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Election officials say

they will investigate,

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but the result won't change,

neither will the name

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of Russia's president.

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Steve Rosenberg, BBC News, Moscow.

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As the government blames

Russia for stockpiling

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Novichok nerve agents,

a group of international chemical

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weapons experts are due

to arrive in the UK tomorrow.

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Our security correspondent,

Gordon Corera, is at

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the Foreign Office now.

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Gordon, what was behind

that assessment from

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the Foreign Secretary today?

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Today, Boris Johnson deliberately

revealed a piece of sensitive

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intelligence that was the claim that

Russia has been stockpiling,

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creating Novichok and looking at

using it for assassinations. Why?

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Gaza is a battle going on over

information and for credibility.

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British officials believe the

Kremlin's plan will Beatty Muddy

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Waters and create confusion,

pointing to, including, the comments

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on the Russian ambassador to the EU

today suggesting that perhaps Porton

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Down had created the Novichok and

somehow released that in its own

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backyard. I think the Foreign

Office, the British government, is

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trying to put the Russians on the

back foot by asserting that they are

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in contravention of the Chemical

Weapons Convention by having this

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secret chemical warfare, chemical

assassination programme, at some

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point in the last ten years. We will

get that independent inspection

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coming from the OPCW but that is

likely to be the next battle ground

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over credibility. They will be

looking at samples, perhaps blood

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samples, from the victims and

whatever their conclusions, they may

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be clear conclusions or disputed,

there may be questions about whether

0:08:450:08:49

the results were tampered with in

some way, that'll be the next over

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credibility.

Gordon Corera, thank

you.

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Scientists say they've achieved

a breakthrough in the treatment

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of multiple sclerosis

after the results of

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an international trial involving

stem cell transplants.

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Doctors in Sheffield

were part of the study,

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which showed an improvement

in symptoms and the progress of

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the neurological condition halted.

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Around 100,000 people

in the UK are affected by MS,

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as our medical correspondent,

Fergus Walsh, explains.

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It's so nice to finally get out.

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It feels like my diagnosis

was just a bad dream.

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Before her transplant,

Louise Willetts from Rotherham

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had severe relapses -

attacks - of multiple sclerosis.

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At one point she was

in a wheelchair.

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It also affected her mind.

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She struggled to read

and follow conversations.

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Now, she is completely well and has

a newborn daughter, too.

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It does feel like a miracle.

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I almost have to pinch myself

and think, is this real?

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Has it really gone?

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Is it ever going to come back?

0:09:520:09:53

I don't live in fear any more.

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I actually live every day

the way I want to live it,

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rather than around like MS.

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MS is caused by a faulty

immune system attacking

0:10:020:10:04

the brain and spinal cord.

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Symptoms include balance

and muscle problems,

0:10:070:10:09

fatigue and loss of vision.

0:10:090:10:14

The BBC's Panorama followed

Louise's treatment -

0:10:140:10:16

originally developed

but cancer patients.

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A high dose of chemotherapy

was given to knock

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out her immune system.

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Then these healthy stem cells taken

from Louise's blood and bone

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marrow were infused.

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Unaffected by MS, the stem cells

rebuilt her immune system.

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Now, more than two years on,

she is back at Sheffield's Royal

0:10:380:10:42

Hallamshire Hospital for a checkup.

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Good to see you.

0:10:440:10:48

The MRI shows there is no active

disease in her brain.

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I'm completely delighted

that the scan shows stability.

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So this is really good news.

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Yes, it is!

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I'm delighted, too!

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Results from a trial of just over

100 MS patients showed that

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in the half that were given a stem

cell transplant, there was only one

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relapse after a year.

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Compared to 39 among those given

standard drug treatment.

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Transplant patients were ten times

less likely to see their treatment

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fail after three years.

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And their level of

disability reduced.

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The results of this trial

are quite simply stunning.

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It should mean that many more MS

patients are offered

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a stem cell transplant,

with the hope of stopping

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their disease in its tracks.

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This is a game-changer.

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It can fundamentally alter

the course of patients with MS

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who have got resistant

and disabling disease.

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The stem cell transplant involves

a one-off cost of £30,000.

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No more expensive than the yearly

fee for some drugs.

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It's not suitable

for all MS patients.

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But the life-changing

results with Louise

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and others are plain to see.

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Fergus Walsh, BBC News.

0:12:100:12:16

Fergus, how soon might more people

with MS benefit from this treatment?

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It'll take time to scale this up and

train the teams. Already, three

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trusts, Sheffield, kings and

Imperial in London are offering

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this. 350 patients who have had this

treatment, more than any other

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country in Europe except for Sweden

and Europe, that is just scratching

0:12:370:12:40

the surface. Many neurologists have

been sceptical and have been waiting

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for over one decade for the results

of this trial the report tonight.

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Those results are convincing and the

beauty of this treatment is it is

0:12:500:12:54

the patient healing themselves.

Their own stem cells, no need for

0:12:540:12:59

any donor and they are resetting the

immune system to a point before the

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patient had MS. It is a gruelling

procedure involving chemotherapy, it

0:13:030:13:08

is not suitable for patients with

advanced disease but it is

0:13:080:13:11

delivering life changing results.

Fergus Walsh, thank you.

0:13:110:13:15

Much of the UK has been in the midst

of a second significant

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snowfall of the winter.

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For many areas, it's been combined

with bitterly cold winds,

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bringing misery to those who've been

travelling this weekend.

0:13:220:13:26

Sarah Ransome reports.

0:13:260:13:28

Snowstorms and snowdrifts.

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The scene many people

woke up to this morning.

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Strong winds causing blizzard

conditions, making driving

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treacherous.

0:13:360:13:40

In the north-west, snow gates on

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the A66 remained closed

between County Durham and Cumbria

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and just getting outside the front

door in

0:13:460:13:47

Newcastle was no mean feat.

0:13:470:13:51

I have been here for

a good hour and I have

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done about a quarter of this road.

0:13:540:13:55

I'm making headway.

0:13:550:13:56

There were severe delays

at Newbury as trains

0:13:560:13:58

were stopped in their tracks.

0:13:580:14:00

Railway stations across the country

have also seen delays and

0:14:000:14:03

cancellations.

0:14:030:14:06

In Gloucester, sporting

fixtures like the

0:14:060:14:09

Anglo-Welsh Cup Final had to be

called off for snow-stopped play.

0:14:090:14:13

And as the heavier snowfall

hit the South West,

0:14:130:14:16

Bristol Airport stopped flights,

with Exeter airport

0:14:160:14:19

cancelling flights for

the rest of the day.

0:14:190:14:22

The snow showed no sign of giving up

in Devon and neither did

0:14:220:14:25

those trying to keep traffic moving.

0:14:250:14:29

While snowploughs and gritters

cleared major roads, some drivers

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got stuck.

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And there were problems on the M5

and A roads, with motorists

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seemingly ignoring repeated appeals

not to go out unless it was

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essential.

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When people ignore those warnings it

does get frustrating

0:14:430:14:46

because the already stretched

resources that us and our partner

0:14:460:14:50

agencies have just become even more

stretched to rescue people, to

0:14:500:14:52

recover people who really have no

reason to be out at all in this

0:14:520:14:56

weather.

0:14:560:14:57

It wasn't all doom and gloom

as the so-called Mini Beast

0:14:570:15:00

from the East swept through.

0:15:000:15:05

Another snow day -

play-day beckoned.

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There is an amber warning

in place across the

0:15:080:15:10

south-west until the early hours

of tomorrow morning.

0:15:100:15:12

With ice being a major risk.

0:15:120:15:20

The amber warning is still in place

and it is still snowing and the

0:15:230:15:26

prospect of more snow and ice

overnight. The emergency services

0:15:260:15:31

say, please listen to the advice,

check travel arrangements in the

0:15:310:15:35

morning to check you can get to

where you need to go to safely, if

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you need to get there at all. If you

have children of school age, you

0:15:380:15:43

might want to check that the school

is actually open. Hundreds of

0:15:430:15:46

schools across Devon and parts of

Wales have already said they are not

0:15:460:15:50

opening tomorrow so for some people

this is another snow day. Sarah

0:15:500:15:54

Ransome, thank you.

0:15:540:15:57

In Syria, President Bashar al Assad

visited Eastern Ghouta, a former

0:15:570:15:59

rebel-held area near Damascus.

0:15:590:16:01

Syrian state television showed

the president surrounded by soldiers

0:16:010:16:03

and civilians there,

after a month-long

0:16:030:16:05

government bombardment.

0:16:050:16:07

Syrian forces are now

thought to control some

0:16:070:16:09

80% of Eastern Ghouta,

with thousands more civilians

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fleeing the area today.

0:16:120:16:20

Facebook has announced

an investigation into

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whether the personal details

of 50 million of its users

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have been compromised.

0:16:240:16:26

It's already suspended the data firm

Cambridge Analytica -

0:16:260:16:28

known for its work on Donald Trump's

election campaign -

0:16:280:16:31

after reports that it

inappropriately obtained user data.

0:16:310:16:34

Both companies deny any wrong-doing.

0:16:340:16:36

Live now to New York

and our media editor, Amol Rajan.

0:16:360:16:44

The revelation that tens of millions

of Facebook users have had personal

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data harvested in this way has

caused dismay on both sides of the

0:16:520:16:56

Atlantic and might have indications.

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica

0:16:560:17:00

deny any wrongdoing and say they

have not broken the law. It could be

0:17:000:17:04

the fact they have not broken the

law that causes alarm because are at

0:17:040:17:08

least three layers to this. Who knew

what and when? The Cambridge

0:17:080:17:14

Analytica whistle-blower has given

an account of what happened which is

0:17:140:17:18

blatant inconsistencies with the

account given by Cambridge Analytica

0:17:180:17:20

and Facebook so we need to work out

what happened. Secondly, public

0:17:200:17:25

safety. We live in an era where are

few super firms have become

0:17:250:17:30

incredibly wealthy by amassing

personal data and consumers need to

0:17:300:17:35

wise up to the fact that every time

they go online to leave a digital

0:17:350:17:39

footprint and companies and

governments can use that data to do

0:17:390:17:42

things they may not like. Thirdly,

the politics. We have two regulators

0:17:420:17:49

in Britain think that whether

Cambridge Analytica was involved in

0:17:490:17:52

the Brexit referendum, the EU

referendum. In America there are

0:17:520:17:56

questions about their role in the

election of Donald Trump and if

0:17:560:18:01

proven, as Cambridge Analytica

claim, that they used psychological

0:18:010:18:03

profiling to target and influence

voters, if that is the case, perhaps

0:18:030:18:09

the fragility of western democracy

owes at least as much to our own

0:18:090:18:13

online habits as off-line.

Thank

you.

0:18:130:18:17

With all the sport,

here's Karthi Gnanasegaram

0:18:170:18:18

at the BBC Sport Centre.

0:18:180:18:19

Good evening, Mishal.

0:18:190:18:20

The FA Cup semi-finals will see

Manchester United host Tottenham,

0:18:200:18:23

while Chelsea face Southampton

at Stamford Bridge.

0:18:230:18:29

Both games will take place at

Wembley.

0:18:290:18:31

The draw for the final four

was made after Chelsea

0:18:310:18:33

beat Leicester City 2-1,

while Southampton knocked League One

0:18:330:18:36

side, Wigan Athletic,

out of the competition.

0:18:360:18:37

Holly Hamilton reports.

0:18:370:18:42

For Antonio Conte the FA Cup is not

always been a priority but out of

0:18:420:18:45

Europe and outside the Premier

League top four, some silverware

0:18:450:18:49

would be a Silva lining. Chelsea

took the lead just before half-time,

0:18:490:18:54

all borrowed frantic claiming his

first goal of 2018. After the break

0:18:540:18:58

Leicester went in search of the

equaliser, but Jamie Vardy

0:18:580:19:03

eventually find the back of the net.

Extra time and as the mercury

0:19:030:19:08

dropped, temperatures Rose, a

questionable decision by Kasper

0:19:080:19:12

Schmeichel gifted page of the empty

net and Chelsea a place in the

0:19:120:19:16

semifinals. In making the first test

for the new Southampton manager Mark

0:19:160:19:19

Hughes and while it was one whose

side who dominated the first half,

0:19:190:19:24

the visitors eventually capitalised

on their chances. With clock

0:19:240:19:26

ticking, Cedric made sure. Doubling

the lead and ceiling Southampton's

0:19:260:19:34

first FA Cup semifinal in 15 years.

0:19:340:19:41

Great Britain has won its first

and only gold medal

0:19:410:19:43

of the Winter Paralympics

on the final day of the Games.

0:19:430:19:46

Menna Fitzpatrick and her guide,

Jen Keyhoe, claimed

0:19:460:19:48

the visually impaired slalom gold,

which means the ParalympicsGB team

0:19:480:19:50

has met its medal target.

0:19:500:19:51

Kate Grey reports from Pyeongchang.

0:19:510:19:53

Kate Grey reports from Pyeongchang.

0:19:530:19:54

It was the golden moment

they'd been waiting for.

0:19:540:19:56

Menna Fitzpatrick and her guide,

Jen Kehoe, saved their best till

0:19:560:20:00

last to win gold in the slalom

on the final day of these Games.

0:20:000:20:04

The pair were in silver medal

position going into their second run

0:20:040:20:07

and displayed a perfect performance.

0:20:070:20:08

The time was unbeatable.

0:20:080:20:09

Watch the clock!

0:20:090:20:10

She's in front!

0:20:100:20:11

Their fourth medal here

in Pyeongchang, to become Britain's

0:20:110:20:14

most successful winter Paralympians.

0:20:140:20:19

It's astonishing the way this week

has gone, from quite

0:20:190:20:22

low to extremely high.

0:20:220:20:30

There was further success

as Millie Knight and her guide

0:20:300:20:33

Brett Wild managed to sneak

the bronze in the same race,

0:20:330:20:37

meaning that ParalympicsGB have

reached their target of seven

0:20:370:20:39

medals, but all dependent on one

sport, one classification

0:20:390:20:41

and a small number of athletes.

0:20:410:20:46

The Games came to a fitting close,

Britain's golden girls

0:20:460:20:53

And the international Paralympic

committee could celebrate with more

0:20:540:20:56

nations taking part than ever before

and a record number of tickets sold.

0:20:560:21:00

They now call these Games the

greatest Winter Paralympics to date.

0:21:000:21:04

Kate Grey, BBC News, John Chiang. --

John Chiang.

0:21:040:21:09

In the last few minutes,

Rory McIlroy has won

0:21:090:21:12

the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

0:21:120:21:13

It's the former world number one's

first title since 2016.

0:21:130:21:15

McIlroy won the tournament

in Florida by three strokes,

0:21:150:21:17

with a final round of 64.

0:21:170:21:19

The Masters, the only Major

that McIlroy hasn't won,

0:21:190:21:21

is less than three weeks away.

0:21:210:21:22

Details of the rest of the day's

sport is on the BBC website,

0:21:220:21:26

including Celtic's goalless draw

with Motherwell and Chelsea's

0:21:260:21:28

progression to the semi-finals

of the Women's FA Cup.

0:21:280:21:30

Mishal.

0:21:300:21:31

An art and textiles teacher

from London has won a million dollar

0:21:310:21:34

prize recognising an outstanding

contribution to the

0:21:340:21:36

teaching profession.

0:21:360:21:37

Andria Zafirakou works in a school

with a high proportion

0:21:370:21:39

of disadvantaged pupils and won

the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher

0:21:390:21:42

Prize at a ceremony in Dubai.

0:21:420:21:43

Sean Coughlan was watching.

0:21:430:21:45

Shush.

0:21:450:21:47

A big secret.

0:21:470:21:48

Who is the world's best teacher?

0:21:480:21:52

Andria Zafirakou.

0:21:520:21:56

An arts and textiles teacher

from a secondary school

0:21:560:21:59

in Brent in north London,

Andria Zafirakou found herself

0:21:590:22:01

centre stage as the winner

of the global teacher prize.

0:22:010:22:09

Good morning, girls.

0:22:110:22:13

Working in a deprived

inner-city community,

0:22:130:22:14

she was praised for going the extra

mile to build links

0:22:140:22:16

between school and parents,

and structuring activities around

0:22:160:22:18

students' individual needs.

0:22:180:22:20

To all the students all

over the world, I say,

0:22:200:22:23

whatever your circumstances,

whatever your troubles, please know

0:22:230:22:27

that you have the potential

to succeed in whatever your

0:22:270:22:29

dreams may be.

0:22:290:22:34

And that is a right that nobody

should take from you.

0:22:340:22:39

Andria Zafirakou ending that report

from Sean Coughlan in Dubai.

0:22:390:22:41

That's all from me.

0:22:410:22:42

Stay with us on BBC One - it's time

for the news where you are.

0:22:420:22:57