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This is BBC World News America.
Reporting from Washington,
I'm Laura Trevelyan.
A return to the Cold War chill.
Britain's Prime Minister expels
23 Russian diplomats,
in retaliation for the poisoning
of a former Russian spy in the UK.
They have treated the use of
military grade nerve agent in Europe
with sarcasm, contempt and defiance.
Across this nation, US students make
the case for gun control -
walking out of their classrooms,
one month after the
I discovered that black holes are
not that black after all.
I discovered that black holes
are not that black after all.
a scientific genius.
How Stephen Hawking's
discoveries changed our
understanding of the universe.
Welcome to our viewers on public
television here in America,
and also around the world.
In the biggest expulsion
since the Cold War, Britain
is to kick out 23 Russian diplomats.
Theresa May has pointed the finger
at Moscow over the poisoning
of a former Russian double agent
and his daughter in England.
In response, she's going to crack
down on Russian spies,
criminals and corrupt elites
who are sheltering in Britain.
It's the most dramatic action
against Moscow in 30 years.
Here's our political
editor, Laura Kuenssberg.
It was right to offer Russia
the opportunity to provide
an explanation, but their response
has demonstrated complete disdain
for the gravity of these events.
The midnight deadline came
and went, leaving a morning
with no new answers.
Theresa May went prepared
to Prime Minister's Questions,
ready to announce the biggest
diplomatic action against Russia
since the Cold War.
They have treated the use
of a military-grade nerve agent
in Europe with sarcasm,
contempt and defiance.
Mr Speaker, there is no
alternative conclusion other
than that the Russia State
was culpable for the attempted
murder of Mr Skripal
and his daughter.
This represents an
unlawful use of force
by the Russian state against the UK.
So, the UK will retaliate.
The United Kingdom will expel
23 Russian diplomats,
who have been identified
as undeclared intelligence officers.
They have just one week to leave.
This was not just an act
of attempted murder in Salisbury,
nor just an act against the UK,
it is an affront to the prohibition
on the use of chemical weapons
and an affront to the rules-based
system on which we and our
international partners depend.
So, 23 diplomats suspected of being
spies have seven days to leave,
all high-level contact
between the UK and Russia
is suspended, and no minister
or member of the Royal Family
will go to the World Cup.
And some Russian State
assets could be frozen,
with possible new laws to crack down
on hostile states.
In a tense Commons,
Jeremy Corbyn was not quite ready
to accept the culpability
of the Russian State.
Our response must be both
decisive and proportionate
and based on clear evidence.
But listen to rising anger,
as Jeremy Corbyn turned some
of his fire on the Tories.
It is - as we have expressed
before - a matter of huge
regret that our country's diplomatic
capacity has been stripped
back, with cuts of 25%
in the last five years.
It is tradition for the two
main parties to stick
together on foreign policy.
Not these two.
This is not a question
of our diplomacy, of what diplomatic
support we have around the world,
this is a question of the
culpability of the Russian State.
But does this bother the Russian
strongman, but Amir Putin,
campaigning in Crimea? Apologetic. A
spokesman claiming on Russian TV,
written does not understand
diplomacy or the law and is full of
liars, fully fledged liars. This is
not just a straightforward foreign
policy clash, but a fight with a
country that explores the norms.
Number 10 knows this may only be the
That was Laura Kuennsberg
At the United Nations,
US Ambassador Nikki Haley sided
squarely with Britain in saying that
Russia was responsible
for the poisoning.
She was speaking at an emergency
meeting of the UN Security Council,
called at Britain's request.
Earlier, I spoke with the BBC's
Nick Bryant, from the UN.
Russia must boycott operate with the
UK's investigation and come clean
about its own chemical weapons
programme. Russia is a permanent
member of the Security Council. It
is entrusted in the United Nations
Charter with upholding international
peace and security. It must account
for its actions.
speaking there. Earlier, I spoke
with the BBC's Nick Bryant from then
United Nations. Very tough words,
tougher than her boss in the White
House, what is the reaction from
What we heard
from Nikki Haley is the first time a
Trump administration official has
explicitly blamed Moscow for this
attack. The former Secretary of
State Rex Tillerson said earlier in
the week it was likely Russia was in
bold. Donald Trump says he probably
agrees with the British binding that
had not concluded yet that Russia
was to blame. Nikki Haley did say
that and she said Russia's crime had
to be met with immediate and
concrete measures from the Security
Council and the international
community because they did not do
something here, it would, Salisbury
would not be the last time we saw a
chemical attack and it could happen
in New York. The Russian Ambassador
was very angry this meeting was even
held. The British called it this
emergency session and the Russians
tried to hold it up with procedural
wrangling and they've failed, the
Russian Ambassador saying it should
not be dragged before the Security
Council. You and made a bizarre
observation that we need Sherlock
Holmes to solve this case.
UN Security Council do anything
given that Russia has a beta and it
can block any concrete action?
Haley said that because she knows
that Russia will veto any move to
take concrete measures that she was
proposing. And the bishops -- the
British in calling this meeting had
ambitions. They wanted to provide a
forum, the biggest politics stage in
the world, that horseshoe table at
the Security Council, so that the
international community could show
solidarity and condemn Russia's
actions. For the most part, that
happened today at the United Nations
in New York.
What does the UN
Secretary General say himself about
He said it is
unacceptable. The use of chemical
weapons is a violation of
international law. What Antonio
Gutierrez stop short of doing was
pointing the finger of blame at
Russia and he said it was not his
job to assign blame. But clearly,
most members on the Security Council
this afternoon was -- were prepared
to do that, pointing the finger of
blame at Moscow.
From the United
Nations, thank you.
Here in the US, students
across the country took part
in a National School Walkout,
to mark one month since
the Florida School shooting.
The event lasted 17 minutes -
one minute for each life lost,
when a gunman opened fire
on students and teachers.
The walkout comes ahead
of a major march on Washington
later this month.
Our North America editor,
Jon Sopel, reports.
The last time we saw children
pouring out of school,
it was with their hands up in terror
after the Florida shooting.
Today, they came out across America
- but this time, with their fists
change on gun control.
In Washington, at ten o'clock
on a bracing cold morning,
with their backs turned
on the White House,
fell silent for 17 minutes,
one minute for each of the people
who died at the Marjorie
Stoneman Douglas school
in Florida last month.
There's no doubting extraordinary
success these young people have had
in changing the whole terms
of debate on the subject
of gun control.
Their problem is that the man
who lives on the other side of that
fence seems to have got cold feet.
When Donald Trump met youngsters
from the Florida School
at the White House, he seemed
to offer his support for tougher gun
control measures like raising to 21
the age at which you can
buy a rifle.
And he later chided lawmakers
for being frightened
of the National Rifle Association.
Some of you people are
petrified of the NRA.
You can't be petrified.
But he's now backed off those
proposals and so the end people
are intensifying their campaign.
We want them to pass common-sense
gun reforms and ban assault rifles.
We don't want to be
scared in school.
We are tired of being scared.
We want actual change.
We want it with this actual protest.
This is a curtain-raiser
to a mass demonstration
in Washington in ten days' time.
They are a long way from getting
what they want, but the power
of youth protest has got them
further than anyone could have
imagined and they're not
in any mood to surrender.
Never again! Never again!
In other news...
Donald Trump has tipped a cable news
commentator to be his top adviser.
Larry Kudlow has been a fixture on
US TV for more than a decade. He
also served in the Reagan
administration. He replaces Gary
Cohen who stepped down last week in
protest against the steel and
After six months of coalition talks,
Angela Merkel has been sworn in for
it though term as German Chancellor
leading a coalition of Conservatives
and Social Democrats.
In Italy, 23,000 people had been
evacuated from a town on the East
coast after an unexploded World War
II bomb was found. Officials say 225
kilograms bomb was British made and
there was panic when it was
accidentally activated during the
construction of a drain. The device
was removed and dropped into the
From June, Google says the
cryptocurrency Bit coin will be
banned from being advertised on its
platforms. BBC understands Google
decided to act because it felt there
was a lack of consumer protection
for highly speculative and complex
Democrat Conor Lamb has claimed
victory in a Congressional race
in Western Pennsylvania that's
virtually a dead heat.
The strong showing by the former
Marine in a district Donald Trump
won by nearly 20 points has both
parties re-thinking their approach
to the November midterms.
Josh Kraushaar is the political
editor for the National Journal,
and he joins me now.
You know about the special
elections. The seat was in the heart
of Trump country, why could
Republicans not convincingly hold
Number one, the Democratic
base is so energised in the country
even in very Republican districts.
You have an energised Liberal base
so angry at President Trump they are
willing to show what to every
election from dog-catcher to a big
congressional race. Conor Lamb ran
as a very centrist candidate,
winning over a lot of Republican and
independent voters who worry about
going too far to the left, but his
message was reassuring on a lot of
But only in January,
Republicans were feeling good about
their tax cuts, hoping they could
sell it in an area like this, what's
changed between then and now?
and his daily controversies which
drive the new cycle and distract
Republicans from talking about what
they want. Namely, the state of the
economy. One reason why this race is
so significant is it is taking place
in the middle of an economic boom
when people in this district say
they are very happy about the state
of the economy, but a Republican
seat Trump won by 20 points was won
by a Democrat even during the good
So what does this mean if
you are a vulnerable Republican in a
seat, got ahead of November's
There are over
100 house seats more competitive
than this Pennsylvania congressional
This map is going to be
huge in November. Democrats only
need to win 24 house seats to take
back the majority and only need to
win maybe half, a third of the races
in play. The odds of Democrats
taking back the house have never
looked greater after this election.
Democrats to face hurdles of their
own. Not least, the Senate.
Senate is much tougher because the
big battle grounds for the Senate
are in very Republican states like
North Dakota, West Virginia, the
most Trump friendly states on the
map. It is not like Pennsylvania, it
is more in suburban battle grounds
where Donald Trump has lost
significant ground. What made this
so significant, this isn't Trump
country and Democrats still want to
raise enemy lines.
What lessons will
Democrats learn from it, that they
can track right and do well with the
right candidate or do anything and
The former is a much
more important lesson and if
Democrats can nominate moderate
candidates, not necessarily Liberal
on guns and economically Liberal,
Conor Lamb did not support the $50
minimum wage for example, if they
appeal to the business friendly
centrists who do not care for Donald
Trump and his presidency, that is
the ticket to winning a lot of key
Thank you so
much for joining us.
You're watching BBC
World News America.
Still to come on
Finding the Stephen
Hawking of tomorrow.
We visit a science fair in the UK,
to hear from students how
the physicist influenced them.
30 years ago, the crew of the Maiden
became the first all-female team
in a round-the-world yacht race.
Now a new Maiden project is aimed
at promoting girls' education.
Here's John Maguire.
Almost 30 years since she was first
converted into a yacht ready to race
around the world's oceans,
Maiden is back.
She's in the same boatshed
as her first refit and with
the same man in charge.
We didn't know what we were letting
ourselves in for until we blasted
all the paint and it fell off
the boat inside and out, and then
we could actually judge
what it was and there
was a lot more.
Once you get into it,
you find other jobs.
In 1990, Tracy Edwards and her team
sailed around the globe -
and into the record books -
as the first all-female crew
in the Whitbread race.
Last year, Maiden was rescued
from the Seychelles and brought back
to her spiritual home.
She made a sorry, but
very welcome, sight.
A bit emotional, really.
I haven't seen the boat since 1990,
when the race finished.
And then all of a sudden,
last summer, she reappeared again.
Duncan also worked back on the yacht
in the '80s and has a very
personal link with her.
One of the girls from the first
crew never actually did
the round-the-world trip because I
separated her from the rest
of them and married her.
She was the first
of the two doctors.
Maiden has been restored to embark
later this year on another
this time taking three years
as the crew promotes
education for girls.
With so much being refurbished
or replaced, when she returns
to the water in the summer,
it will feel like her maiden
voyage but, in many ways,
her mission will be the same -
to once again promote challenge,
adventure and opportunity
for women and for girls.
Tributes have been pouring
in for Stephen Hawking,
who re-shaped the way we see
the universe, and brought
theoretical physics to the masses.
The scientist died peacefully
at his home in Cambridge,
England, early on Wednesday.
His work on black holes
and relativity made him a household
name, as he overcame
his physical challenges.
Our science editor,
David Shukman, looks back
on his extraordinary life.
There is nothing like the Eureka
moment of discovering
something that no-one knew before.
Stephen Hawking had a gift
for inspiration, a powerful spirit
overcoming an ailing body to allow
a mind to roam the cosmos.
Earning him a place as the most
famous scientist in the world.
It has been a glorious time to be
alive and researching and doing
Who else could draw
crowds like this?
The man who gazed at the stars
became one himself.
His story poignant and uplifting,
his career involved concept
so alien and complicated that for
most, it was a struggle to keep up.
But he explored the strangest
of features of the universe,
black holes, drawing together
the science of the largest things
in space with the science
of the very small - part
of a quest to come up with a single
theory for the universe.
He made these incredibly original
insights that set up the modern
theory of black holes.
And made great
contributions to cosmology.
he was a huge figure.
I was devastated, really upset.
I only met him a couple of times,
but he had a real impact on my life.
It is the passing of a great
scientist who will be truly missed.
As a student, his intelligence
stood out but, at that
moment, he was given
a warning that motor neurone disease
would cut his life short.
When I was diagnosed at 21,
I was told it would kill me
in two, three years.
Somehow, he kept going.
In a high-tech wheelchair
and with a synthesised voice.
Communicating first by touch,
then by twitching a single
muscle in his cheek -
a daunting burden for anyone.
His children saw him as an example.
People who live in really extreme
circumstances seem to find something
very inspirational in his example
of perseverance and his ability
to rise above his suffering
and still want to communicate
at a higher level.
Life was never straightforward -
his first marriage ending
in divorce, as did a second to one
of his nurses.
Claims that he had been physically
abused, the case dropped
because of lack of evidence.
His book sold at least ten million
copies and everyone wanted
to meet him - from the Pope
in the Vatican, to the Queen.
To President Obama,
who awarded him a medal of honour.
His fame reached beyond
the world of science.
Your theory of a doughnut-shaped
universe is intriguing.
Even appearing in The Simpsons.
I didn't say that.
Yes, I did.
In an episode of Star Trek, he had
the chance to tease Isaac Newton.
Not the apple story again!
Astounding to think the Lord created
this in just seven days.
It took 13.8 million years.
Let's not get robbed down in all
More recently, he was happy to play
along for Comic Relief.
He saw himself as an ambassador
for science and in this interview,
told me of his hopes
for the Large Hadron Collider.
He had a sense of adventure.
I am very excited.
I have been wheelchair-bound
for almost four decades
and the chance to float
free in zero G will be wonderful.
Even braving a zero-gravity flight.
No surprise his death
Tim Berners-Lee tweeted...
If you reverse time and the universe
is getting smaller...
Eddie Redmayne played him
in the film The Theory
of Everything and today
said, 'We have lost
a truly beautiful mind.'
A scientist who delved
into the realm of black holes
offered an incredibly engaging story
that achieved something remarkable,
it touched a global audience.
Professor Hawking was clearly
an inspiration to scientists
the world over and, in particular,
to young people.
And the UK is actually in the middle
of British Science Week,
and thousands of kids and young
adults have been attending a Science
fair at the National Exhibition
Centre, in Birmingham.
Some of them have been talking
to Jon Kay about Stephen Hawking.
Stephen Hawking would
have loved this.
20,000 young British scientists
Do it again!
Do it again!
He told young people
to be curious and, today,
as they studied trajectories...
and force, many were thinking
of their scientific superhero.
How would you describe him?
Genius, pioneer, brilliant,
I read A Brief History Of Time.
I thought it was very interesting.
Did you read all of it?
I did actually read all of it.
And it got me into black holes,
and I went on to a series
of lectures about them.
So, yeah, it fuelled a lot for me.
On display at the Big
Bang Fair, inventions
from the scientists of tomorrow.
These A-level physicists from
North Wales regard Professor Hawking
as a modern-day genius.
He's the intellectual follower
of Einstein and Newton.
These amazing, amazing figures
that we read about in physics books,
he was getting to that level.
He was incredible.
His legacy will live on.
Inside an inflatable black hole,
teenagers studied Hawking's
space and time theories
while taking selfies.
It's a lot in one
lifetime for anyone.
I think he's encouraged
science as a field as well.
I think more people are more
invested in science
nowadays because of him.
At 15, this boy has invented an app
which could help people
escape a tower block fire
using virtual reality.
He admires Hawking's
He was only one man who did such
great things and I was really
inspired by that, because usually,
you see people follow the same paths
and try and do the same things.
But Stephen Hawking was really
unique, in the sense that he wanted
to do things differently
and he wanted to contribute things
in a different sense.
And I was really inspired by that.
Perhaps the next Stephen Hawking
was in this room today.
Jon Kay, BBC News, Birmingham.
How Stephen Hawking is inspiring the
I'm Laura Trevelyan.
Thank you for watching
World News America.