26/04/2013 BBC News at One

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The latest national and international news stories from the BBC News team, followed by weather.

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limited but growing evidence that chemical weapons have been used by


government forces in Syria. As violence escalates in the country,


David Cameron says reports that sarin gas has been used on a small


scale would amount to a war crime, but he says he does not want to see


British troops involved. Also this lunchtime, three members of a


terrorist cell which planned bombing campaign in the UK have received


lengthy prison terms. The death toll rises in Bangladesh. Hundreds are


still missing. Police opened on protesters angry at conditions in


the country's clothing factories. MPs warn the Treasury and the big


four accountancy firms have an unhealthily cosy relationship.


Trying to save Britain's bee populations. Could banning a


pesticide be the answer? The ballroom dancer who lost her leg in


the Boston Marathon bomb, who says she is determined not to give in or


give up. I absolutely want to dance again and will dance again. I also


want to run the marathon next year. Later on BBC London, the


Metropolitan Police is to reorganise the way it investigates rates, after


a series of bungled investigations. Shock explosions on a Pimlico


the BBC News that one. David Cameron has said there is limited but


growing evidence that Syrian troops have used chemical weapons against


their own people. Mr Cameron called any use of such weapons of war crime


and said they represented a red line for the international community to


do more. But he said it was unlikely British troops would enter Syria.


Yesterday, the US government said it believed that with varying degrees


of confidence, the Syrian government had used chemical weapons. You may


find some images in this report distressing.


More shelling today in a district of the Syrian capital. We can't


independently verify these images but this grim conflict is already


more than two years old and the United Nations estimates has cost


more than 70,000 lives. Now, a potentially significant new


development. Are these distressed victims being treated in hospital


for the effects of the chemical weapons attack? Something the Obama


Administration has previously said would constitute a red line. For the


first time, the Americans are saying this -- they have some evidence the


Syrian government may have used sarin gas. A journalist said he was


at a recent hospital where victims were treated. And Oracle -- American


medical team turned up. There were hair samples sent off to an American


laboratory. The results, I don't know. This is also a conflict into


which Washington remains deeply reluctant to intervene. So the


administration is being cautious, talking of only a limited use of


chemical weapons and saying more information and a UN investigation


are needed, that this is not yet the crossing of the red line. The Obama


administration has talked about a possible breakdown of command,


perhaps a rogue commander has used them. Another explanation is perhaps


they were used inadvertently, the explosive shells and chemical shells


were mixed up, hence the usage was that way. The Obama administration


is under pressure at home and from its allies to take a tougher stand.


It is very disturbing what we are seeing. It is limited evidence but


we there is growing evidence that we have seen of the use of chemical


weapons, probably by the regime. It is extremely serious. This is a war


crime and we should take very seriously. These are set to be more


images of chemical attack. But perhaps with the Iraq experience in


the background, there is caution in London and as David Cameron again


underlined, no appetite for western boots on the ground.


Let's speak to our correspondent, Wyre Davies, in Beirut. Distressing


scenes but as we heard in the report, caution being exercised in


the language because people will ask how sure we can be of the evidence?


The West has been wrong before, most notably ten years ago with weapons


of mass destruction and that invasion of Iraq. The difference


back then, there was a political appetite in Western capitals to go


into Iraq, despite the evidence. It is the opposite now. We are hearing


quite strong evidence apparently but there is a reluctance to go into


Syria. The Americans talk about the need for greater clarification


uncertainty because it is difficult to prove that sarin has been used.


Even then, I do not think we will see Americans, British or French


troops on the ground, an attempt to enforce a no-fly zone or bottom --


buffer zone. I do not think we will see military info to mention from


Western powers even if chemical weapons have been used. Three


members of a terrorist cell, who planned a bombing campaign in the


UK, have received lengthy prison terms.


The ringleader, Irfan Naseer, 31 and from Birmingham, was given a life


sentence and told he would spend at least 18 years in jail. Police said


the plot could have been more devastating than the July the 7th


attacks in London. Matt Prodger is that worried -- Woolwich Crown


Court. This marks the culmination of the biggest counterterrorism


operation in Britain for several years.


11 men sentenced, the longest life sentence, the shortest, 14 months.


The judge in his sentencing remarks said of the plot, many deaths were


planned by determined team of individuals who were fully


radicalised and at the heart of that plan to bomb targets in the UK was a


trio of ringleaders. Three men from Birmingham who planned mass murder


in their own country. All jailed today. They were arrested in 2011.


Police pulled over a car containing the three would-be suicide bombers.


First out of the vehicle was Ashik Ali, then if unhallowed and -- in


Irfan Khalid and the ringleader, Irfan Naseer. The judge said Irfan


Naseer had planned multiple acts of suicide bombing with serious loss of


life. He received a life sentence. He spoke of staging another 9/11. He


was jailed for 18 years. Ashik Ali was in charge of full --


fundraising, sentenced to 15 years. This case was immensely serious


because they aspired to commit mass murder by suicide bombs, by placing


bombs in crowded places. They were very critical of the 7/7 bombers in


terms of not killing enough people will stop they had nails and their


bombs. They wanted to kill a lot of people and they aspired to their


9/11. They wanted to go down in history doing it. Their trial had


heard how they had been watched by MI5 and the police. Bugs were


planted in their car. They were heard planning to detonate up to


eight bombs. The targets were not clear but they talked about turning


parts of Birmingham into a war zone. They pretended to be


collecting money for charity, taking in thousands of pounds from their


own community. But they cheated the charity, Muslim aid, out of the


cash. Ahmed, jailed for four years, gambled away most of the money on


the currency markets. Inside the home of one of the men they had


started experimenting with bomb-making equipment. Irfan Naseer


had scratched out a blueprint for it is I -- device. Ahmed and seven


other men played a small role. Four of them went to Pakistan for


terrorist training but they left as soon as they're furious families


discovered what they were up to. The judge said they had made a chilling


mistake. This morning, a statement was released on behalf of


Birmingham's 230,000 strong Muslim community.


It reads, these acts are not carried out in our name, and calls for


peace. In defiance, it says, of extremists that try to take root on


the fringes of all our communities. A huge demonstration has taken place


in Bangladesh, with thousands of protesters calling for better


conditions for workers in the clothing industry. At least 280


people are known to have died in the building collapse in Dhaka on


Wednesday. More than 2000 people have been rescued. The search for


more survivors continues. Our correspondent Anbarasan Ethirajan


reports. Thousands of angry and frustrated


garment workers took to the streets in Dhaka and its industrial suburbs.


Their demand, answers from the owner of the building which collapsed. The


eight story building contained clothing factories and a number of


shops. It came down earlier this week, trapping hundreds of people.


Nearly 300 people are now known to have died and -- in the incident and


more than 1000 are injured. TRANSLATION:


Of machine fell on my hand and I was collapsed. My hand had to be cut


off. Security forces used batons and tear gas to disperse the protesters.


Meanwhile, more bodies have been recovered from the building collapse


site. Hundreds of people still thought to be trapped inside. Rescue


workers are aware that they are racing against time. There is


growing anger on how the factory's continued work despite warnings on


the safety of the building. These pictures, from a local television


channel, show cracks on the building on Tuesday, which triggered an


evacuation of workers. But they had been ordered back into the


production lines. A day later, the building collapsed. The Government


has promised tough action against those responsible for this tragic


incident. In recent years of the country has become a major producer


of low-cost clothing for Western retailers. However, the latest


incident has come as a jolt to the thriving industry. Trade union


leaders say if safety standards in factories are not improved, it could


lead to more protests in the future. We can speak to our reporter now.


On that question, could this terrible tragedy prove perhaps be a


turning point in the clothing industry there? That is what many


people here hope because there have been a number of incidents like this


in the last few years. The notable one was a big fire in a clothing


factory last November outside the capital Dhaka killing more than 110


people. Within six months we have this second tragic incident in which


nearly 300 people have been killed in the building collapse and this


building contained a few clothing factories. Western retailers have


been urging the factory owners here to improve safety standards, because


Bangladesh is becoming the world's tailoring shop. It is the world's


second largest exporter of ready-made clothes and people here


hope the latest incident will also put pressure on the factory owners


to improve safety standards in Bangladesh.


The four biggest accountancy firms are accused of using an unhealthily


cosy relationship with the government to help their wealthy


clients avoid paying tax. A group of MPs from the Commons Public Accounts


Committee say stuff from the accountancy firms who have been on


secondment to the Treasury have used information to help clients reduce


their tax. First MPs targeted Starbucks, Google


and Amazon over tax. Now they are going for the big four accountancy


firms, who advised major companies. The Public Accounts Committee is


says evidence they saw showed the firms exploit inside knowledge to


cut tax. The worst thing we uncovered was this practice that I


call poacher turned gamekeeper turned poacher. What that means is


the big four accountancy can -- firms put that experts into Treasury


and HMRC, helped write the technical rules that become new laws and armed


with that insider knowledge, they go back to their companies and use that


knowledge to devise new schemes for tax avoidance. The committee wants


to stop accountants using inside knowledge to operate as tax


vouchers, to ban them from public sector work if they sell tax


avoidance schemes and to force them along with businesses to be more


open about declaring profits in countries which charge less tax.


Accountants complain the criticism is unfair. You'll we give tax advice


responsibly in accordance with the law in the intentions of parliament


generally and we advise companies when they are considering what they


are doing to take account of the wide impacts. The Treasury says


revenue and Customs has raised billions more pounds in tax by


clamping down on avoidance and it defends the practice of employing


staff from accountancy firms. we not engaged with taxpayers and


their advisers, I think that would be an absurd suggestion. We want to


make sure we get tax law right. That means talking to those who have an


interest in the area. There are particular areas where we are making


our tax system more competitive. We want to make sure we get that right,


it is effective and workable. Pressure from the Public Accounts


Committee bash at Starbucks to volunteer to contribute �20 million


extra in tax. Now the pressure is on accountants to stop exploiting what


today's report calls, our hopelessly complex tax system, to enable


countries to pay less. -- police to pay less. Our top story, the Prime


Minister says there is limited but growing evidence that chemical


weapons have been used by government forces in Syria. Coming up, move


over Batman. The young royals get a taste for movie magic. Later on BBC


London, a choreographer behind hit musicals like Cats is rewarded for a


lifetime's work on a West End stage. Chelsea are on course to book


themselves a place at this year's Europa League Final. And a look at


these are in danger of dying out, and campaigners think a commonly


used pesticide which creates havoc with their sense of direction is to


blame, and they are marching on Parliament Ed of a key vote to ban


the chemical. Jeremy Cooke joins us with more from Hanbury Hall to tell


us more. Jeremy. Yes, it has been an absolutely


gorgeous morning here at Hanbury Hall and gardens, plenty of


sunshine, a little bit of cloud as well, and it is quite cool. The bees


that populate these hives have decided, quite understandably, that


will stay inside and stay cosy, and who can blame them? Over recent


years, they have been facing an increasingly hostile environment.


In the heart of the British countryside, something is killing


the bus. For years, our bee populations have been in decline, a


toxic mix of deadly parasite and horrible weather have taken their


total. But there is another suspect in the search for the bee killer, a


pesticide used in crop production is under investigation. Many are


already convinced that the chemicals are the culprit, and today


beekeepers and environmentalists let the countryside to march on London,


joining celebrities taking their protests directly to Westminster.


Their message, that some pesticides should be banned while scientists


study how damaging to bees they can be. If there is any chance that they


can be affecting the health of pollinators, which are responsible


for pollinating two thirds of our food, I think it would be more than


precautionary, it would be extremely sensible to support this ban.


pesticides in question are neonicotinoids, the active


ingredient is civil to nicotine in cigarettes. They offer cross


protection against bugs including aphids, and it was thought they were


safe for bees, but with population struggling, the population -- the


European Union wants a moratorium while tests continue. Manufacturers


deny that their products are to blame, and here the Government is


cautious. We have to base whatever we do on the evidence, on the


scientific research that is available. That is far from


conclusive. We have got to get this right, because doing the wrong thing


may evolve worse effects on the bee and pollinator population than


simply acting in a knee-jerk way. committee of MPs has accused the


Government of being complacent over the issue, and government scientists


accept that neonicotinoids do kill bees, but as issue is how many.


Ministers must now balance the need to protect colonies with the need to


protect crops. Both are, of course, essential for the production of food


for a hungry population. Now, there will be a vote on this in


Europe on Monday. The British position remains that before there


can be a moratorium or a ban, there must be more scientific evidence.


A fire at a psychiatric hospital in Russia is thought to have killed 38


people, all but two of them patients. The fire started in the


early hours of the morning in Ramensky, north of Moscow. We can


speak to Daniel Sandford, who is at the scene. Daniel.


Yes, this has been the scene of a terrible tragedy. You can still


smell in the air the remains of the smell of burning wood. At two


o'clock this morning, a fire burst out just towards the front of that


red bus there, you can probably see the gap in the fence. That was the


psychiatric ward of a hospital, a wooden building with bars on the


window, because the patients might have escaped. Many of them were


sedated, so when the fire broke out, it tore through the building very


fast, and many of the patients did not wake up. Those who did struggled


to get out of the building. Of the 41 people in the building, only


three escaped, one nurse and two patients, and that left 36 patients


and two members of staff dead. The primary star and the president have


ordered urgent enquiries into what happened, and it has cast a


spotlight on big problems in Russia with fire safety and the poor


standards in medical those other days.


Next Thursday says local elections across England and a by-election in


South Shields, called following the resignation last month of David


Miliband, who has moved to New York to work for a charity. South Shields


has been a Labour seat since 1935 and currently has a majority of


11,000, but as north-east political editor Richard Moss reports,


challengers are hoping to pull off a shock result.


South Shields, coastal, historic and, up to now, rocksolid Labour.


Over the last 78 years and 19 general elections, South Shields has


always returned a Labour MP, and opponents have sunk without trace. A


Labour says it is not taking a 20th successive victory for granted. It


has been careful to choose a locally born and bred candidate this time,


but is that every action to David Miliband's lack of local roots?


at all, MPs bring different things into the role, and David was a


different kind of MP to what I will be. I have spent my whole life here,


and people know I will fight for them in Westminster if I am


successful. The Conservatives have also chosen someone born in South


Shields, and a born optimist, too. You would have to be to hope for


victory in a seat which has not returned a single Tory MP in its 180


year history. I have got 15 years of business experience in the City of


London. I want to come back to my hometown because I think I can those


skills here, and I want to be an advocate for enterprise, investment,


to really get things going. Liberals were once the party to beat


here. Mind you, that was 80 years ago. But the Liberal Democrats


believe that change is possible once again. I am here to give people a


real choice. A lot of people are telling me they are fed up with


Labour running the place as a 1-party state. If I believed in a


1-party state, I would move to North Korea. There is a new name on the


high Street - UKIP has chalked up some good by-election results, but


can they win one? While we are here basically to beat the coalition,


that is our number one target, we are also in it to win it, and


anything could possibly happen in a by-election. At the moment it is


hard to send Labour blood, and history suggests the party will


continue to rule the waves here next Thursday.


You can find much more information about the upcoming elections on our


website. So Winston Churchill is to be judged


on the new �5 note. The Bank of England has announced that Britain's


leader during World War II will appear on the back of the fibre


together with some of his most famous words, I have nothing to


offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. Luisa Baldini is at his


former home and can show us, as you can see, what the note will like.


Yes, here it is, unveiled by the Governor of the Bank of England this


morning, and the most prominent feature of course is that portrait


of Sir Winston, and then a view of Westminster, which is acknowledging


that for almost 60 years Westminster was his life. And the image of the


clock, the hands at three o'clock, which represents the time on the


13th of May, 1940, when he delivered his first speech as Prime Minister,


saying those words - I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and


sweat. In the background, the image of the Nobel Prize he was awarded in


1953 for literature. This is expected to come in to circulate and


in 2016. It is hoped that it will be nicknamed a Winston.


There is magic with a sprinkling of royal stardust going on in Watford


at this lunchtime, the juke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince


Harry are visiting the home of another Harry, Harry Potter. They


are there to meet children and representatives of the various


charities they are connected with, and to have a go at some wizardry.


Nicholas Witchell has been with them.


Yes, a day at the movies or at least at the studios, these �100 million


studios are the first built by a Hollywood studio in the UK for some


70 years. Home, as you say, to Harry Potter and the Caped Crusader,


Batman, as to their delight, William and Harry discovered.


It is every small boy's dream to be Batman for the day, and for two not


so small boys, this was the day they could pretend it was true. One of


the big film studios, here was the Caped Crusader's motorbike, just too


much for William, a keen biker himself, to resist. So much for


royal dignity, then! Kate seemed to think he looked chewed, Harry


suggested he needed a pair of Batman years. And here was something called


the Tumbler, once again it was William at the controls, and this


time there was a throttle to play for whom the studios are best known,


the boy wizard himself, Harry Potter. He was off on his broomstick


somewhere, but his creator, JK rolling, was there. William made a


speech to inaugurate the new studios, but his mind was clearly


still on the capital at the back mobiles. I am over the moon to have


seen the real machines. Do you do baby seats for those cars? Finally,


they were shown the sets and props from the Harry Potter films,


familiar characters and scenes from counters childhoods. -- countless.


They are still inside, and they have been chairing a meeting of the


leaders of their charities on the It is 11 days since the Boston


Marathon bombing in which three people lost their lives and dozens


more were injured. One of the victims, Adrianne Haslett, a


ballroom dancer, lost her left foot and part of the lake after one of


the bombs exploded behind her. Despite injury, she has vowed she


will dance again and she wants to run in the next bar of the marathon


next year. All of a sudden, we heard a loud


blast, and the first bomb had gone off, and we knew just by the sheer


sound of it and the smoke that it was not something that was, you


know, a phone explosion of confetti or anything like that. We were


terrified, and I knew at that moment that there would be another


explosion, I just knew, I knew that there was no way there could just be


one. We were about four Pete from where the bomb was. And we were


knocked off our feet, and I remember that the S sort of... The impact of


the explosion hitting my chest, and being knocked off, knocked off of


our feet, and we landed in a sort of pretzel. I said, I think there is


something wrong with my foot. And he looked down, and I looked down,


there was blood everywhere, his legs were completely covered in blood,


and my foot, my left foot, my ankle, I won't take off my shoe, I


have dancer's Pete! My foot was missing from year to year. A couple


of the firemen said, she has got to go, and I was screaming, I am a


ballroom dancer, please save my foot. When I dance, I do not care


about anything else at all. I could be having a horrible day, a horrible


morning, and if I could just dance for five minutes, I would feel much


better, and that is why this is hard, because I cannot just get up


and dance right now. I absolutely want to dance again and will dance


again, and I also want to run the marathon next year, and I have a lot


of people that are backing me up and supporting me, even though they know


I am not a runner, at all! There is so much that I have left. I do not


want this to be at, so I am going to fight everything I can to make sure


that it is not. Adrianne Haslett there with his


story following the Boston Marathon bombing. While we have been on air,


we have been getting reports of a major crash on the M6 G2 near


Pontefract in west Yorkshire, near junction 32. Early reports from


emergency services say that two people may have died and ten others


are seriously injured. The accident involved a lorry and a minibus. Six


air ambulances are in attendance. OK, it is time now to take you to


the weather, Darren Bett has joined cold weather today, and with that


comes some sunshine but also showers, heavy possibly with a loud


thunder as well. The colder air has swept down from the north, behind


this belt of cloud, and that brought the rain overnight and this morning


in the south-east, just about clearing away now, seeing some


sunshine for a while, but you can see the speckled cloud that is


bringing showers, which will be frequent and heavy across Northern


Ireland. The wind is blowing those showers over the Irish Sea with


heavier showers arriving in North Wales later in the afternoon, and by


then it may be dry across South Wales. Fewer showers in the


south-west of England, some sunshine, but the showers are not


far away, and in the south-east there will be a lot of showers this


afternoon. Here, temperatures are 10 degrees lower than they were at this


time yesterday, so a real chill in the air across the south-east,


colder weather pushing across the Midlands as well, still a few sharp


showers, heavy in northern England, hail and thunder, and over the hills


of northern England and Scotland there will be sleet and snow as


well. Through this evening and overnight, the showers gradually


become fewer, but there will be bands of showers, and later a


heavier band across East Anglia and the south-east. Clearing skies,


though, the winds dropping in northern Scotland, a risk of a touch


of frost, but elsewhere three degrees with sufficient cloud and


showers. The weekend is going to be quite cold, especially for the time


of year. Not completely dry, there will be showers and patchy rain on


Sunday, and as if that was not enough, there is a risk of a touch


of frost on Saturday night. Saturday day sees showers across England and


Wales, being blown southwards, heavy showers across East Anglia and the


south-east, improving in northern England, showers fading in eastern


Scotland. Not a bad day for Scotland and Northern Ireland, bright,


clouding over by the evening, but temperatures are disappointing, nine


or 11 degrees. Overnight, frost in rural areas, shown by the blue. That


risk is greater further south across the UK, because here we will have


clearer skies for longer. A ridge of high pressure, albeit briefly, will


keep its chilly overnight. Change is coming from the north-west, winds


strengthening, blowing in cloud, patchy light rain or drizzle, a


bright start in the south-east but clouding over, feeling chilly across


the south-east and the Midlands. After the rain, some sunshine and


showers for Scotland and Northern our main story: The Prime Minister