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A "decisive" step forward
on the road to Brexit as Britain
and Brussels reach a deal
on the transition period.
They agree on how much Britain owes
and the rights of EU citizens -
but how to avoid a hard border
in Ireland remains an issue.
step remains a step.
We are not at the end of the road
and there is a lot of work
still to be done on important
subjects including Ireland
and Northern Ireland.
We'll be looking at the agreement
in detail and asking how much
of a step forward it is.
Also this lunchtime...
International chemical weapons
experts arrive in UK to examine
the nerve agent used to poison
the former Russian
spy and his daughter.
A 26-year-old British
woman from Sussex has
been killed in Syria,
fighting alongside Kurdish forces.
Dozens of motorists stranded
overnight in Devon as the mini
Beast from the East
brings more disruption.
And teetering on the edge -
the homes in Norfolk evacuated over
the weekend amid high
winds and waves.
And coming up in the sport,
Rory McIlroy is favourite to win
golf's first major of the year,
The Masters, after his first
victory in 18 months,
at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Good afternoon and welcome
to the BBC News at One.
The Brexit Secretary,
David Davis, and the EU's chief
negotiator, Michel Barnier,
say it is a decisive step forward.
They announced this morning that
they've reached agreement on a large
part of the deal for Britain's
departure from the EU -
from the rights of EU citizens,
to the transition period and how
much the UK will pay.
But how to avoid a hard border
in Ireland is still an issue.
The announcement comes ahead
of an EU summit later this week
which the Prime Minister hopes
will pave the way
for talks on trade.
Our Europe Correspondent,
Damian Grammaticus, is in Brussels.
Today has been a busy day here in
Brussels, David Davis called it a
significant step, Mr Barnier called
it a decisive step. The outline
agreement for this transition period
that would come in in one year's
time when the UK leads the EU, the
link all the rules and trading
freely but there are crucial issues
remain an earlier today the Irish
Foreign Minister was here to make
sure the Irish border issue was not
First thing this morning and it was
the Irish Foreign Minister who was
in Brussels meeting Michel Barnier
before David Davis got there. His
aim was to see to it that Irish
concerns remained uppermost in the
Brexit negotiations. Simon Coveney
began the day tweeting that he was
on an early flight to ensure there
would be no backsliding on the Irish
border issue. After his meeting,
eight satisfied looking Mr Kirby
said that solidarity with the EU
partners remained strong. --
satisfied looking Simon Coveney. A
little later it was David Davis's
turn, hoping a transition deal could
be secured but to do so was urgent
with Brexit just a year away.
you confident today?
you confident today?
determined, Mr Barnier said. When
they re-emerged it was to say they
had agreed to a transition period
after Brexit where the UK will be
outside the EU but continued to
trade freely with it.
This not need
the late investment decisions based
on guesses about the future deal --
need not delay. Businesses have
certainty about the terms that will
a plight immediately after our
withdrawal which means they can
continue to operate with confidence
as the design of the future
partnership with the EU becomes
Mr Barnier displayed on the
screen is the full text of the
withdrawal treaty, yellow highlights
for the clauses that still needed
work. The EU is insisting on its
so-called backstop option where
Northern Ireland might stay fully
aligned with EU rules to avoid a new
border or so we agreed today that a
backstop solution must form part of
the legal text of the withdrawal
The backstop will apply
unless and until another solution is
The UK is still hoping a
border can be avoided if it does not
now present a better option than the
alignment of all parts of the island
of Ireland should be the solution.
There are still tricky issues to
address here, the UK gained some
things and it will be able to
negotiate and sign trade deals in
that condition is not implement them
and it has signed up to the shorter
transition the EU wanted and all
citizens rights should be guaranteed
through the transition period, for
EU citizens moving to the UK. All of
this will go to the EU leaders who
meet here at the end of the week for
them to give the green light for
talks to begin on the future
Our Assistant Political Editor,
Norman Smith, is in Westminster.
A decisive step forward, how
significant is it?
I think any way
you slice it it is a significant
moment because we now have an end
date for the final departure from
all existing EU rules and
regulations, December 2020, and you
can probably hear the sighs of
relief echoing around large part of
Westminster and the business
community because it gives us a
buffer zone. For business, 21 months
in which to get used to life outside
a single bucket and for government
time to put in place new procedures
in terms of customs policy and trade
policy, immigration policy and to
try to solve some of the remaining
fundamental difficulties in
particularly the issue around the
Northern Ireland border. It is
another key plank in the road to
Brexit. We had the withdrawal
agreement in December and now
agreement on transition. The
difficulty is the price that has had
to be paid and for many Brexiteers,
they ponder whether it is too high.
They don't like the fact that during
this transition period we will still
be subject to the rulings of the
European court, we will have to
accept new EU rules, we will in
effect remain part of the single
market, freedom of movement will
largely continue as is. The question
is, do the Brexiteers go on the war
path and try to tear down this
agreement? The answer is no, I don't
think they will because however
uncomfortable they might be with
aspects of this deal, for then the
end goal of leaving the EU is so
important that they don't want to do
anything to jeopardise it by
potentially undermining this
And you can keep across the latest
developments following today's
agreement between Britain and the EU
on the BBC News website.
International chemical weapons
experts have arrived in Salisbury
to examine the nerve agent used
to poison the former Russian spy
Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
The team, from the Organisation
for the Prohibition
of Chemical Weapons,
will also visit the military
research base at Porton
Down in Wiltshire.
It comes a day after
the Foreign Secretary,
Boris Johnson, accused the Russian
government of stockpiling nerve
Our correspondent Duncan
Kennedy is in Salisbury.
I think the arrival of those weapons
inspectors at Porton Down, Distin
the road, will be crucial to
confirming that agent is Russian.
The Foreign Secretary, Boris
Johnson, said today in Brussels that
Russian accusations to the contrary
were, in his words come increasingly
absurd, but Moscow has repeated what
it believes to be the truth is the
exact opposite of what Britain is
saying, they are saying that
Britain's claims are groundless.
Porton Down is an isolated facility
on Salisbury Plain that has operated
since the First World War and it is
that expertise built up over a
century that is the foundation of
its world-class reputation for
testing chemical weapons. The team
from the Organisation for the
Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was
invited here by the government. They
are expected to spend up to a week
talking to scientists and others
involved in the investigation buzzed
up the process will be very
rigorous, they are the professional
They are investigators from
the UN, very experienced operators
and they do this all over the place.
They have been to Syria many times
to investigate chemical weapons.
two weeks experts have been filmed
taking what looks like samples from
across Salisbury. It has not been
made public whether the nerve agent
in board was delivered at a powder,
liquid or other form. The team that
has arrived at Porton Down will be
crucial to confirming the nature of
the nerve agent. It inspectors will
discuss first how to transport
samples of the nerve agent from
Porton Down out of the country. The
samples will be sent for analysis to
one or more of around 20 approved
laboratories at their disposal. It
might take at least two weeks for
the results to come through.
Although that process will not be
quick, Britain is confident that the
inspectors will confirm the nerve
agent comes from Russia and today
the foreign ministers from the EU
gave what they called their
unqualified solidarity to Britain's
case. The Foreign Secretary, also in
Brussels, said Russian denials were
becoming increasingly absurd.
is a classic Russian strategy of
trying to conceal the needle of
truth in a haystack of lies and
Moscow said again today
it had no involvement in the attack
on Sergei and Yulia Skripal on the
4th of March. Mr Skripal's BMW seems
to be a focus of the police
enquiries, with multiple requests to
the public asking them if they saw
it. It is one of nearly 800 pieces
of evidence gathered by officers in
what they have described as a
complex and challenging
At the heart of the investigation is
the nerve agent but we will have to
be patient on this. As inspectors
have said time and again, it could
take two or more weeks before the
final independent results come
through. Duncan Kennedy, thank you.
Vladimir Putin is beginning another
six years in power after declaring
an overwhelming victory
in Russia's presidential election.
Mr Putin is said to have
received more than three
quarters of the votes.
The main opposition
leader, Alexei Navalny,
was barred from standing.
And there have been complaints
of an unfair election,
including counting irregularities
and forced voting,
as Richard Galpin reports.
Vladimir Putin emerging
triumphant, yet again,
in front of his supporters,
in Moscow last night.
This, following an election
from which any serious opposition
candidates had been excluded.
And today the Russian media,
most of which is controlled
by the Kremlin, also revelling
in his appointment as president
for another six years.
And yet, CCTV footage from polling
stations posted on social media
here tells a different story -
of blatant rigging.
These women stuffing ballot boxes.
There are reports of hundreds
of violations during the vote.
Officials, though, say
the violations this time were far
fewer than in the last election.
And Mr Putin is already
concentrating again on the big
issues of state, including
the crisis with Britain over
the poisoning of the Skripals.
He is adamant the Kremlin
was not behind the attack.
It is rubbish, drivel,
nonsense, to think that Russia
would do something like that ahead
of a presidential election
and the World Cup.
And this respected academic told me
it would have made no sense
for the Russian state to have been
involved in the poisoning.
The last thing that Putin needs
right now is to have
another problem, not even
with the United Kingdom,
but with the West at large.
My assumption has always been that
after elections he would start
making cautious steps
in the direction of some kind
of limited reconciliation.
So if not the Kremlin itself,
some here believe it could be
connected to the murky world
of powerful factions swirling
around the president -
those determined to keep Russia
isolated from the West.
Richard Galpin, BBC News, Moscow.
A 26-year-old British woman has been
killed in northern Syria,
fighting alongside Kurdish forces.
It's understood that Anna Campbell,
who was from Lewes in East Sussex,
died in the town of Afrin,
which has been the target
of Turkish bombing.
Our Turkey Correspondent,
Mark Lowen, reports.
From the calm of East Sussex, Anna
Campbell felt a calling to fight in
Syria pulls up in guvnor 26-year-old
plumber and human rights campaigner,
she joined the Kurdish militia last
year, dyeing her blonde hair to
stand out less. She was killed
reportedly in an air strike by
Turkey in its offences against the
YPG Kurdish fighters. Her father
called her principled and brave.
was quite adamant about it. I said,
you could be killed. And she said, I
know, dad, there's nothing I can do
to reassure you about that but I
have to do this because it is the
most important thing for me.
other British nationals have died
fighting with the Kurds in Syria and
Iraq, Anna Campbell is the first
British woman killed. Turkey
declared victory over the weekend at
it seized the town of Afrin from the
YPG who it sees as terrorists are
links to Kurdish militants within
Turkey. The town bears the scars of
a two-month offensive, some 200,000
residents fleeing, the first now
returning, but as troops tore down a
Kurdish statue and looted shops,
there is a fear that justice is
becoming retribution. An outpouring
of nationalism in Turkey had
accompanied this funds, crushing
itch age-old Kurdish foes unite a
polarised country. This said
Turkey's victory Day, another says,
we wrote history in Afrin. Turkey
might move on to other areas also
held by the YPG, going against the
West which sees the Kurds as allies
in Syria. Anna Campbell died
fighting for those Western allies,
another life, another figure in the
half a million killed in Syria's
Our top story this lunchtime.
The government says it's taken
a "decisive step" forward
in negotiations with the EU over
And still to come...
Paralympics GB are on their way home
after their most successful medal
haul at a Winter games since 1984.
Coming up in sport, former England
and Wigan winger Josh Charnley has
joined Warrington Wolves
with immediate effect.
He ends a 17-month stint
in rugby union with Sale.
It was dubbed the Mini
Beast from the East -
but it has still caused big problems
in parts of England and Wales.
Over 700 schools are closed again
today, after more than 20
centimetres of snow fell
in Wales and South West England.
About 80 motorists were forced
to stay overnight, at an emergency
centre set up in a college
near the A30 in Devon.
Among those stranded were a bride
and groom on their wedding night,
as Sean Dilley reports.
This rescue centre in Devon was not
were newlyweds Sarah and John
planned to spend their first night
as husband and wife. The couple were
among dozens of motorists offered
safe haven at Okehampton College.
were fortunate in that we could get
off the road at Okehampton, made the
decision there and then. Then we
came into town. There's nowhere to
stay. There a voluntary group run by
Devon City Council who came and
rescued us and brought us here to
councils say they helped about 80
people seek refuge from the snow
after police closed a 64 mile
stretch of the a 30.
had the majority of people
travelling on the a 30 caught out by
snowdrifts. People are on the minor
roads and got stuck and couldn't get
any further. They came to us for
someone and shelter for the night
before getting under way today.
than 20 centimetres of snow fall has
been recorded in central and
southern England, with hundreds of
schools across Devon, Cornwall on
Somerset shut. In Wales, more than
200 schools were either partially or
fully closed, and in Scotland
temperatures fell to minus five.
Police say anyone travelling should
be alert to local device.
The advice must be heeded. Keep a
close eye on social media, look at
the weather warnings and advice and
take heed of that advice. Don't
become complacent just because the
major route are looking OK. As soon
as you come of those main roads, a
lot of the minor routes are
The Met office has
issued a fresh weather warning for
England and Wales. They say ice is
likely to form, increasing the risk
of accidents. Sean Dilley, the BBC
Sarah Ransome is in Okehampton.
Are things starting to improve? They
are. The situation is slowly
improving. The snowploughs have been
out overnight and they have been out
all morning to try and clear those
roads, particularly the A30 that was
shut for quite some period last
night. It only reopened about half
past eight, nine o'clock this
morning, when the emergency services
were clear that it was safe for
motorists to drive. I drove down
with myself and there were still
stranded car is slowly being
recovered by recovery vehicles and
taken away, so that the sides of the
road were clear and suitable for the
lanes to be opened up. As you can
tell, we had a lot of snow here
overnight. Freezing temperatures
caused some of those problems with
ice forming on the roads as well as
the amount of snow. That is
improving. Hundreds of schools are
still shut this lunchtime. It is not
clear yet when they will open. With
a yellow warning of ice overnight
tonight, Devon and Cornwall police
are advising drivers not to go out
after dark if they can possibly
avoid it. They don't want a repeat
of what happened last night.
Sera, thank you.
They've been described
as the "crack cocaine of gambling" -
fixed odds betting terminals
on which you can bet
£100 every 20 seconds.
Now the Gambling Commission -
the government's adviser on gambling
- has said no-one should
be allowed to bet more
than £30 on them at a time.
Betting shops say such cuts
will mean job losses
across the industry.
Now the government must
decide what to do,
as our personal finance
Costly, addictive, a scourge
on vulnerable gamblers -
these machines, mainly in betting
shops, are blamed for ruining lives.
Terry White from Cardiff told
us he lost £250,000 on
fixed-odds betting terminals,
and 15,000 in one day.
It's a massive rollercoaster
because the health
implications, the emotions,
the loss obviously of
a large amount of money.
Although it was money that
I'd won, it still meant
I lost my house.
I've been fortunate enough
that the council have found
me accommodation, which I'm very
grateful for, because I was facing
What the Gambling Commission
is proposing is a limit
of £2 on stakes in slot machines,
but a maximum of up to £30 for the
more popular roulette terminals.
Also, more careful tracking of how
much individual gamblers are
spending, but not the £2 restriction
for all machines that many
had been called for.
The evidence we have showed
you need to come down to
at least £30 to have a significant
impact on the harms and the risk of
harms that people face.
What was clear was that there was no
individual figure that acted as a
magic bullet, which is why
we are suggesting £30 or less.
For the Gambling
Commission it is also an
argument about freedom.
Should they put very tight controls
on our freedom to gamble?
And if they do, will people
use their freedom of
choice just to gamble
So there's a possibility for a £2
maximum, only on the slot machines,
which are a tiny minority
of the business.
Whereas the roulette games,
their maximum could
be much higher than they
feared, at up to £30.
That is causing campaigners to
complain that this is a sell-out to
the bookmaking industry.
It will be no help
whatsoever, because the
damage would still be irreparable.
£2 is the only sensible,
logical and moral -
and I use the word moral strongly -
it is the only moral outcome.
Not to be protectionist,
but to make sure
that we are doing the right
thing by society.
Betting shops have warned
that a £2 limit on all machines
would result in thousands
of outlets closing.
It is now up to ministers to decide
how tough the restrictions will be.
Simon Gompertz, BBC News.
TV presenter and McPartlin has been
released after being arrested on
suspicion of drunk driving.
He was detained yesterday afternoon
following a collision involving two
other cars in Mortlake in south-west
Several people were treated for
minor injuries after the accident,
and a child was taken to hospital
as a precaution.
This year has been a tough one
for many British retailers,
with high profile problems at chains
such as Toys R Us and Maplin
making the headlines.
Earlier this month,
John Lewis cut its staff bonus
to its lowest level in decades.
But its new boss, Paula Nickolds,
says there's still plenty of life
left in the high street.
She's been speaking to our
correspondent, Emma Simpson,
as the firm opens a huge new store
in West London.
It's a new look for an old name. At
John Lewis' 50th store, things are
getting personal. There is a
concierge desk to plan your visit.
There is a room for workshops. On
how to do stuff around the house.
And partners have been trained by an
Hello Emma, and welcome to
But why get ready to
open a new big expensive department
store when so much shopping is now
being done online?
We think that the
much discussed high Street dying
story is overstated. Customers still
want to have physical experiences.
They want personal interactions.
Looking around this shop and --
today, you can see it as a very
exciting things still to do.
not the only retailer rethinking the
role of the department store. A few
doors down, Debenhams is opening
restaurants and gymnasiums. House of
Fraser is trying to reduce its
surplus space to save money. These
are tough times for department
The big challenge to make
the space profitable, because
they've got so much, they are
filling it with physical experiences
we can't get online and hoping we
will spend money on their products
at the same time. But of course the
challenge is to make all that space
I asked the new John Lewis boss if
the UK had simply too much of it.
There is no doubt that consumer
behaviour is changing and that
currently consumer confidence is
low. That means all retailers have
to be at the very top of their game.
And it will mean that the strong,
evolve, adapt and survive, and
others may not.
She this one will be
a crowd pleaser. But as the lights
go on here, where else in our high
streets will they be going out?
Emma Simpson, BBC News, West London.
team are on their way
home from South Korea,
after the Winter Paralympics drew
to a close yesterday.
Paralympics GB are celebrating
their most successful medal haul
at a winter games since 1984.
Kate Grey sent us this
report from PyeongChang.
The past ten days have seen
the British team pushed
to the limits on the snow
and ice and Pyeongchang.
Disappointment for the curlers,
as they came up short, and the
But on the ski slopes
it was a different story -
Menna Fitzpatrick and her guide,
Jen Kehoe, winning four medals,
including gold on the final day,
to become Britain's most successful
It's been amazing.
It's been an incredible event.
Everyone has been really
helpful, really lovely.
It's really nice to have family
and friends supporting us.
The resilience that
the athletes have
shown, and certainly Menna and Jen
from a DNF in race one
to gold in race five.
And I think the preparation
and the ability for them
to deliver those kind of
performances is down to talent, but
also the support behind the scenes.
Great Britain had a target of six
to 12 medals in Pyeongchang, aiming
to equal and with the ambition
to improve on their performance from
four years ago, where they won six
medals and an historic gold.
And with British athletes competing
across more sports than ever before
at a Winter Games,
the target seemed achievable.
And it was, thanks to one sport,
one classification and a
small number of athletes
winning all seven medals.
But it does call into question
the breadth and depth of the
I'm proud of every single one
of the 17 athletes that
came here to Pyeongchang
to represent Paralympic GB.
Yes, the medals came
from snow, but every one
of those athletes did
give it their all.
The games drew to a fitting close
with Britain's golden girls
carrying the flag.
The International Paralympic
Committee could also
celebrate, with more nations taking
part than ever before, and a record
number of tickets sold.
They can now call these
games the greatest Winter
Paralympics to date.
Kate Grey, BBC News, Pyeongchang.
They are teetering
on the edge of a cliff -
more than 10 homes in the Norfolk
village of Hemsby were
evacuated at the weekend
amid high winds and waves.
Their owners have been told that
it's too dangerous to go back
and their properties are in danger
of falling into the sea.
Robbie West reports.
On the cliff edge, homes hung over
the sea this morning in Hemsby,
following another night of strong
winds and stormy seas.
People started to leave on Friday.
As the tide was drawing in, lifeboat
crews helped move people out.
Stephen Chadwick knew
he had to go after
seeing his garden
I bought it for sea views,
beautiful sea views.
And now the sea has taken it away.
Woke up this morning,
had a cup of coffee at half
past seven at the back door.
I felt - it was like
an earthquake, and the
cliff just went.
Just in total shock,
and watching people taking
most of the house apart.
I don't think I'll be here tomorrow.
Homeowners were evacuated following
a fortnight of high tides and
easterly winds that washed
the coast's natural defences away.
The next morning,
the damage could be seen.
The council say 13 homes remain
in a precarious position, and
are being inspected
after each high tide.
These properties probably
won't be lived in again.
The damage caused -
I was up there Friday, then
Saturday, and what was there,
that is actually gone.
Paul Ray joined the lifeboat crews
after seeing his home.
He believes it's unsafe for his wife
and dogs to return to the
house they have lived
in for the past eight years.
To look at it, I think
to myself, that's my home and
I've lost it.
But obviously I've got to look
on the positive side, that I
wasn't in there last night, nobody
lost their lives are anything.
And everybody got us out
and looked after us very well.
So I've got to move
forward, though I have
lost my home.
Five years ago here in Hemsby,
three homes were washed away
following a storm surge.
13 homes are in immediate
danger this time.
As owners return today, they hope
history won't repeat itself.
Robbie West, BBC News, Hemsby.
Time for the weather
with Darren Bett.
Time for the weather
with Darren Bett.
The Mini Beast from the East, Helu
It is gone. All gone. It doesn't
feel quite as cold today across the
UK. Through the week ahead it is
slowly turning milder and milder. We
are more likely to get rain from
midweek than snow. We have banished
the cold easterly wind. We get winds
for a while. It changes
significantly. We get Atlantic air
which will bring some rain. A lot of
snow still. Particularly in the
south-west. Some areas, not much
snow at all. For most of us, we are
seeing the sunshine. That is a
welcome change. A chilly wind for
England and Wales causing the drifts
to blow around. Temperatures higher
than recent days. We have got
sunshine today and not much cloud
but there is cloud lurking in the
North Sea. With that northerly wind
it will push the cloud inland across
England and Wales. Probably drive
pretty much everywhere. It will
limit the amount of frost. Northern
Ireland and Scotland have clear
skies and light winds. Here we are
closer to the centre of this area of
high pressure. It is this which gets
rid of that snow falling. We have a
cold wind phrased in parts of
England. We still have a fair bit of
cloud through the day. Maybe some
drizzly showers. Otherwise it will
be fine. Sunshine at times east of
the meridian, western fringes of
England and Wales. The best of the
sunshine for Northern Ireland.
Temperatures will be higher than
today. Seven to 9 degrees. If we
look ahead to Wednesday, this is
where we start to see the Atlantic
air coming in. We are picking up
this south-westerly wind. That means
they could cloud in the South West.
-- north-west. Outbreaks of rain in
Western Scotland. Dry and bright in
England and Wales. Temperatures up
to 10 degrees in Northern Ireland
and Scotland. More active weather
fronts later in the week. The first
on Wednesday not amounting to much.
High pressure gets squeezed to the
south, allowing us to get into this
Atlantic air later in the week. If
the band of cloud and outbreaks of
rain coming into Northern Ireland
and Western Scotland. A large part
of the UK, Thursday will be a dry
day. Sunshine at times. Those
temperatures up to 1112 Celsius.
Normal for the of
temperatures up to 1112 Celsius.
Normal for the of the year.
A reminder of our main
story this lunchtime...
A decisive step forwards says
Britain and Brussels as they agree
much of the draft treaty which will
seal the UK's departure from the EU.
That's all from the BBC News at One,
so it's goodbye from me.