15/12/2015 World News Today


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This is World News Today with me, James Menendez.


All public schools in Los Angeles have been closed for the day


That's nearly three quarters of a million pupils


police say every school will be searched.


The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, says Russia


and the United States could make a significant difference


to the war in Syria if they work together.


The Soyuz space capsule carrying three crew members,


and among them British astronaut Tim Peake,


has arrived at the International Space Station.


And like it or not, these little creatures are crawling on your face.


We'll meet the microscopic mites that make the human face their home.


The authorities in Los Angeles have closed all public schools


All school buses have been ordered to return to their depots,


Nearly three quarters of a million pupils,


from more than 1,000 schools, are staying at home for the day.


The city's mayor says it was the right decision. We continue to hope


that this is nothing and our children can be back at school


tomorrow. As a parent and as a mayor, I'm here to support this


school district as it seeks to help to insure that we can look at each


one of these campuses and make sure that they are safe for all of our


children. An abundance of caution is something that all of us who have


children appreciate. A similar threat was received in


New York but the Police Commissioner there says it's being


treated as a hoax. We do not see that as a credible


terrorist threat, and we are investigating it as a hoax. We


believe that the e-mail originated overseas. The language in the e-mail


would leave us to believe that this is not a jet had its -- jihadist


initiative. The name Allah was not spelt with a capital A. That is on


think for that a jihadist would do that.


Our correspondent Peter Bowes is in Los Angeles for us.


Good to have you with us on the programme. The message from


officials in the city is better safe than sorry. That was absolutely


their message. An abundance of caution, they said, they made that


decision early this morning to close all of the public schools in Los


Angeles. That is a situation that is affecting hundreds of thousands of


people around the city. The children who were expected to go to their


classes today, their parents, who have had to deal with the situation,


right now there is an eerie silence and many of those schools that are


empty and are being searched. Some police officers have been seen going


into those schools. They have better they will surge and leave no stone


unturned. In terms of that search, every single school in Los Angeles,


before declaring they are safe, and able to resume classes again. That


will not be today. Tomorrow at the earliest will be when they can go


back into the school. It has caused a tremendous amount of upset for


people in the school. It is safe to say that after the attack in San


Bernardino, many people here were still feeling nervous. There is an


awareness that people need to be cautious at the moment and this


incident today, this situation, has only served to worsen those fears


for some people in this city of Los Angeles with an interesting, the


discrepancy between the response of New York and Los Angeles. San


Bernardino must be preying on people's mines where you are. That


is what the officials said this morning come when the decision was


made, that San Bernardino were certainly in the back of their


minds, and other terrorist incidents around the world. The climate that


everyone is living in at the moment. The focus now, apart from the search


of the schools, appears to be on that decision and the discrepancy


with New York, with the former police chief of Los Angeles now in


charge of the police in New York City saying that LA had in effect


overreacted, and it was determined that it was not a credible threat


for New York. Questions are being asked, did it Los Angeles overstep


the mark? Were they to cautious? Thank you.


Steve Zimmerman is president of the Los Angeles Board of Education.


He explained why they decided to shut down all of those schools. The


actions we are taking today are swift and they are appropriate,


given the situation that we are in, and we ask for the patience and


cooperation and support of the city. The education of our kids is


incredibly important. The only thing that is more important is their


safety. She is a teacher and Vice President


of the LA Teacher's Union. Thank you very much for joining us


here on BBC programme. What do you think of the decision to close the


schools? You support it? Yes. The teachers union here stands with the


school district's decision to shut down the schools today. They


received a credible threat, and we know that the district has highly


trained people to assess these types of threat, and they decided to


summarily close the schools. We support that decision because it is


a top priority for the safety of our students and for the educators. What


do you make of the discrepancy between the weight that New York has


responded? They said they had a similar thread but decided it was a


hoax. Do you think that the authorities in Los Angeles have


overreacted? We support our School district. I cannot comment on what


happens in New York. We are from LA, how school board president said this


morning, and our mayor also stated this morning. We live in California,


we are closest to San Bernardino. We know that safety is a primary thing


for parents and students and educators. Is it fair to say that


people in California are particularly nervous, given what


happened in San Bernardino? I don't know if people are particularly


nervous, I think we are living in a scary times all around the world,


and we hope for peace everywhere. And so educators will be providing


that support in the coming days at school, as we're heading off to


holiday vacation. Thank you for being with us.


Earlier, Rob Hayes, a parent to two small children,


told us what happened this morning in LA.


I took my kids to school this morning, just like I do on any


regular day. When we got there, no one was there except for a few


parents. There was a rumour that there had been a threat and then I


saw it on Twitter. When I saw that, I decided it was serious. Do you dig


it was the right decision? This was a view hours ago -- a few hours ago.


Was it the right decision? Just last week, we had our own terrorist


attack like you guys had in Europe, in Paris. We had one here as well.


It must be taken seriously every time. You cannot just overlook that.


Tell us more about that. You're talking about what happened in San


Bernardino. Our people feeling very worried, very tense at the moment?


You have to treat these cases seriously in any situation, because


we don't we have these types of things happening over here in the


United States will stop when they do happen, people are definitely on


edge. I was in the Marine Corps, I'm a veteran, so I was in Iraq. I know


it from both sides of the situation. That was Rob Hayes. His two children


are staying at home today in Los Angeles.


The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, has said that


if the United States and Russia worked together,


they could make a significant difference to the Syrian conflict.


Mr Kerry is in Moscow, where he's been meeting


President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Foreign Minister.


The two sides agree on the need to tackle so-called Islamic State,


the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, would have


and which opposition groups should be included in peace talks.


With me is the BBC Russia Service editor, Artyom Liss.


Good to have you with us in the studio. How much common ground is


there between Russia and the US? Or are they very far apart which mark


what is important if they have started talking. They making


allsorts of noises suggesting that a relationship is better than it was a


view months ago. We don't know what common ground there is. We will find


that when they finish their talks. I will be surprised if they come up


with something specific tonight. The interesting thing is that both sides


have been making positive remarks. We have not heard that for some


time. Tell us about Russia's support for the free Syrian army, fighting


President Assad's troops. A confusing picture emerging, with


lots of different comments from very senior officials in Moscow. Is


Russia's 's board giving support to them or not? That is a good


question. I don't know. I don't think anyone can tell you with any


degree of certainty. President Putin said that Russia was supporting the


FSA, providing them with military help. Another official denied it. On


Tuesday morning, a senior Russian official said they are supporting


the FSA will stop them when one of my colleagues in Moscow tried to


push this point about it, he is said he had nothing to say that it. It is


very confused. They don't pick Moscow has decided what it is that


they want the outside to hear. It is worth pointing out that the Free


Syrian Army are saying that they have not received any help from


Moscow. It would be extraordinary if they were because the suction has


been that part of Russia's mission in Syria is to support President


Assad and the FSA desperate the want to see President Assad go. Indeed,


and Russia has been saying for some time now that the only thing they


are interested in is the fight with the so-called Islamic State. You can


see how potentially this could bring them into the same group as the Free


Syrian Army and the other opposition groups. But where does President


Assad's figure go in this? This is something they could be discussing


as we speak. We will see if clarity emerges. Thank you.


Of course, the United States and Russia are not


the only countries grappling with how they should respond


to Syria's civil war and the threat from Islamic extremism.


Saudi Arabia has just announced a military alliance


of nearly three dozen Muslim nations in order to tackle terrorism.


The Saudi Foreign Minister says the move is unprecedented.


As part of this effort, there will be a joint operation


set up in Riyadh that would coordinate the efforts onto tracks.


One track is a security and military track that


involves exchange of information, it involves the training,


and providing the forces where necessary.


The second track involves combating the ideology.


How do you develop effective messaging,


how do you counter the messages of violent extremists?


Part of a Russian cruise missile hit a block of flats


in the Russian Arctic during a test that went wrong,


but nobody was hurt, the media reports.


A fire broke out in the three-storey block in the village of Nyenoksa


but residents were evacuated in time.


The village is near a Russian naval base at Severodvinsk,


The missile was fired from a defence ministry test range.


The British astronaut Tim Peake has made history this evening -


a short time ago, the 43 year-old former army pilot arrived


He's the first publicly-funded British astronaut.


The Soyuz space capsule carrying him and two other astronauts


arrived at the space station half an hour ago


after more than six hours of flight.


Our science correspondent who is in Kazakhstan has this report.


The momentous day for tempi. Tim and his fellow crew mates


are at the cosmodrome in Baikonur, On the other side of


the glass, his family. This will be the last


time they will see him, He is waving and smiling


and giving the thumbs up. Next stage to go on the the bus


to go to launch pad. With him, on his left,


is his commander, cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and


next to him, is Nasa's Tim Kopra. So how does Rebecca feel


a few hours before the launch? I am really happy, you know,


it has been a long journey We are really excited to get


to this stage in the game. He looks so ready


for it, it is great. A final wave goodbye,


before Tim and the rest of the crew It stands on the same launch pad


from which Yuri Gagarin set off to become the first man in space,


more than 50 years ago. Lift off of Tim Kopra,


Yuri Malenchenko and Timothy Peake on their way to the


International Space Station. So far, getting good


first stage performance, the Soyuz delivering


930,000 pounds of thrust First stage of the Soyuz,


68 feet in length, 24 feet in diameter, it will be burning


liquid fuel for the first two minutes and six


seconds of the flight. On the ground, jubilation


from his friends, and family. In the capsule, Tim tells


us he is feeling fine. The danger from the


launch is now over. And coming into view,


the Soyuz capsule, a scene from the International


Space Station. Tim will have to wait


until the hatch is opened Let's cross life to Kazakhstan and


another of our correspondence. That process of opening the hatch, has it


happened? Is it about the happen? It is a work in progress at the moment.


In the next five minutes or so, we are expecting what is known as the


ingress to begin. That is the word they use to discard the moment they


pass from the Capshaw into the International Space Station. -- from


the Soyuz capsule. It is about eight hours since they blasted off from


here, from the launch pad in Kazakhstan. A nail-biting ride for


anyone else perhaps but these astronauts are to it. They tense


moment as we waited here and watched on the screens to watch the docking


itself. The automatic systems apparently failed, and the commander


then took over the controls and managed to dock perfectly safely in


manual. Apparently that is what they train for. He managed to do it


perfectly well. As I say, there was a little frisson here in the hall


where I am now, where a lot of space officials are gathered from various


countries. Also whether relatives of the group have come. They are here


now because not only were they watching the docking but they are


here because after the astronauts climb aboard the ISS, they will get


a chance to speak to them from space. We will find out what that


right was like. Many thanks. A memorial service


has taken place in Australia one year after the armed siege


at a Sydney cafe in which 18 people


were taken hostage. Two people, as well as the gunman,


Man Haron Monis, were killed in the police raid


that ended the standoff. One year on,


there is debate in Australia about whether the attack


was an act of terror. From Sydney, here's our


correspondent Jon Donnison. Sydney had never seen anything like


it. After a 16 hour siege, two hostages dead in a massive police


operation. Many more traumatised by a lone gunmen. Unlike the larger


attacks in Paris this year, this was not an Islamic state operation. The


man who perpetrated the siege acted completely on his own. We know that.


However, he was influenced and inspired if you like by the success


of the so-called Islamic State. That particular event was in no weight


supported by the so-called Islamic State back in the middle East. The


gunmen, who was killed in the raid, was well-known to police, with a


history of criminal and unstable behaviour. The inquest into exactly


what motivated him is still ongoing. But the Government believe it was a


terrorist attack. It has led them to step up counter-terrorism action. To


wrap this year, there have been a series of raids on suspected Islamic


extremists. And Australia continues to be concerned about its citizens


fighting in Syria and Iraq alongside jihadi groups. But some in the


country's mainstream Muslim community feel they are being


unfairly targeted, that the garment used the Sydney siege as


justification to do so. They used it. They say we're under attack. We


are not under attack. They are us! It is not in the Muslim character.


He is a total madman. He is a bad guy, that is why he has done this.


He is not a Muslim. Tonight at the site of the siege, Sydney civilians


gathered to remember the two hostages killed.


Like many countries, Australia does face a problem with a tiny number of


Islamic extremists, but one year after the Sydney siege, we now know


that it was not what people did at the time, it was not a coordinated


attack by a group such as Islamic State. It was nevertheless hugely


traumatic for those directly involved, and a profound shock for


both the city and the country. It's probably the biggest


Hollywood premiere of all time - the first public showing


of the new Star Wars sequel, Fans have been out in force


at the TCL Chinese Theatre one of three cinemas


hosting the premiere. The boulevard itself


has been closed all this week. Our correspondent,


Lizo Mzimba, is there. John Boyega, one of the film's


young British leads, who reprises his role


as Luke Skywalker. The film's other new lead,


Daisy Ridley, chats with George Lucas,


the writer/director who created it


all back in 1977. The meeting of the generations


a key selling point for this film, the first in more than 30 years


to feature the main actors What is it like being


part of that again? Look, I've always been grateful


for the success I don't think I can explain,


I'm not going to take on the task and explain why they are,


but this is a good movie Is this the day


you have been waiting for, No, because then I think I would've


wished the time away before. It's very exciting it is here now,


but life is cool and the in-between bits are cool too, so it's nice


to enjoy things in waves Disney paid George Lucas


more than $4 billion for the rights to the series


and other film properties. Thanks to one of the biggest deals


in Hollywood history, This movie is the first stage


of trying to recoup that investment by convincing


millions of fans to see the film, buy the merchandise and then,


crucially, to keep repeating that process as each new Star Wars film


is released annually until 2019 Now this is the story that has had


the whole newsroom talking today. Recent research has revealed that


you, and me, and everyone around us, almost certainly have


animals living on our face. The naked eye can't see them,


but they are there. They are eight-legged,


microscopic mites. They spend their entire lives


on our faces, where they eat,


mate and finally die. Before you start buying


extra-strong face-wash, you should know that they probably


aren't a serious problem. It's thought we all have hundreds


of them, and possibly thousands. The type of mite you have


is probably passed down through your family


rather than person to person. Others think they're eating


the oil from the sebaceous gland. well, I think I'd better leave that


to your imagination. All public schools in the Los


Angeles area have been closed for the day because of a security


threat. More than 1000 schools, and nearly 700,000 pupils are affected.


The message the authorities were acting out of an abundance of


caution. Police in New York received a similar threat but said it was not


credible. And the US Secretary of State, John


Kerry, has met the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, to


discuss how to enter the covered in Syria. He said that between them, US


and Russia had a chance to make a significant difference.


But for now, from me and the rest of the team, goodbye.


Exceptionally mild air will be pushing its way


across the United Kingdom over the next couple of days.


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