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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.