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broadcasting in the UK and around the world.
I'm Tim Willcox. The headlines:
World powers agree to push for a temporary halt to the fighting
in Syria to relieve besieged towns, but President Assad says
Pope meets Patriarch - the heads of the Roman Catholic
and the Russian Orthodox churches are to hold their first talks
Also coming up, Britain's Independent newspaper
is to disappear from newsstands next month
And a Japanese MP behind a national debate about paternity leave
resigns, after having an affair while his wife was pregnant.
Russian warplanes have been in action over Syria again today,
just hours after major powers agreed on a pause in fighting.
Officially the so-called cessation of hostilities is due to begin
in a week's time, but the UN says aid deliveries
to some besieged areas inside Syria could begin
The agreement reached in Germany came shortly after
President Bashar al Assad said he intends to fight on
until he's brought the whole country back under his control.
Our Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet reports.
Syria's biggest, once beautiful city, now broken.
This month tens of thousands are fleeing Russia's bombing there.
Moscow says it is striking so-called Islamic State.
The West says it is aiding the Syrian military
Now, the world's most powerful diplomats emerged to say they had
We have agreed to implement a nationwide cessation
of hostilities to begin in a target of one week's time.
That's ambitious but everybody is determined to move as rapidly
Russia's Sergey Lavrov signalled an intention to move
But the doubts became clearer, most of all about Russia's intentions.
It is possible that the Russians had limited military objectives and have
largely achieved them and are now ready to see a scaling down
of military activity, but we won't know that until we see
Today Syria's rebel leaders are raising objections.
So did President Assad who spoke before the deal was done.
We have fully believed in negotiations and political actions
since the beginning of the crisis. If we negotiate,
it does not mean we will Two tracks are inevitable in Syria,
first through negotiation and second The two tracks are
separate from each other. This war is also a major
humanitarian crisis. The Munich deal means that
government and rebel forces must let aid enter areas where
people are starving. Imagine we have several convoys
for several days and repeated it Do you think this
is a turning point? Strong words have emerged here
in Munich, but great scepticism too. The next week will make it clear
whether this was a major breakthrough that can help ease
the suffering of Syrian civilians or whether it is another major
setback that will make Well, as that agreement
was being reached in Munich - today US Defence Secretary
Ash Carter was participating After the discussions he said
he expected Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
to provide special operations forces to help Syrian opposition fighters
battling so called Islamic State. Secretary Carter sat down
exclusively with What is your reaction to what has
happened in Geneva? This agreement in principle for a cessation of
hostilities. John Kerry has done great work to try and ease the
suffering, the terrible suffering of the Syrian people, and ultimately to
put a political end to the civil War in Syria. I want to make clear,
there is no cessation of hostilities in the war against Isil. All the
countries here are agreed to step up their efforts to accelerate their
efforts, we want to get Isil defeated. Especially and initially
in Iraq and Syria. As soon as possible. You have 50 countries, all
of them saying that they would do more, just like the United States,
President Obama has pledged to more. Do you trust the Russians? This is
an agreement with them, the same who have been main moderate rebels when
they say they are bombing extremists. They have killed
civilians, they are strengthening Assad's and? They were way off
track, they have been from the beginning. But we will see, weather
they implement the agreement he signed up with. We will just see.
That is what they said they would do. We will see if they do it. More
broadly in sera, they said they were going to come in and fight Isil,
they did not. Instead they joined the civil War. They fuelled the
Civil War. That was a negative contribution. Let's hope they can
contribute in a positive, humanitarian way. You can understand
people being sceptical, because the Russians have not said they will
stop bombing. It does not go into effect for a week, and we will have
to see whether the Russians actually abide by it or not. But Secretary
Kerry got them to make that commitment, they need to meet that
but we will have to see, as in all things with Russians. You have been
trying to get that coalition to do more. What concrete have you
achieved in Brussels? Two things. They all agree unanimously to the
coalition, military campaign and that the United States devised that
calls out the objectives specifically. Taking Raqqa and Mosul
from Isis. And protecting our homeland, all those aspects, and we
went through all the capabilities that were going to be needed and
what each country could do to increase its contribution. We are
looking to help and enable the Iraqi Army, it is day that took back
Ramadi from Isil with our help. With the help of our excellent UK
partners and other coalition partners. Your intelligence chief
says it will not be until 2017 before you start even contemplating
going for Mosul, is that correct? Our timeline is as soon as we can
possibly do it. The Iraqi Prime Minister himself has said he would
like to get this done this year. We are going to do everything we can to
help him do that. As soon as possible. We need to defeat Isil as
quickly as possible, both in Iraq and Syria, and in other places.
The Pope and the Russian Orthodox Patriarch are meeting in Cuba -
significant because it's the first ever encounter between the heads
of the two churches since they split in the 11th century,
The Vatican has been pushing for such a meeting ever since
the collapse of the Soviet Union, but Moscow had always resisted.
The meeting is being seen as a major step towards warmer relations.
Our correspondent, Will Grant, is in Havana.
Both men now on the ground, a very symbolic burying the hatchet? That's
right. As you mentioned in your introduction, since the 11th
century, we thought the relations were frosty between Cuba and the
United States! It is nothing in comparison to the amount of time
that has passed between the Eastern and Western religions of the
Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic faith. But this is an
important moment for them to be coming together, and Bob Francis,
when he got off the plane and we saw some brief moments of him with the
Patriarch, already mentioned the word brotherhood and I think that is
the driving force of what they are trying to do. They no longer see
this as a time for the Christian faith to be divided, but they should
be coming together, this should be a moment of unity and cooperation, as
so many Christians around the world feel persecuted. Very different men,
very different styles. The church is very different as well. Roman
Catholic priests are celibate, the Russian Orthodox ones are allowed to
marry, for one example. What in concrete terms will this mean on the
ground, and where does it feed into some conflicts like Syria and others
around the world, in terms of that unity of the Christian faith? Well,
that is a good question, and there is a lot of suggestions that the
Russian Orthodox Church is staying very close to President Putin's
foreign policy and that is a key tenet of it, staying close to the
Putin Administration means it has been safe over the past few decades,
as opposed to when it suffered in the wake of the fall of the Berlin
Wall. So I would not want to suggest exactly what this would mean on the
ground in terms of Syria or that kind of conflict. It may be that it
takes so long for this kind of moment of unity to have any real
effect on the ground, but perhaps it just has bolstered people, it makes
the faithful feel they are part of a broader church, and no longer a
church that is at war with itself, or at least divided. I think at this
stage, these big symbolic moments are something about that, but
showing unity in the eyes of the world, and it is down to the
individual priests and parishes and religions to kind of apply it in
their daily life. We'll grant, and you very much.
Now a look at some of the day's other news.
Thousands of farmers from across Greece have
taken their protest against austerity measures
Fires have broken out among the crowds and there've been
The workers are angry at government plans to increase their taxes.
A five-storey building has collapsed in the centre of Istanbul.
Local news organisations say the building came down
near Istiklal Avenue, a busy pedestrianised street.
The Istanbul Governor has told reporters that noises
from the building alerted people that it was about to collapse,
the area was evacuated and it appears that no-one
European scientists have decided to give up trying to contact
the Philae space robot, which became the first craft
to touch down on a comet more than a year ago.
Philae operated for just 60 hours after an awkward landing.
Contact was briefly re-established with the lander last July
but mission control has now given up hope of any further communication
as the comet heads towards a much colder part of its orbit.
Stay with us on BBC World News, still to come:
A free man taking his first steps into a new South Africa.
Iran's spiritual leader has said he has passed a death sentence on
Salman Rushdie, the British author of a book which many Muslims say is
blasphemous. The people of Haiti have flocked to church to give
thanks for the hosting of the former President. Because of his
considerable value, Shergar was kept in a special secure box. Shergar was
driven away in a horse box that these brought with them. There are
steps down from the plane a figure in mourning. Head of the
Commonwealth, defender of the faith. You are watching BBC World News
today. The headlines. World powers agree to
press for a cessation of hostilities in Syria, President Assad says he
will fight on. And the heads of the Roman Catholic
and Russian Orthodox churches are holding an historic meeting in
Havana, almost 1000 years after a schism divided eastern and Western
Christianity. One of the UK's major newspapers,
the Independent, will be the first The paper was set up
in 1986 and is now owned Falling advertising revenues have
caused much upheaval in the newspaper industry
but Mr Lebedev says there is a growing appetite
for online journalism. The Independent will publish
its final print edition next month. David Uberti from the Columbia
Journalism Review has written Is this the start of a trend, do you
think, over here? There are a lot of online papers in the US. Certainly,
we have seen her trend, especially in our metropolitan newspapers, at
least cutting back on the print delivery service. The theory is that
they reduce overhead costs. Design, printing, delivery, and trying to
target days of the week that maximise the print run. They have
not been any US newspapers that have gone fully digital. The Washington
Post has invested in digital properties and the New York Times
has double that -- doubled down on its subscription. So they are
hybrids. But for the Independent to go fully online, what are the key
facts that they need to concentrate on? Presumably it is keeping that
individual flavour of the newspaper, and funding, the other big issue.
Certainly. Going digital is no panacea. I applaud the Independent
for taking such a radical step. They are probing the unknown whereas
other newspapers have not ventured as far forward. The quest for scale
really requires both focusing on a global audience but also maintaining
your brand and not watering down your journalism. One of the
difficulties with this strategy is that advertising rates in the
digital market are increasingly low, so they might look in the future
towards a digital subscription model to supplant that advertising
revenue. If you want to maintain that campaigning quality of
something like this, presumably if you had funding from subscribers or
crowdfunding or something like that, would it be difficult to maintain
that objectivity? People would be paying for something they wanted to
see and hear. It would be certainly difficult, and to this point we have
not find a long-term answer. The New York Times is the golden standard in
terms of creating a digital subscriber base that gives itself a
lot of revenue. Having said that, it is the best in class. The
Independent will really have to work on making its journalism strong,
having said that, there has not been a newspaper in the US besides the
New York Times that has really made that step. Doesn't mean so the
reporters have to be much more multi-skilled? Having to shoot their
own material as well as writing it. Certainly. We are entering an age
where reporters have to do so many different things, they have to wear
many hats. It is about tweeting, producing the page, the main thing
with digital journalism is it has to be much faster. The market is
different for this sort of journalism. So the Independent has
to shift in that direction. With most of these papers making the
transition, we tend to see very wealthy owners investing
significantly in their digital operations. So I would assume in
this transition to a digital army operation, the owner of the
Independent would invest in its digital side as well and try to
create its own new brand identity in its digital only operation. Thank
you very much indeed. The last hard copy of the Independent next month.
Lizzie Greenwood Hughes has all the sport now.
Fifa's former General Secretary, Jerome Valcke, has been banned
A Fifa ethics committee says it is for a number of offences,
including his part in a World Cup ticket scandal.
But his legal team have accused the committee of not
being a credible, independent or objective
decision-making body, and claim he did nothing wrong.
Earlier I spoke to our Sports News Correspondent Richard Conway,
who explained the ban was originally recommended to be for eight years.
Well, Fifa's Fx adjudicator has increased the ban, the investigators
called for a number of years for lower than 12 but he has given them
12 years. Looking at the litany of offences that Mr Valcke has been
found guilty of, you can see why. Using the private jet that Fifa
sometimes hired for sightseeing is one of the things he has been found
guilty of. Using that to transport himself and his relatives. In
addition, questions over World Cup tickets, also the question of TV and
media rights for the next two Welker best-mac. The Fx adjudicator Fifa
says they tended to be sold for less than the market rate. The worst
thing in the eyes of the investigators was not just the crime
itself but an attended cover-up of what he had done. Several computer
files were said to have been deleted or attempted to have been deleted.
So, Mr Valcke was sacked last month by Fifa and has been banned from all
football activity for 12 years. I think it is the last time we will
see him involved in world football governance.
The President of the International Olympic Committee says he's
confident the Zika virus will not disrupt this summer's Games in Rio.
Thomas Bach says the IOC are taking the issue seriously but
health authorities don't expect the virus to pose a threat.
All the experts agree that given the temperatures, then in the Brazilian
wintertime, when the Games are taking place in August, these will
lead to a very different situation. So, we have confidence, full
confidence in all the many actions being undertaken by the Brazilian
and international authorities and health organisations, and we are
also very confident that then the athletes and spectators will enjoy a
safe conditions in Rio de Janeiro. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has
defended the Premier League's pricing structure and says his club
doesn't have a "massive problem". Ticketing costs is a hot topic
in English football and there have been protests at the Emirates
Stadium in the past over pricing. But Wenger is clearly
a fan of the free market. How do you decide what is the right
level of ticket prices, first of all? It is by your attendance. Then
you have been compared many times to foreign clubs. I don't think we are
on the same level ground, for example Bayern Munich. We paid ?220
million for our ground. It is true we get much more television income
but it is down to the audience for the success and the pressure on the
market, we pay the players at a higher price and our expenses would
come up straight the wages. Mark Cavendish has won
cycling's Tour of Qatar, but just missed out on victory
in the 5th and final stage. The sprinter started the day wearing
the leader's gold jersey and put himself in contention to win
the concluding stage. But he was just pipped to the line
by Alexander Kristoff Second place though was good enough
for him to secure Let's take a look at
some other stories now. The Deputy President of Kenya,
William Ruto, has won his appeal against the admissibility of key
evidence in his trial on charges of crimes against
humanity in The Hague. Mr Ruto and a Kenyan journalist
are accused of inciting mass killings in the weeks
after a general election The broadcasting authorities
in Pakistan have condemned a television news channel, ARY,
for airing hate speech directed at the Nobel Peace prize
winner, Malala Yousufzai. The regulator said declaring someone
an enemy of Islam was not the job of TV presenters and could
endanger someone's life. A young Japanese MP who made
headlines last year for his insisting on taking paternity leave,
has quit parliament after confessing to an affair with a bikini model
while his wife was pregnant. Kensuke Miyazaki made
waves inside the ruling Liberal Democratic Party
when he announced he would be the first Japanese MP ever
to take paternity leave. But this week a Japanese magazine
revealed the scandal. From Tokyo,
Rupert Wingfield Hayes reports. Bowing deeply and repeatedly,
Kensuke Miyazaki went before the cameras today to
confess his infidelity. Young, handsome, successful
and apparently a devoted husband, Kensuke Miyazaki had become
the poster boy for those who want Japanese men to do more to help
raise their children. Mr Miyazaki and his wife are both
Members of Parliament for the ruling
Liberal Democratic Party. In December he made headlines
when he announced he would become the first Japanese sitting MP ever
to take paternity leave. In Japan, only 2.3% of new fathers
take paternity leave. The government wants to raise it
to 13% by 2020. I thought that by declaring I wanted
to take paternity leave Instead, Mr Miyazaki is out
of a job and in disgrace. Earlier this week a Japanese scandal
magazine published a story alleging that while his wife was preparing
to give birth in Tokyo, Mr Miyazaki was in his apartment
in Q2 with another woman. There is now concerned from former
supporters that his scandal will be used by those who oppose Japanese
men taking time off to be Japan has one of the most generous
paternity leave systems Men can, in theory, take
up to a year off work, but many bosses still refuse
or threatened meal workers with dismissal or
demotion if they do. Right now, only 2.3%
of Japanese men take President Bashar al-Assad says he
intends to fight on until he has brought the whole country back under
his control. He said defeating the forces opposing him could take a
long time. He also said he would continue fighting what he called
terrorism during any peace process negotiations.
The UN says it up is to be at the start delivering aid to some
besieged areas in Syria within the next 24 hours.
From me, Tim Willcox, and the rest of the team, goodbye.
Good evening. Before we have a look at the weather in the UK, we will
head elsewhere for other weather stories around the world. North
America, some really cold air dumbing down from Canada over the
Great Lakes into the north-east of the US. We disease in colder weather
in northern Florida, threatening some overnight frost, which is not
good use for the growers. Contrast that with the 26 Celsius in Los
Angeles, very warm for the time of year. Even 17 in Denver. Significant
wind-chill for the likes of New England. Then high pressure moves in
on Sunday. But by then, they could develop another error of snow South
of the Great Lakes. Elsewhere, around the Caribbean, and ongoing
drought in Haiti. A few showers around on Sunday but the slow-moving
band of rain stretches from eastern part of Cuba, through Jamaica into
Honduras and Nicaragua. A weather front that could give two or three
inches of rain in the space of a few hours. In Australia, not much sign
of rain, it has all been about the heat in Western Australia. In Perth,
not as hot as it has been but temperatures will rise early next
week and with strong winds, the threat of some further wildfires. A
lot of sunshine across Australia and New Zealand but looking close to new
Caledonia and Fiji, we have two cyclones. The big one is Winston, a
category format. Tatiana has strengthened to a category two. They
are over open water. Unlikely to get as far South as New Zealand. Across
southern parts of Africa, this is as far South as the rain gets at this
of year. Seasonal rains very active. Threatening some flash flooding.
There could be a few welcome showers for the farmers across South Africa.
Likely to turn wetter and more windy later this weekend across northern
parts of Morocco and Algeria. The jet stream now across Europe, is
much further South. That picks up areas of low pressure, which in turn
bring areas of Cloud, rain and in some cases snow. We will find some
more snow over the Alps, most of which has been in the Western Alps.
Really strong winds, and some heavy rain could bring some travel
disruption. For the North East of Europe, the wind is from the South,
very mild air all the way into the Baltic states. Here at home, we have
cold air that will be with us for a while over the course of Monday, a
bitter northerly wind, significant wind-chill, but how long will this
last? Stayed tuned because there is more coming up.