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This is BBC World News Today with me Philippa Thomas.
Fierce resistance from so-called Islamic State in the battle
Government forces with American air support are moving
towards the city's suburbs, but they're facing a wave
50,000 civilians are trapped in the centre.
The first African ruler sentenced in Africa for crimes
against humanity, Chad's former president jailed for
life for his reign of terror in the 80s.
Turkey's President says Muslim families should
He says Turkish mothers have a duty to boost the country's population.
The multi-coloured wonder of the Great Barrier Reef,
and how global warming is turning it pale and sickly.
The Iraqi army is facing fierce resistance and counterattacks as it
attempts to storm the city of Falluja, to wrestle control
of it from the so-called Islamic State group.
The city lies a mere 50 kilometres west of the capital Baghdad,
and has been in the hands of Islamic State militants
An official statement by the government says that forces,
including members of the elite counter-terrorism unit,
are moving into Falluja on several fronts.
Our Middle East correspondent, Jim Muir, reports from Baghdad.
This latest phase in the offensive got under way at dawn,
exactly a week after the whole campaign to oust so-called
Islamic State from Falluja was launched.
The renewed assault was preceded by heavy artillery bombardments
Jets from the American-led coalition and the Iraqi air force also carried
out air strikes in support of the advancing ground forces,
So far, the latest phase of attack still seems to be
pressing in around Falluja, not penetrating yet into the centre
As the battle moves closer to Falluja itself, there is huge
concern for civilians trapped there, perhaps best guess
They've already been through nine months of siege,
a very tight blockade, so they will be drinking filthy
water and have very little by way of food and medicine coming in.
Some hundreds of families have managed to escape to safety.
They're being taken to camps to the south and west of Falluja,
where at least they can find shelter and food.
TRANSLATION: Thank God we were able to get away from
They let us starve and left us thirsty.
They took away our men and told us to go home, saying they would
return, but they didn't send them back, alive or dead.
Baghdad was hit by big explosions. It seemed to be an attempt by IS to
strike behind its enemy's lines to distract security forces from the
Apple for Falluja. Militia commanders in the field who are
taking part in the attack say that once the city itself is tightly
surrounded, there could be a pause before the final assault to allow us
many civilians as possible to escape.
But IS is reported to be stopping them from fleeing,
accused of using them as human shields.
Let's cross to Baghdad and speak to the BBC's Omar Abdel-Razek.
Let's talk about these civilians, they are trapped, and if they can
escape, would they be welcome as refugees in Baghdad? I don't think
so. The case of a town that was retaken by the popular mobilisation
forces and the Iraqi army shows the opposite. Actually, the fate of
nearly 15,000 civilians -- 1500 civilians, they were divided.
Members of families were separated from women, and the elderly. And the
men were subject to interrogation by the army security to establish if
they have connections with IS or nod. The other situation is the
government considered those families who are coming from areas like that
are a security risk for Baghdad. But some Sunni politicians say they are
not welcome because Baghdad, the capital, is considered a Shia
majority city and Sony are not welcome, even if they are not
representing any security risk. From the outside, this looks like a
government offensive against the so-called Islamic State, but from
where you are standing, there is obviously sectarian tensions coming
into this battle as well. Yes, of course. Even if the government talk
about the battle, it seems it is a coalition of those who are in power
and who are actually under attack from popular protesters in Baghdad
just two days before the start of the battle but when you go back to
the media, especially on TV channels, you'll find the division
is so clear. Some people accuse the government of waging an Iranians led
battle to liberate or we take Falluja. We may repeat the scenarios
that happened in remand a and Tikrit and other cities. With the promise
is coming from the government, there is no guarantee who will implement
the promises and how they will be implemented on the ground. What we
have seen two days ago, it was clear that the city was retaken by a
sectarian faction and not by the army. The slogans on the wall were
everywhere, related to supporting Iran. Even some Iranians media
outlets confirmed that the leader or commander of the Brigade of the
Revolutionary guard, he was leading the battle. The Iraqi government has
not denied this. Thank you for giving us some of the bigger and
more complex picture from Baghdad. Now a look at some of
the days other news. An appeals court in Bahrain has
increased the prison sentence of the opposition leader,
Sheikh Ali Salman, to nine years Sheikh Salman was convicted
last year on charges Sheikh Salman leads the country's
main Shia opposition bloc, Al-Wefaq. The group has condemned today's
ruling as "unacceptable and provocative," saying it
will exacerbate the political crisis Storms and torrential rain have
caused severe flooding in southern Germany,
leaving four people dead A fire-fighter died trying to rescue
a man from a flooded underground crossing,
the man he was trying And a girl was killed
by a train when she took Two bridges were swept away and mud
slides have blocked many roads. More than 100,000 people have signed
an online petition in protest at the killing of a gorilla,
who was shot after a child entered the animal's enclosure at a zoo
in the United States. The four-year-old boy crawled
through a barrier and fell He was grabbed and dragged along
by the gorilla, called Harambe, before zoo staff decided they had
to shoot the animal. And now he's been sentenced to life
for crimes against humanity. That's the verdict today
for the former president It's the first time an African Union
backed court has tried a former African ruler
for human rights abuses. This court was sitting in Senegal,
and Human Rights Watch says its decision will go down
in history as the day when a group of survivors managed to bring
a dictator to justice. Minutes after the verdict was
pronounced, the victims led out their joy. These are people who
spent years in prison, and some of them are still physically damaged by
torture. TRANSLATION: I'm very satisfied with the verdict. Life is
fine with me. I didn't expect to feels such joy but today I am very
happy. For the victims, this verdict is the conclusion of a struggle of
20 years to bring Hissene Habre to justice. They feel this is a
historical day for the country and for Africa, the day the Chadian
people put a dictator in prison. Hissene Habre was imprisoned for
life in prison for crimes against humanity. During his time in office,
it's estimated 40,000 people were killed. TRANSLATION: When we dug a
hole, we would put two bodies inside. Here, two more bodies. On
the other side, to more bodies. This man was a prisoner during his rule
and this was a mass grave. Every day for two years, he says he buried at
least six people. TRANSLATION: I don't know why people were arrested
or executed. A lot of people died. What I know is that they accused me
of being involved in politics, but this isn't true. I am just a farmer.
Thousands of files on the regime's prisoners were found and used in the
trial. Among them, 800 death certificates, including one that
says the prisoner died while being forced to reveal certain truths. It
consists in tying two sticks together around the victim's head,
inflicting brain damage. This man was a victim himself. TRANSLATION:
When I look at these drawings, it is like I am experiencing the events
again. I feed it in my bones. I remember how they climbed on my back
and shouted, "Savage, you can just I! " The victims say they will
remain scarred for life, but this verdict allows them to move forward.
TRANSLATION:, what we have suffered can never happen in Chad again. We
want stability, tranquillity and peace. This will make us happy. What
happened with Hissene Habre was enough for us. This trial is
significant for the victims. It was also a milestone for African
justice. International jurisdiction two have been criticised by African
leaders and now that a local court has shown it can try another
country's president, we may see more cases emerge in other parts of the
continent. Turkey's President Recep Erdogan has
called on Turkish women He says birth control
and family planning go It's not the first time Mr Erdogan
has made such comments, a couple of years ago he likened
birth control to treason. These most recent comments came
during a speech broadcast live TRANSLATION: And I say it clearly
that we will increase our prosperity Population planning
or birth control... No Muslim family can engage
in such a mentality. We will follow the road and advice
of my God and the profit. Joining me now from
Ankara is Sezin Oney. She's a Turkish political
commentator and academic. Why do you think the president has
raised this subject again now? Actually, he was talking about the
conquest because they were first celebrations of Istanbul's conquest
from buys anti-, so there was this historical celebration, and he
picked up the conquest issued again today. He was referring there is a
sense of being besieged, a sense of attack from the Western world. And
also the internal enemies in Turkey. So he said we should multiply. We
should multiply our numbers, our descendants. He was referring to his
supporters, of course, not just any Turkish person. What has been the
reaction amongst the women you know? Of course, the women are intimidated
in general. The women who are secular, and those who are not
really supporting him or those that are critical about him. And, of
course, he is always emphasising the women's place, in his eyes, is,
first and foremost, to be a mother. So, that kind of talk, and always
belittling of the so-called Western, and in my point to universal,
understanding of women's rights, scorn of the universal of women's
rights is repeated by Edogan. And he repeated it again with contras --
contraception. He is always repeating his messages, every other
month or so. But, in theory at least, Turkey is moving closer to
the prospect of European Union membership. How do you square that
with this kind of rhetoric? Well, he likes to use this populist
rhetorical us and them. In this way, Europe is always somehow
hypocritical Europe. It is attacking Turkey. It is actually the enemy of
Turkey. So, regardless of the relations with the EU, this talk is
always there. This is an internal matter. His audience is his
supporters in Turkey. It is detrimental for relations in the
long run, and he is of course sprinting for the full systemic
change towards presidential is. What matters to him is his local
supporters at this moment. Thank you for your time.
Republican Senators in the US have tabled a bill to send fighters
from so-called Islamic State to Guantanamo Bay.
It is the latest attempt to stop President Obama fulfilling
a campaign pledge he made, more than eight years ago,
While many detainees have been released during his time in office,
and more are expected to be transferred in the coming days
Our North America Correspondent, Aleem Maqbool, reports
Keeping this facility open is contrary to our values.
It undermines our standing in the world.
It is viewed as a stain on our broader record of upholding
the highest standards of rule of law.
That's what President Obama's been saying for years and in his final
months in office the remaining prisoners at the sprawling complex
of Guantanamo Bay's detention centre are wondering
It is extremely dark in here because we're
looking at the prisoner through one-way glass.
It is far emptier than even a year ago when we were last here.
Many have been released in recent months.
Those left behind have been here so long they are used
They've devised ways of getting exercise through pacing around
And we saw some interacting with the guards.
The number of prisoners here now are just a 10th of what there once
was and more releases are due in the summer months.
But around 2,000 soldiers still operate the place,
If you'd been here two years ago when I got here and now,
you genuinely wouldn't see any impressionable difference.
Did you see any reason why a facility like this couldn't hold
the same detainees but on the mainland?
Under appropriate security conditions in the United States,
these detainees pose no more threat than they do here.
Even the name Guantanamo conjures up images of orange jumpsuits
and synonymous with issues around torture and force-feeding.
What the White House says is that while it is still standing,
it remains a powerful recruiting tool for militant groups
The officers running it think the prisoners
could be housed elsewhere, and it is seen by many as a smear
The answer is continued political opposition back in Washington.
Guantanamo Bay needs to be kept open not only to detain these unlawful
We will tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now pull terrorists
The right place to take them is not a federal prison in the Eastern
It is to a place where we can conduct an investigation
We were only shown detainees in the lowest security
There were parts of Guantanamo we weren't shown, which house men
deemed so dangerous America never wants them released.
But, after all the talk, what happens to them
and to the detention centre as a whole, now looks like an issue
that will be left to the next president.
Here in Britain, it's 24 days to the referendum on EU membership,
and the campaign is turning our usual politics Inside Out,
leading to the formation of unlikely alliances.
On the "Stay in Europe" side today, we saw the Conservative Prime
Minister David Cameron campaigning side by side with the New Labour
Today Cameron described Khan as a "proud Muslim",
a month ago, he accused him of appearing with extremists.
Meanwhile one of Mr Cameron's cabinet ministers, Theresa Villiers,
has been making headlines for the Vote Leave campaign.
Appearing shoulder to shoulder, two men from rival parties who only
weeks ago were engaged in a fierce political row.
A Conservative prime minister with the Labour Mayor of London.
He is the son of a bus driver, I'm the son of a stock broker.
The Remain side called this an unprecedented show of cross-party
unity for their case to stay in the EU.
We can be clear about the things we guarantee if we stay in this
If you wake up on June 24th, you know what you get
with our campaign and the outcome that we seek.
The so-called guarantee card contains five promises the Remain
campaign says will continue if Britain stays in the EU.
They include trade with other European countries,
There was no such cross-party unity a few weeks ago.
During the mayoral campaign, the Prime Minister was cheered
by Tory MPs as he said Sadiq Khan had shared platforms
But now it is Mr Cameron being attacked by some of the MPs
Two of his backbenchers suggested he must get a decisive win
in the referendum or face a confidence vote.
Vote Leave campaigners have dismissed today's pledge card,
saying it shows a vote to stay in is a vote for permanent
free movement of people from Europe to the UK.
High levels of immigration from Europe are depressing wages.
That is having a direct impact on household incomes right now,
and it's only going to get worse because we will see more economic
That means more young people seeking work here because the EU is failing
Some of the messages being pushed here today are a clear appeal
to Labour voters as the Remain side ramps up its efforts to make sure
And today's appearance of a senior Labour figure alongside
a Conservative Prime Minister, who is under pressure from some
in his own party, shows how this referendum campaign is rewriting
In Australia, scientists there are warning more
than a third of the coral in parts of the Great Barrier Reef has been
destroyed by mass bleaching caused by rising sea temperatures.
The scientists from several Australian universities blame
climate change for what they say is the most extreme bleaching
This is what the Great Barrier Reef is supposed to look like.
A vast, underwater, multicoloured wonderland.
But this is how much of it looks today.
The latest research showing that, in parts, coral bleaching has left
It happens when warmer water causes the coral to weaken and lose
the colourful algae that provide oxygen and nutrients.
It's because of global warming, it's because of the increases in
sea surface temperatures, on top of other events.
This year was a very, very dry year for the northern part
of the Great Barrier Reef, high sunlight.
All these factors came together to produce one of the most
dramatic coral bleaching events that ever occurred
on the Great Barrier Reef, or the most dramatic.
Australia is one of the world's largest per capita emitters
But the government here denies it's not done enough to protect the reef,
and cites the UN's world Heritage Committee.
The German chairman of the committee said that our management,
that's to say Australia's management, of the Great Barrier
Reef was a world-class exemplar of coral reef management.
So there is no question that we are doing a good job.
A month away from a general election, Australia's politicians
are looking to score points, announcing a $400 million plan
The opposition Labour Party accuse the government of being in denial
Even of censoring a UN report out last week, and pressuring
officials to remove references that were critical of Australia.
We see the effects of climate change, and we have a government
currently in Canberra who, despite Mr Turnbull's protestations,
We see a government who managed to censor the UNESCO report
This is a government who doesn't want to hear the problem.
They just want to stop anyone else talking about the issue.
Short-term politics, though, will not save
It will take decades to recover from the damage already done.
And many environmentalists are now warning that one of the seven
natural wonders of the world might not be around for
We want to show you incredible pictures of a man flying over the
great Wall of China. Here is the American skydiver dropping out of a
helicopter wearing a wingsuit, aiming for a target on the grateful.
Keep watching. Can he sliced through the targets just a few metres off
the ground? He did it, travelling at just under 200 kilometres per hour,
he narrowly missed the bullseye but said he was very happy to have made
what he described as a super-hard stunt. This is, in fact, the latest
in the long line of challenges for the 40-year-old. It had been
postponed because of strong winds but he did it in the end.
Iraqi government forces are pressing ahead with their campaign
to recapture the city of Fallujah, but they're facing stiff resistance
Reports of car bombs coming in and counterattacks. The Iraqi military
appears to have secured a key district, however.
But for now from me and the rest of the team goodbye.
Back to work after a long weekend could be hampered by some pretty