22/09/2016 World News Today


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Syria's President Assad gives a rare interview.


He says he's not laying siege to Aleppo, not


using barrel bombs - and not responsible


I believe that the United States is not genuine regarding having


cessation of violence in Syria. in North Carolina leaves one person


critically injured and the city of Charlotte under


a state of emergency. Joy for the families of survivors,


but hundreds are thought to have died after a migrant boat sinks off


Egypt - four crew are arrested. The Syrian boy whose picture went


viral is offered a new home in the United States


by a six-year-old. Dear President Obama, remember the


boy who was picked up by the ambulance in Syria? Can you please


go get him and bring him to our home?


40,000 people are arriving into a suburb of the Syrian


The first major delivery of aid in Syria this month comes


as fresh fighting breaks out across the country.


In an interview today, Syria's President Assad


was uncompromising - saying his enemies alone,


including the US, are to blame for the devastation


Around Aleppo last night there was anything but a ceasefire.


These unverified pictures show warplanes


dropping bombs in what is said to be rebel held territory.


At least 45 people were reported to have died.


And elsewhere in Syria, including the central provinces,


there seems little left of what truce there was.


In an interview with the Associated Press News Agency,


Denying he was besieging eastern Aleppo, and


denying he was using barrel bombs to kill civilians.


A bomb is a bomb, what is the difference between


When you use it, use it to defend the civilians, you kill terrorists


You do not have the moral incentive, we do


The war, he said, would drag on, whilst outside


And he blamed America for the breakdown of latest


I believe the United States is not genuine regarding the


As FOR the attack on Monday which destroyed a


humanitarian convoy and killed 28 workers, he denied any involvement.


Regarding the claim of the White House yesterday accusing


either the Syrian or the


Russians in that regard, I would say, what I can officially


say about the conflicts in Syria, they have no


credibility, whatever they say, it is just lies.


Today, his forces gained control of yet more


As more than 100 rebel fighters and their families were


evacuated from opposition health districts in Homs.


evacuated from opposition heald districts in Homs.


Elsewhere, a United Nations aid convoy did get


through to rebel holds about the Damascus.


But so far, none has been allowed into Aleppo, something the


Please, President Assad, do your bit to enable us to


get to eastern Aleppo and also the other besieged areas.


But aid will reach here only if there is a


And although there will be yet more talks in the UN this


evening, there are a few hopes that the fighting


My colleague Laura Trevelyan is at the United Nations.


Laura, James said there will be more talks at the United Nations, between


the US and Russia but it's a tense time, isn't it? It is. What is


happening this afternoon is the US and Russia will lead talks of an


international group of 20 countries who will come together on Syria. But


the principles are indeed the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, and


his Russian counterpart, Bobby Lovgren. They were at loggerheads


yesterday, so the question is what can they do to revive the ceasefire


deal that came into effect last Monday and is now in tatters? Other


countries in the Syria group will tell you it is down to what the


Americans and Russia can agree. If they can revive the ceasefire


agreement and lead to a round of talks in Geneva, that would be


something. The Russians suggested that there could be a three-day


pause, that has been quoted. And meanwhile, the Americans suggested


that there should be a pause in military operations over key areas


of Syria where aid is being delivered. Is there wriggleroom?


We'll see what happens after the meeting due to start in the next


hour. Thank you very much. Charlotte's police chief says


he sees no reason to impose a curfew in North Carolina's largest city,


even after two nights of violent protests after the shooting


of a black man by a police officer. These were the scenes in Charlotte


overnight into Thursday, The rallies began after


Keith Lamont Scott was shot dead Officials say Mr Scott was armed -


his family say he wasn't. Mr Scott was the third black man


to be killed by US police in a week. One protester remains


in a critical condition Well, the Mayor of Charlotte,


Jennifer Roberts, is appealing for peaceful protests - we'll hear


from her in just a moment. The local Chief of Police Kerry


Putney has also been speaking - he says police video does not show


Mr Scott pointing a gun - but that the footage does back up


officers' version of events. This is how he responded when asked


if the video would be made public. . If there is compelling information


that I think helps, we'll sew it but again, I'm going to be very


intentional about protecting the integrity of the investigation and


in so doing I'm not going to release the video.


The video does not give me absolute definitive, visual evidence that


would confirm that a person is pointing a gun. I did not see that


in the videos that I reviewed. So what I can tell you though is


that when taking into total all of the other evidence it supports what


we have heard and the version of the truth that we gave about the


circumstance of what happened that led to the death of Mr Scott. The


safety and the security of our community and law enforcement


officers remains our top priority. Today our city is open for business


as usual. We let people know that come to our town, we are here


working, our buses are running, we are here to serve and the city is


open. Our correspondent Gary O'Donoghue is


in Charlotte for us. Gary two different accounts of what happened.


What are the chances of this video footage from the police body cameras


and the dash cam actually being made public? Small, to be honest. The


police chief made that quite clear this morning. He believes that would


interfere with the investigation that he is conducting. He say there


is is another complication, that the state bureau investigation may take


over some parts of the investigation, therefore it would be


up to them do decide whether or not to release the video. So he is


adamant that at the moment it will not be made public. He does say


however that he will show it to the family at their request. I think


that they are hoping that this will, it could persuade the family enough


that the police' account of what happened is closer to the truth than


theirs. It may be a high bar to get over for the family but that must be


part of the hope. Given what he said in the clip you heard there about it


not being clear that a gun was being pointed in that video, I suspect


that the family will want to see what else he has that convinces him


that actually Mr Scot was a threat to his officer. So there is a lot of


ground between the two sides on this already. In the meantime, of course,


we are into late afternoon, and people are starting to cast their


minds forward to this evening and whether or not there will be a


repeat of the last two nights, something that everyone is hoping


will not happen. Gary, briefly, there will not be a


curfew as of now but what is the mood there at the moment, ahead of


another night? Well, walking the streets here you would not know that


anything had happened. There are a few boarded up windows here and


there on East Trade Street. A bit of broken glass. They have done a good


job of cleaning up. But people are waiting to see what information the


police will release. We were promised other information from them


other than the video. Then to see what the family's reaction will be


to seeing that video. Getting sight of the body cam video. That will be


crucial, I think.m people are still appealing for calm. The National


Guard will be on the streets protecting buildings but I that I


that people are wary about tonight. There is a mood amongst some of the


protesters to punish the police for what they perceive as crimes against


black people. Thank you very much, Gary O'Donoghue. We will be with you


throughout the day watching the developments in Charlotte.


It's one of the worst disasters of the Mediterranean migrant crisis


hundreds of people are feared dead, after a boat which set sail


Survivors told the BBC there were around 550 people onboard


The disaster happened 19 kilometres from the shore,


near the town of Rosetta where four crew members


From there our correspondent Orla Guerin reports.


Reclaimed from the sea, survivors of the latest tragedy in the


Mediterranean. Saved by the Egyptian military but taken into police


custody. Some, overwhelmed by exhaustion,


after up to eight hours' treading water. Staring death in the face.


Most were young Egyptians from poor communities who told us they wanted


to reach Italy to find work. They said more than 550 people were


crammed tonne the boat. TRANSLATION: It was very small. Said


this man who is 17. It only had room for 200. We were at sea for days,


they kept bringing more people before we capsized and then half the


crew got away. Mohammed survived but without his


cousin, Amir, who was just 14. TRANSLATION: May God have mercy on


them and all the young men who died. I was going to die but God helped


meet. We resited the prayers, not once but


10 or 15 times, we said God help us, God save us.


Outside the police station, anguish and anger. Some relatives


complaining that the authorities took hours to respond to distress


signals from the sinking boat. But then, what they had all been waiting


for... Well the survivors are emerging now. They've spent the


night in custody. They are being reunited with their families. Many


of the relatives maintaining a vigil through the night hoping to get news


from their loved ones, hoping that they were not among the dead.


The BBC's Orla Guerin reporting there from


Now a look at some of the day's other news.


Iraqi government forces say they've fought their way into the centre


of the strategically important town of Al-Shirqat,


which has been in the hands of Islamic State militants since 2014.


The army's effort to capture the town is part of an attempt


to secure supply routes ahead for what's expected to be a very


much bigger battle for the city of Mosul, which lies


Around 3.5 million people in Puerto Rico


are without electricity for the second day running.


The black-out began on Wednesday after a fire at a power plant set


off a broader outage across the island's utility gird.


off a broader outage across the island's utility grid.


People were forced to spend the night in darkness


and without air conditioning in the tropical heat,


and businesses have been forced to close.


Officials say it could be 24 hours before power is restored.


A Chinese lawyer whose clients included the dissident artist


Ai Weiwei has been sentenced to twelve years in prison


Xia Lin's supporters and his wife strongly rejected the charges,


saying he was being persecuted for challenging the government.


He is the latest of several human rights lawyers and activists to be


The Afghan government has signed a draft peace


agreement with the country's second-biggest militant group.


A representative of militant leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar signed


He'll be granted immunity from prosecution in return


for his support for the constitution and a promise to abandon violence.


Mr Hekmatyar was briefly prime minister of Afghanistan in the early


1990s and is still listed as a designated terrorist by the US.


News of the agreement sparked protests in the Afghan capital,


Human rights groups say he is responsible for the deaths


of possibly thousands of people during the 1990s civil war.


They're tiny, so how dangerous can button batteries,


which are often found in toys and watches be?


Well, doctors are warning about the potentially


lethal risk they pose to children and babies.


Surgeons at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital say they've seen


a rise in the number of children suffering severe injuries -


sometimes even dying - after swallowing them.


Our Medical Correspondent Fergus Walsh reports.


Ready? Yeah.


All it took was a tiny watch battery to devastate this


After she swallowed the button battery it burned through her


This is the latest of many operations at London's Great


Ormond Street Hospital to try to repair the damage.


For the past year the three-year-old has been fed through a tube


into her stomach and has a bag to collect her saliva.


Her mother who's Russian says it has turned their lives upside down.


She hopes Valeria will eventually recover.


Essentially this battery starts working in the oesophagus.


Surgeons at Great Ormond Street Hospital are seeing one child


a month with caustic soda burns caused by button batteries.


The most important thing is to be aware that these are extremely


dangerous and should be treated essentially like a poison


and should be kept out of the reach of children.


Let's mimic what can happen when a button battery gets lodged


The ham represents the delicate lining


of the oesophagus, and water, saliva.


I'll cover this side but put another battery here so we can see


We've left this for just two hours, and already a huge amount


If I lift the button battery you can see all this black marked area.


Eventually this would have burnt its way right through the ham.


When she swallowed a button battery last year doctors warned


her mum there could be life changing injuries.


They said that her vocal cords could be damaged then


and there and she would never develop a voice.


And again, they said that if she did pull through she may never eat again


because her oesophagus may have been too badly damaged.


Fortunately the two-year-old has made a complete recovery.


But it's a warning to parents to keep toddlers away


In a few days time - the US election campaign


will ramp up a notch - as the first presidential debate


It'll be must see viewing, as Hillary Clinton and Donald


Trump go head to head, on a range of issues.


It's a crucial moment for both campaigns -


so how do you prepare for such a big event.


My colleague Katty Kay has been finding out.


The presidential debates give American voters the only chance they


have to come pair the candidates side by side. The stakes are


enormous. And in this election, the biggest


challenge Forsythe Hillary Clinton is how to debate someone like Donald


Trump? There has never been a candidate or debater like him.


Let moo me talk. Quiet! Donald Trump does not do traditional debate with


policy briefings and analysis. He prefers off the cuff remarks, and


almost child like insults. Lion Ted. He holds the Bible down


and then he lies. Todd Harris was the Senior Advisor


for Marco de-Rubio. Our strategy for the campaign was to


ignore Donald Trump's insult but the challenge was that the media was not


ignoring them. The best thing for handicap in terms of debating Trump,


would be for her not to show up at all. The best way to engage with


Trump is to let Trump hang himself with his own words and


inconsistencies. Rubio discovered the cost of a bad


debate in New Hampshire. Under attack, he Pre-Budget Reported


himself four times. Barack Obama knows what he is doing.


The notion that he doesn't know what he is doing, he knows exactly what


he is doing. There it is... Within hours, the internet was buzzing with


jokes about Rubio. His campaign ended that night.


Handicap has briefing books and she talks about debate strategy with


campaign veterans, she will do mock debates with someone standing in for


Trump, I don't belief who is standing in for Trump, that will be


interesting a role for someone to play. Donald Trump, got the first


word and the last word... Donald Trump does not debate the way that


anyone does debate. He does his Donald Trump way. He pro Seths


strength, and uses moves he does as a result star. But moves so


differently from anyone on a debate stage.


President Obama learned that election debates can hurt a


candidate as much as they can help them. On October the 3rd, 2012,


Obama met Mitt Romney for their first debate. It was a disaster.


Are we going to double down from the top down or embrace a new


economicate rim. Obama was tetchy and distracted.


Giving the impression he did not want to be there.


Testify any Cutter was the campaign manager.


It was clear we were losing not just on TV but for social media. Twitter


was a factor on how the debate was covered. So we knew what we were


dealing with. We have started to make changes before that ebait even


ended. Obama recovered but those around him


suggested that he underestimated his opponent.


Political scientists don't agree how much the debates help you win the


White House, the polls are inconclusive. What they do know is


that this will be box office must-see television and don't expect


the candidates to play it safe, whoing the voters in the middle.


Instead, they will be trying to scare the living day lights out of


their supporters at the very prospect of the other person on the


stage occupying the Oval Office. That will mean a lot of sharp


attacks, not necessariliedifying but certainly entertaining.


A political event like no other, that debate is on Monday night.


When a six-year-old American boy wrote a letter to Barack Obama,


he probably didn't expect the President himself to read it


Alex, from New York, penned a note to the president


offering a Syrian refugee a place to stay with his family.


It was after he saw the photograph of Omran Daqneesh, the little boy


seen dazed and bloodied in the back of an ambulance.


The letter went viral - Mr Obama read some of the letter


at this week's UN summit on refugees.


Dear President Obama, remember the boy who was picked up by the


ambulance in Syria? Can you please go get him and bring him to our


home? Park in the driveway or on the streets and we'll be waiting for you


guys with flags, flowers and balloons. We will give him a family


and he will be our brother. Katherine, my little sister will be


collecting butterflies and fire flies for him. In my school I have a


friend from Syria, Omar. I swill introduce him to Omar and we can all


play together. We can invite him to birthday parties and he will teach


us another language. Since he won't bring toys and


doesn't have toy, Katherine will share her big blew stripy white


bunny and I will share my bike and I will teach him how to ride it. ... I


will teach him addition and subtraction. Those are the words of


a six-year-old boy. He teaches us a lot.


The humanity that a young child can display, who hasn't learned to be


cynical or suspicious or fearful of other people because of where they


are fro, or how they look or pray, we can all learn from Alex.


Alex, six years old. The power of the pen! That's the


Britain's Prince William has told a conference that he fears


the African elephant will have disappeared from the wild


by the time his daughter Princess Charlotte turns 25.


He said action needs to be taken now to stop poaching and it's time


to send an "unambiguous message" that it is no longer acceptable


to recognise the BBC teams who won an Emmy last night


for their continuing coverage of the European migrant crisis.


We've been privileged to bring you their reports


Hi there. We have showers to come at first overnight in parts of


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