17/10/2016 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today, with me Tom Donkin.


Iraqi security forces launch an attack to liberate


Mosul from so-called Islamic State militants.


30,000 fighters are involved, attacking it from several positions.


But reaching the city might cost many lives.


The Kurdish forces have been moving forward steadily


We're now at a distance of about 300 metres from the nearest


IS positions, but this is really just the first stage


of what is expected to be a long battle.


Donald Trump claims the media and Hillary Clinton rigging the US


election. More than two years


after being kidnapped, 21 Chibok schoolgirls return home


to their families. And China's reaching


for the moon and possibly Mars, after successfully launching two


astronauts into space Hello and welcome to World News


Today. The offensive to drive Islamic State


militants out of Mosul, their last major stronghold


in Iraq, is continuing. 30,000 Iraqi troops and Kurdish


fighters are taking part in the offensive


on the northern city, Our correspondent, Orla Guerin,


joined Kurdish fighters Here's her report


from the frontline. At first light, the advance


on so-called Islamic State. Zero hour had finally come,


bringing an offensive that could decide the fate


of the extremists We joined Peshmerga fighters


from the autonomous Kurdish region. There name means


"those who face death" and they were ready


to kill and die today. Well, the offensive


is now well underway. The Kurdish forces have been


moving forward steadily and We are now at a distance


of about 300 metres from the nearest IS positions, but this is really


just the first stage of what is expected


to be a long battle. It could take months


to drive the IS fighters First, they have to be flushed out


of the villages up ahead. There were only a handful


of IS remaining, but the Peshmerga Here's what happened


when one attacker approached Before he could reach them,


his vehicle exploded. Two more attackers were stopped


by air strikes from The Peshmerga say they are


fighting a global battle. TRANSLATION: We have


a powerful enemy. They are not just fighting the Kurds


or the Shia, says the colonel. We want to defeat them


for everyone's sake. And this is the territory IS


has been forced to abandon. Any civilians were


already long gone. There was little enough


resistance here. But it will be a very


different story inside Mosul. The Kurds are supposed


to clear a path to the city, But as they drive out IS,


they've been adding to their territory and what they have


captured they intend to keep. Just one of the ways


in which the battle for Mosul Orla Guerin, BBC News,


on the front line. Those living in Mosul are facing


an impossible decision - The UN says it believes


up to 100,000 people may escape to Syria or Turkey,


but it's likely many will be head of UNICEF's field office


in the Iraqi city of Irbil. Thank you very much for joining us.


There are obvious dangers for the Army in Read taking Mosul but what


are these humanitarian challenges, helping people physically and


mentally affected by living under these Islamic State militants for so


long? Thank you for this opportunity. The main concern is the


safety and well-being of the children. And the families that are


fleeing from Mosul. Making sure those children who spent many years


with the Isil under extremely physical conditions, making sure


that when they come out they find a solidity is and services that are


friendly to them, that is the critical priority for now. I guess


that is the main challenge, trying to delve into the mind of these


people, even young people, who have lived for so long under this regime


in Mosul? You have had experience in other conflicts, but anything quite


like this? This is extremely difficult and very, very hard to


equate with other emergencies. It is exceptionally challenging. Children


and communities live under very difficult conditions. We know


children have missed their schools under Isis, many of them were not


immunised, they are traumatised, have seen a lot of distractions, and


it is a condition that none of us wish to be. -- a lot of destruction.


If there is still meet, we understand this could go on for


quite awhile, and some innocent could be used as human shields. Is


that a real concern for you? Definitely anything that harms the


children and the people is a real concern to ours and to all aid


agencies working under these conditions. I just want to ask you


briefly, how hard is it to get the message into Mosul in terms of


letting these people know after what happens when the city is liberated,


if it is? Those specific security details are not within the reach of


the aid agencies, but the message that comes out of aid agencies and


the humanitarian structure is making sure agencies are prepared, put


resources in place, teams in place, and focus more on preparedness and


response of planning when people are out of the danger and brought into


camps and the government is working on that, that is our priority, line


of possibility on weight we should be looking. Thank you very much.


When so-called Islamic State took Mosul, in June 2014,


it became a symbol of its growing power in the region.


Its leader chose the city to announce a caliphate.


As our World Affairs Editor John Simpson reports, re-capturing


Mosul would have huge implications for the region,


Mosul would have huge implications for the region.


Back in June 2014, they seemed unstoppable, driving a far bigger


force of Iraqi soldiers out of Mosul.


Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, their leader, announced he was setting


up a Muslim caliphate, covering large parts


But their extremism quickly alienated people,


especially given the public brutality of the constant


executions they carried out, often for trivial offences.


How serious is this for so-called Islamic State?


Well, this was the area IS controlled


Now, 21 months later, it's in retreat almost everywhere.


But because Mosul is Sunni dominated, the operation


Kurdish troops make up a sizeable proportion of the attacking force.


The Iraqi army has a Shia majority and there's been a history


of bitter hostility between them and the Sunnis in the region.


The force is being backed by Western air strikes against IS positions.


There are around 30,000 Iraqi and Kurdish trips altogether


against between 3,500 and 5,000 IS fighters.


But the defenders have had time to prepare.


They'll have planted of booby-trap bombs.


Britain's involved in the Mosul campaign.


As recently as yesterday, our Typhoons and unmanned aircraft


were striking terrorist positions on the outskirts of Mosul.


And our army has been helping to train the Iraqi and Peshmerga


And our army has been helping to train the Iraqi


and Peshmerga forces who will be doing the fighting.


We're not putting combat troops on the ground into this operation.


The real danger is that the attack on Mosul could result


A million inhabitants may need food and shelter and be


If things go wrong, Mosul could turn into an Iraqi version of Aleppo


and Russia would then claim that its ferocious tactics


EU foreign ministers have strongly criticised Russia


A statement issued after talks in Luxembourg condemned Russia


for causing untold suffering in eastern Aleppo.


Russia and the Syrian government were accused of deliberately


Moscow has just announced it will observe an eight-hour pause


in air strikes on Thursday to allow civilians


Speaking after that meeting, the EU High Representative


for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy,


Federica Mogherini, said the top priority was for the Syrian


regime and Russia to stop the bombing of Aleppo.


We say that the European Union firmly believes that there is no


This means that the European Union supports and encourages all efforts


in all formats to stop, not only the bombing on Aleppo,


but also supports all efforts to avoid any further military


escalation and any further direct confrontation on a military level


and also supports all efforts in all formats to agree,


implement and monitor an effective ceasefire.


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


The first 14 of around 100 child refugees earmarked


for resettlement are on their way to Britain from the makeshift camp


Most of them are thought to be aged around 16.


They've been living at the Jungle without their families.


One person has died and six others have been injured after an explosion


at a factory of the chemical giant BASF in Germany.


The explosion happened at a river harbour during work on a pipeline


route for transporting raw chemicals for shipping.


Six more people are still unaccounted for.


A committee of experts in Austria has decided that the house


in which Adolf Hitler was born - should be torn down -


and a new structure built in its place.


They've recommended that the new building is used


With just 21 days to go until the US election,


Donald Trump has claimed it's all rigged against him.


Writing on Twitter, he's repeated his unsubstantiated claim


that the media is publishing negative stories to help


It's the latest in a series of comments where


he's called into question the fairness of this election.


Katty Kay joins us now from Washington.


Thanks for joining us. Mr Trump says there has been voter fraud, one big


supporter has said the Democrats are cheating, do these claims have any


basis? Very little. The evidence for voter fraud in the United States


over the past few decades is slim, the Washington Post has done an


extensive survey looking at voter fraud between 2000 and 2014 and find


a total of 31 cases, of people impersonating somebody else to take


their vote away from them, effectively, so not much basis for


this. Today we are seeing pushback from constitutional lawyers, as well


as from some Republican party state operatives, the Secretary of State


for a Republican from self, the chief Republican in state, has said


he can assure Mr Trump the voting is not right but will be free and fair.


And it is even some dispute amongst the Donald Trump campaign about what


he means when he says things like fraud is going on on a large scale


already, that the election is absolutely wrecked, including at


polling places, so not clear what he means by that, what kind of Rocky is


talking about. Not even total clarity in his campaign about what


he means. But this message of the rigged election, is that resonating


with his core base? It does very much salt. When you speak to trump


supporters, the field, -- when you speak to Tump supporters, and there


have been sections of United States who have felt the establishment is


stacked against them, somehow it is corrupt and they cannot win


elections fairly, the conservative movement because they see the media


is biased against them, but knew to be seeing the election itself is


rigged, but this establishment anger that some high PR not getting a fair


shake, I remember hearing that in 2000 and eight at seven appeal and


rallies. But to have the candidates themselves -- during that in 2008 at


rallies for Sarah Palin, but surprising to hear that voter fraud


is taking place. Thank you. There have been emotional scenes


in the Nigerian capital, where 21 of the 276 kidnapped Chibok


schoolgirls were reunited The girls were taken by the Islamist


group Boko Haram in April 2014. It is unclear how the release


was negotiated, but an official says talks are underway


to free more girls. After 2.5 years,


they're free at last! Daughters reunited


with their parents. It was a time for celebration,


but also reflection. We are so excited, we never thought


this day would come. These girls were amongst those abducted by


extremist from Boko Haram. One described what she had experienced.


TRANSLATION: I never thought I would see you again.


There was a day when a bomb dropped by jet very close to where I was.


It is only by God's grace we survived.


For 30 days, we were without food, but yet, we are here.


The parents wanted their daughters to get an education but it was a joy


speed. Had cost them their children. -- but it was a choice that they


thought had cost them their children.


TRANSLATION: I said to her, "Are you really alive?"


And she replied, "Yes, I am." We both burst into tears.


What did she tell you about her time in captivity?


They were told their parents were no longer alive,


They never imagined that they would see us again.


But officials seek negotiations are continuing, but dozens of students


reportedly don't want to come home after marrying fighters.


For now, these girls are free to rejoice.


But recovering will not be easy with so many of their schoolmates still


being held. The British Government says it had


nothing to do with a decision to withdraw UK banking services


from Russian-state broadcaster RT. The broadcaster's editor in chief


said that NatWest's decision was final. Micron said they are


contacting the company to discuss further. -- NatWest said.


Oksana Boyko is an RT presenter based in Moscow, and joins me now.


Thank you for joining us, do you have any more detail about this? We


were not expecting it at all. I think it would be exciting to see


the bank perhaps reconsider or at least look into the matter, because


the letter sent to ours states that the decision is final, they are not


in the decision to even the go see it, and that was after more than ten


years of having a pretty good relationship with the bank. We were


satisfied with services and thought we were good clients. But if they


are willing to look into the matter, all the better, but we are looking


into alternative options, because as I said, that came pretty unexpected.


You have been in the UK, but have run into difficulty, some claiming a


lack of impartiality, do you think that is the reason for the closing


of this banking system for you? The British government says it is not


involved, do you also accept that? Well... I think it is yet to be


seen. Again the drop nature of that statement -- abrupt nature of that


statement raised suspicions, especially given the bank, Royal


Bank of Scotland, is owned by the government, 73% of shares owned by


the government, why we suspected some government length. You are


right that we have been under pressure in the UK, we don't think


that is because of the lack of impartiality, in fact, we don't


think that any broadcaster present in the UK is impartial for that


matter, but we do believe that we are bringing a valuable alternative


position to the British audience and we hope to continue doing so,


especially given for example the BBC has a very sprawling operation in


Moscow, hiding a lot of people now to bring Russian language news to


the Russian audience there, hiding a lot of producers and reporters,


essentially what we have been doing in the UK -- hiring. We hope to


continue. Without banking, is it possible to continue long-term? I


think it is possible if you bring the international News, you can do


that fire the internet, but as we said, we would like to stay in the


UK and produced local content. I think that is, to be honest, that is


the bone of contention here, because, as you noted, not everybody


has been happy with the kind of news we bring to the British audience, it


is often contradicting not only the line that the British government


takes, but also the editorial lines of many British broadcaster. Thank


you for joining us, we will have to leave it there. That is a presenter


with RT. The country is celebrating


after successfully sending two astronauts to its orbiting space lab


called Heavenly Palace 2. They'll be there for the next


33 days carrying out research. Beijing invited a handful of foreign


journalists to observe the launch. Amongst them was our China


Correspondent Stephen McDonell. Seeing this Chinese rocket take-off


was every bit as powerful This country has great ambitions,


when it comes to the stars. And there is a feeling here


that nothing can stop them. It's not something a journalist


is normally allowed It's not often you get to go


to a press conference with astronauts and I have to say


it's rather exciting. But if I swing around here,


you can see this is the bubble Now, the reason they're behind glass


is they do not want to get sick. I suppose, if you are blasting off


to spend a month living on the space station,


you wouldn't want to be TRANSLATION: Being an astronaut


is my dream and my duty. Although the job is full


of challenges and risks, In two days' time, Jinh Haipeng


and Chen Dong will be on board They said they couldn't wait


to look back down on the planet in the Gobi Desert,


north-western China. Now, Sir David Attenborough has


a new accolade to add to the many he's notched up over a decades-long


career in which he's brought the natural world


into our living rooms. He was guest of honour today


at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead in the North


of England, where construction has begun on a research


ship named after the But as Victoria Gill reports,


the ship could have ended up Just reaching the


Antarctic is tough. But at a time of rapid


environmental change, So, in a Birkenhead shipyard,


thousands of miles from the icy ocean, a polar research vessel


is under construction. News of this ?200 million UK


investment in polar science was almost eclipsed by the


online vote to name the ship with the public overwhelmingly


opting for the name Despite that, the vessel


has been named Sir David Attenborough,


in honour of Britain's most If you have any knowledge


of Antarctic exploration, or Arctic exploration, or the Navy,


you can think of some very, very distinguished names


that have been carried by ships. That my name should be among them


now is a very humbling realisation. Sir David took part in a ceremony


today to begin the ship's construction winching a huge section


of its keel into place. But Boaty McBoatface


lives on - this is Boaty. It's a robotic submersible that


will be deployed from the deck of the vessel, carrying out


on the water investigations in places that would


otherwise be inaccessible With the first polar


mission scheduled for 2019, Sir David and Boaty will set


out to explore Earth's A great honour for Sir David. The


main headline, the offensive to drive Islamic State forces out of


Mosul has begun. Kurdish fighters have spearheaded the operation


clearing the way Iraqi troops. Don't forgot, you can get in touch


with me on Twitter. That is all for now. Stick around


The week has certainly started on a marked sunshine and showers


theme, quite breezy in places as well, I'm sure


No great surprise when you see the chart, because we have a number


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