18/10/2016 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today with me Tom Donkin.


A major step forward in the fight against the so-called Islamic State.


That's President Obama's verdict on the battle for Mosul as Iraqi


forces and their allies close in on the city


Melania Trump is standing by her man - she says his comments about women


Remembering the victims of the Aberfan disaster 50 years ago -


a special report on how a Welsh mining community was let down


Black people don't even talk about race, nothing is attributable to


colour anymore. It is all mitigating circumstances. The only people


discussing race with any courage are loud, middle-aged white men, who


reminisced the Kennedys and Motown. I meet the award winning


author Paul Beatty to talk about his new novel that satirises


race relations in modern America. President Obama has described


the start of the military operation to take back the Iraqi city of Mosul


from so-called Islamic State The city has been under


the extremists since the summer of 2014 and dislodging them


is expected to take many weeks. From the south,


Iraqi Security Forces - backed by coalition air strikes -


have captured a string of villages. From the east, Kurdish


Peshmerga forces have also Our Correspondent Orla Guerin


is travelling with them In the distance, Mosul,


a city in waiting for deliverance It is the last bastion of IS in


Iraq, but for how much longer? On the horizon today,


black smoke from burning oil. The extremists trying to thwart


attacks from the air. As the net closes on so-called


Islamic State, the risks are increasing for those trapped


down below in Mosul. There's the danger of coalition air


strikes, IS could try to use the local population as human


shields, and if and when Iraqi forces make it inside


the city, they could be Here's what IS wants


you to see from inside Mosul - its latest propaganda video paints


a picture of normality. Anyone daring to say


otherwise could be beheaded. "Thank God everything


is fine," says this man, A year ago, they were driven


from this area by air strikes and troops from Iraq's autonomous


Kurdish region, the Peshmerga. They took us to see what IS may have


in store when the battle Chlorine gas attached


to an improvised mortar. As the Peshmerga advanced


deeper into IS territory, This hidden layer was uncovered


in villages captured yesterday. "They built a bedroom


to rest," he says. The extremists had the basics


for survival hidden from view. The authorities here hope


they will run out of hiding places Our correspondent Richard Galpin


is in Irbil in the north of Iraq. He joins me now. Richard, are there


any signs yet of anyone leaving the city? Well, there are some reports


coming in from various agencies saying that some families, the quote


is about 100 families, who apparently have started leaving


their homes in the kind of south-eastern area of Mosul. We


can't confirm that ourselves, but certainly, there do seem to be some


initial indications of people at least trying to get out of areas at


least where they think there may be an attack in the coming days or


weeks. The aid agencies have been preparing for quite a long time for


a huge out flux of people, they are expecting hundreds of thousands of


people to try and get out of the city. Once the Iraqi army and the


Peshmerga fighters and the others involved in this offensive against


IS start really closing in on the city. At the moment, we are not sure


how long that could take. It could take some time or it could be quite


quick, it is difficult to tell at this moment, but there are extensive


preparations by the UN and other aid agencies to look after and shelter


hundreds of thousands of people. How are the Allied forces going to


manage this exodus and make sure just civilians are leaving? Well,


that's a very good question. Our understanding is that there will be


one root out and that, of course, being for civilians to get out when


the fighting gets really close. We understand that Iraqi forces, we are


not sure exactly which ones, will be on that road and will be trying


their best to check the people who are coming out, because obviously


they want to stop the Islamic State fighters from being able to flee,


get out, and be able to fight another battle another day, but


obviously that can be a very hard task of the kind of numbers people


are talking about are actually realised and there are hundreds of


thousands of people on the move. Aid agencies are talking about it


potentially being the biggest humanitarian crisis of the year. You


are in Iraq and if Mosul is liberated by these forces, what does


it mean for the influence of IS where you are in Iraq? Well, it is


enormous. It would be an absolute hammer blow to Islamic State. It is,


of course, as we all know, the place where the leader of ices declared


the caliphate for both here and Iraq and Syria -- ISIS. And Mosul will be


the last big urban centre which IS control outside of Syria, it would


leave them only rack in Syria. It would be enormous impact. IS would


have some control in the north and east of Iraq, but essentially, their


control of the big swathes of territory would be over. Richard,


thank you very much. Now a look at some of


the days other news. Russia says it has halted


its air-strikes on rebel-held neighbourhoods in Aleppo,


48 hours ahead of a planned pause. The defence minister,


Sergei Shoigu said Russian and Syrian forces were stopping


their bombing to allow preparations for civilians and fighters to leave


Aleppo during a scheduled Mr Shoigu called on the rebels


to take advantage of this Austria's backtracked on plans


to demolish the house after a panel of experts said it had


not been their recommendation. The government had said that


a new building would take its place. But in a new statement, the


government backed the experts' view into an administrative building


or something similar The British bank NatWest has denied


reports of the Russian international


television channel R-T. A bank spokesperson said a letter


about account closures was sent to one of the station's


suppliers, not RT itself. The spokesperson said the accounts


had neither been frozen Ministers in the UK will choose next


week which of London's airports should be expanded to meet


the growing demand for air travel. Both Heathrow and Gatwick


want to build new or longer runways. But a final decision by Parliament


won't be made until next year at the earliest,


after a public consultation. It's been delayed repeatedly


because of environmental concerns. The head of the International


Olympic Committee says he's confident that the cost of the 2020


Games in Tokyo can be brought down. Thomas Bach's comments follow crisis


talks with the city's new governor. She wants to reduce the costs,


which are now projected to exceed $30 billion,


that's over ?24 million , and more Just three weeks ahead of the US


presidential election, Melania Trump has insisted


that her husband, Republican candidate, Donald Trump


is a "gentleman" and that women who've made allegations


against him are lying. She also said that lewd comments


he made about women, that were caught on videotape,


did not represent the man she knows. If we are under attack, what do we


do? A protest this morning outside the tram headquarters in


Philadelphia. There is ongoing outrage over the billionaire's


obscene remarks that were caught on tape and the allegations that he


repeatedly sexually assaulted women. We are sick of him, sick of his


comments and we don't want a sexual assault as our president. I think he


is a sexual predator, I think he has zero respect for women. He is also a


racist. In the midst of this storm, a serene Melania Trump, wife turned


character witness prepared to forgive her husband. Those words,


they are offensive... and he apologised to me,


and I accept his apology. It's in the American suburbs


that this election will be decided and here female voters often


have the decisive say. Andrea is still voting Trump


and thinks Bill Clinton I think Bill Clinton


is the epitome, the epitome, And for Hillary to tolerate


that, she's just as bad. But a new poll, in the Philadelphia


suburbs, found that Donald Trump trails Hillary Clinton


by a staggering 43% amongst female voters, the kind of numbers that


spell disaster for his campaign. Nick Bryant, BBC News,


Philadelphia. President Obama has been talking


about the campaign. as he put, "discredit the elections


before votes have even taken place". And he used Florida,


which has a Republican The notion that somehow if Mr Trump


loses Florida it is "Those people" that you have the lookout for. That


is both irresponsible and, by the way, doesn't really show the kind of


leadership and toughness that you want out of a president. If you


start whining before the game's even over, if whenever things are going


badly for you and you lose and start blaming somebody else, then you


don't have what it takes to be in this job. That was President Obama


speaking. Will Donald Trump's comment


about women, affect the fortunes of other Republican candidates


running for office in November? A number of senior Republicans have


been distancing themselves from him. Our North America correspondent


Rajini Vaidyanathan The seasons have changed and so much


else since Donald Trump scored his first victory


in the Republican primary Now we are just weeks away


from finding out whether he will When Americans go to the polls


in November, they won't just be electing a president,


but a number of other offices, as you can see from this


ballot paper here. Everything from Governor to Senator,


all the way down to Sheriff But this election, many


Republican candidates have withdrawn their


support for Donald Trump. So the question is how


will this make a difference? Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton


are far from perfect. Kelly Ayotte is one of those


Republican names on the ballot. She is seeking re-election


to the US Senate and recently withdrew her support for Donald


Trump. I cannot vote for Donald Trump based


on what he has said and done and the actions he talked


about in those tapes. I'm disappointed it took her so long


to withdraw the endorsement. At this diner in Chester,


New Hampshire, many Republican leaning voters believe Ayotte's


decision to dump Trump She must think that he's not


going to do that well, so she wants to distance


herself from him. I would vote for Kelly Ayotte


for election and the most part, most of the Republican candidates


that are rerunning for election that are already in office and it


would take a snowball in hell before When you are not all together,


you know, it hurts the party. One of New Hampshire's most


influential newspapers has backed the Republican presidential


candidate for more than a century, but this time they have broken


with tradition and are endorsing I think Ayotte is doing


the right thing. It may cost her the election,


but I think it hurts, rather than helps down ticket


Republicans that Trump is on the top And it may be one of those sea


changes where the whole Congress Mr Trump still has a large


support base in this state. For many of them, congressional


races don't even matter. I don't think that the Republicans


have done a particularly good job in their control of the house


and Senate either, so as much as we like to see those seats


retained, in the end, if we're not getting anything done,


then what difference does it make? Both Donald Trump and Kelly Ayotte


need to win here in November, but the Republican split in this


small state could have a big impact This week, the people of Aberfan


in south Wales are having to relive the terrible events of half


a century ago, when a mountain of coal waste


collapsed onto the village school, claiming the lives of 116


children and 28 adults. The scale of the disaster made


headlines around the world and people gave generously


to support the shattered community. But as Huw Edwards reports,


the families of Aberfan had to fight a fight that started on that Friday


morning in October 1966. ARCHIVE FOOTAGE: We are now


returning to the newsroom. Disaster struck suddenly this


morning at the small Welsh coal-mining village of Aberfan


near Merthyr Tydfil. At 9:15 on the last morning


of lessons before half-time, At 9:15 on the last morning


of lessons before half-term, Pantglas Junior School was buried


underneath a mountain of coal waste. The scale of the loss,


116 children and 28 adults, is still difficult to comprehend


half a century later. What happened at Aberfan was one


of the greatest disasters in the modern history of Wales,


indeed the modern history And it's important to get


one thing clear. It was a man-made disaster,


it was entirely foreseeable, and it happened because of


a combination of negligence, One of those who survived


the disaster, her life still overshadowed by the events


of 50 years ago, is Gaynor Madgwick. She was eight at the time


and lost her brother Carl and sister She has since written a book


about her experiences. We met in the Memorial Garden on the


site of the old school in Aberfan. The ceiling of the school had come


in and it landed on half the children and I had a radiator


which had come off the wall I just remember looking at another


friend of ours who had literally tried to climb up through the roof,


which was on top of the children. And said, I'm going


to get help, I was whisked away in the ambulance


to Saint Tydfil's hospital. And I remained there, isolated,


I feel, for over three months. And it was then in the evening time


that I was told that my brother Within weeks of the disaster,


an official tribunal was set up under the Welsh judge,


Edmund Davies, I should hate to think that anybody


would connect me with any But getting straight answers


from the National Coal Board, the public body


which owned the mines, The chairman of the National Coal


Board was Lord Robens, and he denied any responsibility


for the disaster and kept on insisting that it


could not have been foreseen. We have our normal procedures


for ensuring that pits are safe, but I'm bound to say that we have no


procedure that tells us that there is a spring deep


down under a mountain. This is the site of the old


Merthyr Vale colliery. This is where coal waste was put


in trams and then sent across the valley and piled high


on the mountains opposite. And those tips used


to dominate the landscape. And there was plenty of evidence,


based on previous incidents, that piling this waste on wet


mountainsides was an exceptionally By the time the report was


published, the National Coal Board had been forced to admit


that the disaster was foreseeable. It was blamed unequivocally


for what had happened. But no one was


disciplined or sacked. I only wish that Lord


Robens was here today. They should have been sent to jail,


lost their jobs. There were still coal tips


above Aberfan and people quite But no one was ready to pay,


not the Government, The families lobbied the Welsh


Office in Cardiff, demanding help. What they got instead


from the Welsh Secretary George Thomas,


was the bill. He wanted the local community


to use their charity fund Of course they will pay


what they can afford. But the scheme will depend


on what they pay. It took 30 years for the people


of Aberfan to regain the money It was finally repaid


by the Welsh Government and today the gardens and memorials


of the village have been restored, giving the families the sense


of justice that they surely deserve. Collectively, we have been able


for 50 years to get I have always said


Aberfan is a family. We have shared our thoughts


and feelings, so many good things have come out of Aberfan


and you have to think They are courageous,


courageous people. That was Gaynor Madgwick,


a survivor of the Aberfan disaster, speaking to Huw Edwards in this week


of the 50th anniversary. Some breaking news this hour,


Belgian media are reporting that 15 people are being held hostage by


armed men in a supermarket in Brussels. Police are on the scene at


the moment with a helicopter overhead. There is no information at


this stage to suggest it is terror related. Breaking news, 15 people


being held hostage by armed men in a supermarket in Brussels. No


information yet that this is terror related.


He's been called the "funniest writer in America",


but Paul Beatty's novels cover the very serious topic


His latest - The Sellout - is a satire about a man


who tries to reintroduce slavery and segregation


and it's been shortlisted for this year's Man Booker Prize.


and he began by reading a passage from his book.


Black people don't even talk about race,


nothing is attributable to colour anymore.


loud, middle-aged white men, who reminisce the Kennedys and Motown.


If a few freelance journalists in Detroit and the Americans who sit in


their basements pounding away on the keyboard, proposing measured and


well thought out responses to the torrent of racist online commentary.


Part of your book, but you think it is true, there needs to be a wider


discussion about race in the US? Sure, why not? Is it true? I think


that passage, what it is getting out, is the way people talk about it


and I think it is changing a little bit in the past few months, but I


think there are things that people want to say about race that they are


afraid to say, for being castigated. There is a phrase in the States,


they say "Playing the race card" all the time, so if you complain, it is


out of bounds and there is something wrong with what you're saying, it is


not valid. So I think people are afraid to step in that and if you do


say something, people feel it put you into a box. What kind of thing


do you think people are afraid to say? It's weird, because you know,


this book, I finished this book almost two years ago, so things have


changed but I think one of the things was talking about job


discrimination, housing, all these kinds of things, and I think people


censoring themselves, not just about race but about gender, about a lot


of things. But I think because of the police brutality and these other


things, Trump, these things have been amp took to another level, so


there is rhetoric and that rhetoric is at pitch where people have to


counter and, you know, Trump, a large part of his appeal is


race-based. If anybody's playing the race card, it is him. So if there,


there's no doubt. Part of the thing that got him to where he is was his


fervour about Islamic migration and the Mexican border, all that, and I


think that has tapped into another anger because the demographics of


the country are changing and it is something no one is really talking


about in any real kind of way about what that really means. America is


never who it thinks it is, but even at that level... And he has made


these kind of quirky appeals to and Latino voters, people... Like people


know he is not serious but there is something that touches a sensitive


bone, who does care about these things? One thing people are not


talking about is the level of poverty in America, that is


something no one talks about. However one thinks, is that tied to


race or not, that is one thing people do not talk about at all.


Your book is a satire, there is a powerful scene where the narrator's


father is shocked by the police are unarmed, something you could read


about in the papers in recent times. Is it a locator map about this


stuff, do you think? Yeah, I think so. -- is it OK to laugh. It is not


someone laughing about the thing, it is my take in retrospect about an


imaginary act and it is that weird thing about, what's funny? The act


itself by doubly funny but the analysis can be funny, the inside


out thing can be funny -- the act itself might not be funny. I think


it is always OK to laugh. I say that guardedly, that can be interpreted


in a lot of ways, but when you are moved to laugh, you need to laugh.


More now on the US election and rock star Bruce Springsteen has been


speaking to our arts editor will compote is about the state of the


presidential race. Part of what is going on is that you have 30 or 40


years of deindustrialisation and globalisation of the economy, so


there are a lot of people that were left out of that whose voices have


been fundamentally ignored and not heard. These are folks who feel that


Donald Trump as been listening to them -- has been listening to them


and speaks for them on some level. I think he is a conman. Just before we


go, we will update you on the breaking news we brought earlier,


the hostage situation in Brussels. 15 people were detained in a


supermarket but we are now seeing news reports that the man involved


has surrendered to police, so an apparent end to that hostage


situation in Brussels. That is all from the programme, next time, it is


the weather, but for now, from me and all the team, goodbye. See you


next time. The pressure chart I am just about


to show you will become really quite familiar to you over the next few


days as we approach the weekend, simply because things


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