18/10/2016 World News Today


18/10/2016

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This is BBC World News Today with me Tom Donkin.

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

:00:10.:00:13.

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

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forces and their allies close in on the city

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

:00:19.:00:27.

Remembering the victims of the Aberfan disaster 50 years ago -

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

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

:00:37.:00:51.

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

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

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reminisced the Kennedys and Motown. I meet the award winning

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author Paul Beatty to talk about his new novel that satirises

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race relations in modern America. President Obama has described

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

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from so-called Islamic State The city has been under

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the extremists since the summer of 2014 and dislodging them

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is expected to take many weeks. From the south,

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Iraqi Security Forces - backed by coalition air strikes -

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

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Peshmerga forces have also Our Correspondent Orla Guerin

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is travelling with them In the distance, Mosul,

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

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

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black smoke from burning oil. The extremists trying to thwart

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

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Islamic State, the risks are increasing for those trapped

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

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

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shields, and if and when Iraqi forces make it inside

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

:02:21.:02:22.

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

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a picture of normality. Anyone daring to say

:02:30.:02:34.

otherwise could be beheaded. "Thank God everything

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

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

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

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in store when the battle Chlorine gas attached

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to an improvised mortar. As the Peshmerga advanced

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deeper into IS territory, This hidden layer was uncovered

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in villages captured yesterday. "They built a bedroom

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

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for survival hidden from view. The authorities here hope

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they will run out of hiding places Our correspondent Richard Galpin

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

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

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

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is about 100 families, who apparently have started leaving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Peshmerga fighters and the others involved in this offensive against

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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are talking about are actually realised and there are hundreds of

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

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potentially being the biggest humanitarian crisis of the year. You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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thank you very much. Now a look at some of

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the days other news. Russia says it has halted

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

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

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Sergei Shoigu said Russian and Syrian forces were stopping

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their bombing to allow preparations for civilians and fighters to leave

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Aleppo during a scheduled Mr Shoigu called on the rebels

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to take advantage of this Austria's backtracked on plans

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

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not been their recommendation. The government had said that

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

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government backed the experts' view into an administrative building

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or something similar The British bank NatWest has denied

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reports of the Russian international

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

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

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suppliers, not RT itself. The spokesperson said the accounts

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had neither been frozen Ministers in the UK will choose next

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

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the growing demand for air travel. Both Heathrow and Gatwick

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

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

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after a public consultation. It's been delayed repeatedly

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because of environmental concerns. The head of the International

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

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

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

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which are now projected to exceed $30 billion,

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

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presidential election, Melania Trump has insisted

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that her husband, Republican candidate, Donald Trump

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

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against him are lying. She also said that lewd comments

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he made about women, that were caught on videotape,

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

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do? A protest this morning outside the tram headquarters in

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Philadelphia. There is ongoing outrage over the billionaire's

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

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

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

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

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

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character witness prepared to forgive her husband. Those words,

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

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

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that this election will be decided and here female voters often

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have the decisive say. Andrea is still voting Trump

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and thinks Bill Clinton I think Bill Clinton

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

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

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suburbs, found that Donald Trump trails Hillary Clinton

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

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

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Philadelphia. President Obama has been talking

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

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

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which has a Republican The notion that somehow if Mr Trump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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speaking. Will Donald Trump's comment

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about women, affect the fortunes of other Republican candidates

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

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been distancing themselves from him. Our North America correspondent

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Rajini Vaidyanathan The seasons have changed and so much

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else since Donald Trump scored his first victory

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in the Republican primary Now we are just weeks away

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

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

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

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ballot paper here. Everything from Governor to Senator,

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all the way down to Sheriff But this election, many

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Republican candidates have withdrawn their

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support for Donald Trump. So the question is how

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will this make a difference? Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

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are far from perfect. Kelly Ayotte is one of those

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

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to the US Senate and recently withdrew her support for Donald

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Trump. I cannot vote for Donald Trump based

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

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

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to withdraw the endorsement. At this diner in Chester,

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New Hampshire, many Republican leaning voters believe Ayotte's

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

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going to do that well, so she wants to distance

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herself from him. I would vote for Kelly Ayotte

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

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

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

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

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influential newspapers has backed the Republican presidential

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

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with tradition and are endorsing I think Ayotte is doing

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the right thing. It may cost her the election,

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but I think it hurts, rather than helps down ticket

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

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changes where the whole Congress Mr Trump still has a large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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a century ago, when a mountain of coal waste

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collapsed onto the village school, claiming the lives of 116

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children and 28 adults. The scale of the disaster made

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headlines around the world and people gave generously

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

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

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morning in October 1966. ARCHIVE FOOTAGE: We are now

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returning to the newsroom. Disaster struck suddenly this

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morning at the small Welsh coal-mining village of Aberfan

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

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

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

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

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116 children and 28 adults, is still difficult to comprehend

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half a century later. What happened at Aberfan was one

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of the greatest disasters in the modern history of Wales,

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indeed the modern history And it's important to get

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

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it was entirely foreseeable, and it happened because of

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a combination of negligence, One of those who survived

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the disaster, her life still overshadowed by the events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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to get help, I was whisked away in the ambulance

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

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

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

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an official tribunal was set up under the Welsh judge,

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Edmund Davies, I should hate to think that anybody

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would connect me with any But getting straight answers

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from the National Coal Board, the public body

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which owned the mines, The chairman of the National Coal

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Board was Lord Robens, and he denied any responsibility

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for the disaster and kept on insisting that it

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could not have been foreseen. We have our normal procedures

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

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procedure that tells us that there is a spring deep

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

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Merthyr Vale colliery. This is where coal waste was put

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in trams and then sent across the valley and piled high

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on the mountains opposite. And those tips used

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

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based on previous incidents, that piling this waste on wet

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mountainsides was an exceptionally By the time the report was

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published, the National Coal Board had been forced to admit

:18:23.:18:33.

that the disaster was foreseeable. It was blamed unequivocally

:18:34.:18:35.

for what had happened. But no one was

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disciplined or sacked. I only wish that Lord

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

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lost their jobs. There were still coal tips

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

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not the Government, The families lobbied the Welsh

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Office in Cardiff, demanding help. What they got instead

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from the Welsh Secretary George Thomas,

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was the bill. He wanted the local community

:19:06.:19:07.

to use their charity fund Of course they will pay

:19:08.:19:09.

what they can afford. But the scheme will depend

:19:10.:19:15.

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

:19:16.:19:18.

of Aberfan to regain the money It was finally repaid

:19:19.:19:21.

by the Welsh Government and today the gardens and memorials

:19:22.:19:27.

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

:19:28.:19:30.

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

:19:31.:19:35.

for 50 years to get I have always said

:19:36.:19:37.

Aberfan is a family. We have shared our thoughts

:19:38.:19:42.

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

:19:43.:19:45.

and you have to think They are courageous,

:19:46.:19:48.

courageous people. That was Gaynor Madgwick,

:19:49.:19:53.

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

:19:54.:19:56.

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

:19:57.:20:11.

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

:20:12.:20:15.

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

:20:16.:20:19.

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

:20:20.:20:24.

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

:20:25.:20:29.

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

:20:30.:20:32.

information yet that this is terror related.

:20:33.:20:34.

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

:20:35.:20:36.

but Paul Beatty's novels cover the very serious topic

:20:37.:20:38.

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

:20:39.:20:42.

who tries to reintroduce slavery and segregation

:20:43.:20:44.

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

:20:45.:20:48.

and he began by reading a passage from his book.

:20:49.:20:51.

Black people don't even talk about race,

:20:52.:20:53.

nothing is attributable to colour anymore.

:20:54.:20:55.

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

:20:56.:21:13.

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

:21:14.:21:20.

their basements pounding away on the keyboard, proposing measured and

:21:21.:21:26.

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

:21:27.:21:29.

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

:21:30.:21:35.

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

:21:36.:21:42.

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

:21:43.:21:47.

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

:21:48.:21:51.

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

:21:52.:21:55.

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

:21:56.:22:01.

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

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

:22:06.:22:10.

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

:22:11.:22:13.

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

:22:14.:22:16.

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

:22:17.:22:22.

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

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

:22:27.:22:30.

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

:22:31.:22:34.

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

:22:35.:22:39.

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

:22:40.:22:42.

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

:22:43.:22:48.

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

:22:49.:22:53.

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

:22:54.:22:58.

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

:22:59.:23:05.

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

:23:06.:23:10.

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

:23:11.:23:15.

think that has tapped into another anger because the demographics of

:23:16.:23:18.

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

:23:19.:23:21.

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

:23:22.:23:28.

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

:23:29.:23:34.

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

:23:35.:23:43.

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

:23:44.:23:47.

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

:23:48.:23:51.

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

:23:52.:23:54.

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

:23:55.:24:00.

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

:24:01.:24:03.

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

:24:04.:24:08.

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

:24:09.:24:11.

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

:24:12.:24:17.

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

:24:18.:24:21.

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

:24:22.:24:25.

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

:24:26.:24:30.

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

:24:31.:24:35.

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

:24:36.:24:40.

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

:24:41.:24:44.

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

:24:45.:24:48.

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

:24:49.:24:51.

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

:24:52.:24:54.

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

:24:55.:25:04.

years of deindustrialisation and globalisation of the economy, so

:25:05.:25:07.

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

:25:08.:25:13.

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

:25:14.:25:21.

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

:25:22.:25:24.

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

:25:25.:25:31.

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

:25:32.:25:35.

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

:25:36.:25:38.

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

:25:39.:25:43.

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

:25:44.:25:47.

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

:25:48.:25:51.

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

:25:52.:25:53.

next time. The pressure chart I am just about

:25:54.:26:08.

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

:26:09.:26:12.

days as we approach the weekend, simply because things

:26:13.:26:13.

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